Month: May 2021

Exercise Changes Lives – Exercise Right Week 2021!

Exercise Changes Lives – Exercise Right Week 2021!

Exercise Right Week 2021 is here, and the message is clear, Exercise Changes Lives!

Exercise Right Week is an annual awareness campaign held in the last full week of May every year. Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has aimed to highlight the benefits of exercise for health and well-being, and to help Australians understand where to get the “right” advice for their individual needs.

The campaign is brought to you by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is the peak body for exercise and sports science professionals in Australia and is dedicated to helping Australians live healthier and more active lives.

Exercise has changed lives:

In line with this theme, Exercise Right Week 2021 will feature the stories of five different Australians who have had exercise change their lives for the better. These stories vary across different age groups, injuries, and health conditions, and showcase that movement is certainly for everyone.

Although each story and individual are completely different, the message remains the same – The health benefits of exercise is undeniable and is the tool that allows everyone to live a happier and healthier life.

Do you want to be inspired?

Watch how these unbelievable people have turned their lives around with genuine hard-work and dedication through exercise.

Real-life stories:

Story #1 – Meet Isaac

We introduce 12-year-old Isaac Moala.

12 months ago, a brain tumour was removed from Isaac’s cerebellum which left devastating impacts on his motor control, affecting his coordination, balance and strength.

After intensive rehabilitation, Isaac regained the ability to walk and began seeing Accredited Exercise Physiologists Daniel Ibell and Benjamin Garth.

Now Isaac is mentally and physically at his best and it’s through the support they give him each week.

“I’ve really connected with them and they’re really good friends. I’m very thankful and happy I’ve met them,” explains Isaac.

“I feel more confident in myself, I feel healthier, and I feel mentally stronger as well”.

Isaac’s resilience and determination are remarkable as his recovery journey continues to exceed everyone’s expectations.

“It’s very rewarding to see how he has developed so much in such a short time and how much potential he has to keep on improving,” says Daniel.

To watch Isaac’s story, click here.

Story #2 – Meet Matt

Matt is a single, below-the-knee amputee who lost his leg to a workplace injury five years ago.

He pursued the helped from Accredited Exercise Physiologist Jessica Bitzios, and since working together, exercise has absolutely changed Matt’s life.

As Matt’s journey continues to inspire people around him and with the ongoing support from Jess, he isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon.

“Seeing an Exercise Physiologist has helped me massively, mentally and physically. I’m extremely happy working with one and I have come a long way since 2018, but I’d still like to achieve more,” says Matt.

Matt demonstrates the true power of exercise and how it can play such an uplifting role in life.

“Some days I come in not feeling to good, but I walk out with a smile, I love it and I recommend it to anybody,’ explains Matt.

To watch Matt’s story, click here.

Story #3 – Meet Demi

10-year-old Demi who was born with fibular hemimelia (where part or all of the fibular bone is missing) in her right leg. Before seeing Jess, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Demi was in a wheelchair learning to walk again, but nine months later, all her hard work has paid off as she walks and runs around.

“This [exercise physiology] has made a world of difference to Demi’s world. From go to now, she’s just totally turned the corner,” shared Demi’s dad, Simon.

Demi’s journey is rewarding to see how far she has come from then to now, with Jess praising how exercise can really change someone’s life, for the better.

“One of the best things about exercise is just that it lets people function in their day-to-day life the way that they need to,” explains Jess.

To watch Demi’s story, click here.

Story #4 – Meet James

James, a 19-year old aspiring rugby union player was told he had permanently paralysed his left arm after suffering a severe brachial plexus injury when a tackle went wrong back in 2017.

He began seeing Accredited Exercise Physiologist Leona Mirtschin, who says exercise has helped re-turn around his life from looking quite bleak and with no future, to now something he can look forward to.

Through exercise and the direction of Leona, James has never been in a better place.

“Presently I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. I’ve accomplished so much with Leona through just genuine hard work and repetition and innovation to building on new exercises and watching the results,” shares James.

“I don’t think words could probably do it justice the amount of time and effort that Leona has put into my life. She just gives so much to people and asks nothing in return but just results. She’s one of the greatest people I know”.

