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3 Simple Ways To Running Better

With temperatures dropping below 5degrees in Melbourne, I can guarantee hitting the snooze button has become a frequent occurrence across the city.

If you’ve fallen into this cycle, and you’re finding your motivation levels are low, here are 3 simple ideas to keep yourself out there and even improve your running at the same time!

Run to a beat.

Picking out your favourite music is an easy way to stay motivated and keep a rhythm with your running. You can use your music to help regulate your steps per minute. We call this cadence. Cadence can usually be measured by a running App or watch (such as Garmin or Fitbit), or simply by understanding the tempo beat of a song.

An easy way to start to understand how you run is by picking music that displays beats per minute. Spotify allows you to search for playlists which are created with a range of songs that have the same beat. Sticking to the beat of the song will help to regulate your steps per minute.

But why is this important.

If you’re considering improving your speed with running, this is a simple and effective way. By increasing your cadence you reduce the amount of time spent in contact with the ground, therefore reducing your ground reaction force. This allows you to move faster whilst reducing injury risk.

Utilising a metronome or playlist may assist in keeping your steps to a particular count.

Focus on smaller steps not on running faster – think baby steps like Fred Flinstone!

The research says that most intermediate to advance runners try to have an average cadence of 160-180 beats per minute.

Here’s some songs to help get your playlist started…

If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher
Bright Side of the Road – Van Morrison

Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
Whip it – Devo


Prepare your week. Being organised and motivated can be tricky, but sticking to a plan can help to keep consistent with your running.

Plan out when and where you’re going to run.

The human body responds very well to structure. Start your day with good decisions, which leads to more good decisions. Healthy habits can have a domino effect on your daily choices. If it’s not a run then start with your favourite breakfast or play your favourite music.

Planning your runs with a friend always keeps you more accountable. Running with someone or a group creates a positive mindset, helping you to push your body further.

Accountability is so important to keeping a balanced week and to prevent injuries associated with running. Having a scheduled plan on how to manage your running week will help you get to that next step.

There are some really great apps that you can use to monitor and track your runs to do so. For example Map My Run, Run Keeper and Strava ( I will review these at a later date). I tend to use my diary and schedule after each run my next one or a goal for the next one – it keeps me motivated.


Give your body some TLC. Smart runners are those that understand their body and how to manage their weekly load.

Running takes its toll on our body tissue. Sleep, hydration and food are super important in maintaining a healthy body for running. Every runner’s sleep regime will be different, but what we do know is that sleep has a large impact on recovery for the next run.

Try to map out your body’s natural amount of need for sleep to understand what your body requires for optimal recovery.

In conjunction with this fluid and fuel replenishment is just as important. We know from the research that most runners need a balanced