To watch James’s story, click here.

Story #5 – Meet Jenny

In 2015, Jenny was diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (CIPD), a rare autoimmune disorder.

Her diagnosis means the nerves in her body are dying and the worst-case scenario will be Demi completely wheelchair bound and needing a full-time carer.

Jenny explored ways to make her day-to-day life easier and met Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Ebony Blackstone.

“I owe a lot to Ebony. She’s given me the strength and power and confidence to go forward and realise my body isn’t completely ridiculous,” says Jenny.

“I don’t think she realises how much of an impact she makes in my life each day”.

Ebony’s on-going support and positivity has been a real influence throughout Jenny’s journey, with the two now sharing special friendship.

“My job, and I believe this is part of my job, is to always be positive and always say ‘take the small wins’”.

Demi’s resilience and charismatic personality can help inspire others to follow.

To watch Jenny’s journey, click here.

How to get involved:

We would love for anyone to get involved and help spread the word about Exercise Right Week, whether it be in person or online!

Download our free digital toolkit that contains a range of printable posters, social media resources, infographics and more!

Exercise Right Week Events:

There are over 30 FREE events including exercise assessments, exercise classes and education sessions happening all week! Click here to see events near you.

Happy Exercise Right Week 2021!

Want professional help?

If you’d like to find an Accredited Exercise Professional near you, or one who could support you online, click here.

What You Want vs. What You Get


Your mind listens to everything that you say. It will manifest whatever it is – good, bad or anything in-between – in vast amounts. In other words, if you have a mentality of abundance, you will have an abundance of it! The same is true for living in fear and a state of lack. That fear will feed on itself, as your mind is incredibly powerful. What you say to your mind, including positive affirmations, is important to shift your perspective away from a mentality of scarcity.


Our lives are manifest by words, and the words in your mind are what your consciousness is powered by. Everything starts with a single thought. The sequence of those thoughts is what makes the difference on how you manifest what you want.

Here’s a technique to begin creating a connection between words and affecting change in your life: Start with a thought, and then speak it out loud. For example, “I would like to meet people who can help me on my path to find a new job.” Don’t keep the thought in your head. The vibrations of words are very powerful. When you speak them out loud the energy of the Universe conspires to bring about manifestation.

Will these words magically bring what you want to your door? No – you have to go into action and have a plan, which is your way of meeting the Universe. If you take one step towards the Universe, it will take ninety-nine steps towards you.


If you find yourself always struggling with finances, relationships or another aspect of your life, somewhere in your subconscious there’s probably an internal script running that you’re not aware of, saying you’re not worthy to have money or love.

People repeat destructive patterns in their lives, which are almost always subconscious. It has nothing to do with being unlucky or doomed, and everything to do with something that you are doing or not doing.

The subconscious mind is like a library. It creates the language of your mind. Every event that has ever happened to you in your life is registered in your subconscious. The majority of people on the planet are being governed not by their conscious mind, but by what lies beneath. Your subconscious mind has all these ideas, thoughts and experiences that can be triggered.

We radiate out the energy that creates our reality. It may be hard to accept responsibility for your own actions, but YOU are the only one who can truly make your life better.

As hard as it can be, you must stop blaming other people, things and situations. It is draining you of the energy you need to funnel into your own life and zapping your ability to stay positive. There is a place for anger, if it makes an impression about what is acceptable to you, but once you acknowledge it, let it go.


It is time for you to take back your power, sit with your own set of circumstances and begin to look at how to create change. What can you do to manifest something for yourself? What can you do to manifest something that will become big enough to share with somebody else?

When it comes to creating the life you really want, your inner dialogue could be saying, “Hey, you’re not a worthwhile person unless you’ve got a big house, a nice car and 2.3 kids.” You may very well have heard some variation of that as you grew up, but if you blame your parents, or your teachers, or advertisers, or our society, you’re not going to be able to move toward your own abundance. Change has to start with you.


The practice of writing gratitude lists is a wonderful way to remind ourselves of what we have at this very moment, and how we can build on the happiness that appreciation, mindfulness and a positive outlook can bring us. There are many approaches to creating a gratitude list (daily, weekly, for yourself, as something to share, etc.) but finding what works for you can help define what abundance means in your life, and prompt you to take nothing for granted.

Writing down what you are grateful for allows you to hold a list in your hands, reflect on it, reread it, and save your thoughts. It can focus you “in the moment” and compel you to think about what you DO have, rather than what you don’t have. A list also clarifies what you can give away, because you have so much!

These are some of the topics and areas of life that your Abundance-Gratitude List can touch on:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work/Relationships
  • Home, Food, Nourishment
  • The Environment – From the big (say, a waterfall) to the small (the song of a bird, a warm summer breeze)

Derek O’Neill, fondly referred to as the Celtic Sage, inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights listen to his free radio archives explore over 20 personal development books including Stop The Struggle, Bullying, Love/Divorce, Grief, Mindfulness, Anxiety, Stress and Depression.

Image courtesy of Marcelo Chagas.

Your Child, Better Behaved in 3 Days

“Children equate being loved with the reality of when we are there for them – when we really show up. But traditional methods have us showing up so much more when there are problems. Conventional wisdom tells parents that the time to emit more energy – that is, more emotion, more facial expression, more volume, and more intense relationship – is when things are going wrong. That’s a mistake, and a big one, because it puts our powerful parental energy to work growing more of the behaviors we actually want to see less of. Why water weeds?” —  Howard Glasser

Kids are a bit like little geiger counters. They live for our emotional energy — positive or negative. So why, as parents, do we give most of our energy to what’s going wrong? Even when we do catch our child doing something right, look at the amount of energy that’s behind our responses to bad behavior (“How many times do I have to tell you?!“) versus our positive acknowledgments (“Good job, dear.”)

And we rarely give ourselves strokes for the hundreds of things we do right as parents. Instead, we berate ourselves for those times when we lose patience. But feeling bad inside doesn’t help us feel emotionally generous toward our children; it just makes us more likely to come unglued next time.

I know, it’s hard not to react negatively when you’re upset. But if you can stop watering weeds, and start watering flowers, you can transform your home into a garden. After all, what we focus on grows.

Try this experiment for three days:

Day 1.

Your goal today is to replenish your ability to be emotionally generous. Enthusiastically acknowledge everything you do right. Be your own cheerleader. When you miss your goal, offer yourself encouragement to get back on track.

Why are we starting with you? Because you can only give your child what you have inside. Fill your own cup first! And, of course, continue this practice on Day 2, as you focus more on your child.

Day 2.

Your goal today is to build connection with your child. Make sure he doesn’t have to “act out” to get your full attention. Show up with presence and respond with excited energy to every positive thing your child does. Set the bar low — make it easy for him to succeed by encouraging any progress in the right direction with positive feedback.

Give her a big hug when she wakes up in the morning… If he dawdles, move him along with connection and enthusiasm…. See if you can make breakfast calm and connected so you’re sending out positive energy… Thank her for handling the morning routine so beautifully, even though she does it every day… Tell him before school how much you’re looking forward to seeing him at the end of the day… When you’re reunited at the end of the day, spend some time laughing and roughhousing together…. Listen at dinner as she regales you with tales about her day…. Tell him you noticed how much effort he put into his homework… Tell her you noticed her being nice to her brother (even if the rest of the evening she wasn’t so nice) … Thank him for taking his bath with only one reminder… Tell them how lucky you are that you’re blessed to be their parent.

Can’t find anything good in what he’s doing? Even the most badly behaved child has moments of good behavior. Your job is to find them and give them positive energy.

You can also share positive memories:

  • “I was just remembering that time when you were so brave and…”
  • “Remember that time when your teacher was so impressed that you…?”
  • “You’ve always been the best at making your little sister smile. Why, I remember when…..”

By the end of the day, you should see your child blossoming — warming up to you and trying to cooperate. Not working? Maybe your child needs another day to believe you mean it.  Keep this up tomorrow, as you also begin changing your approach to transgressions.

Day 3.

Your goal today is to stop giving your emotional energy to your child’s challenging behavior. Of course she doesn’t always behave; she’s a child and still learning self-regulation. When she “misbehaves,” acknowledge her perspective as you set appropriate limits. Use a calm, warm, energetic tone in which your child can hear your engagement, even as you set limits. Connect before you correct. Remember to tell your child what they CAN do, not just what they can’t.

  • “It looks like you wanted your sister to move, so you pushed her. No pushing; pushing hurts. Say ‘Move please!’”
  • “Are you trying to tell your brother that you want to play, so you’re driving your car into his game? Your brother is saying he doesn’t want to play right now. Why don’t you drive your car over here to help me with this instead?”

Notice that you’re setting the limits that need to be set. But you aren’t giving negative energy to them. Instead, you’re using the opportunity to give your child the positive energy of loving guidance and redirection.

By the end of the week, if you keep up these three habits, you’ll see lots more of the behavior you’re giving energy to, and lots less of the behavior you aren’t giving energy to. You’ll notice more cooperation and affection from your child. You’ll feel more confident and energized as a parent.

And before you know it, your home will be blooming.

Dr. Laura Markham, founder of and author of The Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life.

Image courtesy of Ketut Subiyanto.

It’s Time to Begin Your Life. By Design, Not by Default.

Life comes with so many difficulties. And even though life began for me 46+ years ago, I was living it like others wanted me to. I was living my life by default. So I’ve decided it’s time to begin my life again.

There are times in life when emptiness is all you know and you get to a point where you wonder if you are still alive. It’s a numbness which is paralyzing and caring about anything is difficult. You go through the motions, but it’s a prison sentence within your mind — and you believe it’s for life when you are in that moment.

But there are also times in life where everything is so good you wonder whether it’s real. Life seems to go exactly the way you want it to — and nothing could keep you from coming down from that feeling. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. You are happy.

Yet, many of us are just waiting for something bad to happen because we’ve learned that it never lasts. And when we do that, we fail to just be in the moment and enjoy that happiness.

I think maybe I’ve always been afraid of being happy — because I knew it wouldn’t last. So why even attempt it? Why allow myself happiness when disappointment was always right around the corner? I knew, just knew, the future held something bad.

But all it did was keep me from living the life I wanted. It kept me from designing my own life. So it’s time for me to begin making good things happen instead of waiting for bad things to happen.

What I’m learning is you have to design and define your life for yourself, not let life be designed and defined for you. Because if you don’t, your life will end up the default — which is living how everyone else does, not how you want.

Many of us have issues which keep us from living that designed life, too. We tell ourselves we aren’t _________ enough. Fill in the blank for whatever criticisms you have about yourself. I could fill several pages if I sat down and wrote out what I’m not enough of. But it would just be what I tell myself — because it’s not true. It’s my self-limiting beliefs, and it’s self-imposed. However, none of it is true. Neither are those blanks you fill in about yourself.

I have something in my life right now that, if I’m being honest, I’m scared about. I’m scared because I believe I will fuck it up — and I don’t want to. That’s what that default life has taught me. It’s taught me nothing good ever lasts and I can expect to be disappointed. But I’m done with that lesson. I will not let that fear keep me from being happy and in the moment. I will not let fear take away my vulnerability, and I will allow my armor I’ve built up to be taken off.

It’s okay to be scared — because that means you care about it, and those feelings are there for a reason. You can be scared all you want, but you have to do it anyway. That’s where growth comes from, and it’s how you become someone who doesn’t allow life to be defined for you.

You can wait your whole life wondering when your life will really begin. Or you can begin to make it happen on your own.

So it’s time to begin your life. By design, not by default.

Jeff Barton is a writer, ultra-runner, lover of books and zombies, a practitioner of positive thinking, and most importantly, a dad. Living and loving life one day at a time. You can find him at and

Image courtesy of Stefan Kunze.

Listen Again: Breathe

Original broadcast date: January 15, 2021. Breathing is essential to life. And lately, the safety of the air we inhale, or the need to pause and take a deep breath, is on our minds a lot. This hour, TED speakers explore the power of breath. Guests include former world champion freediver Tanya Streeter, journalist Beth Gardiner, activist Yvette Arellano, paleontologist Emma Schachner, scent historian Caro Verbeek, and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe.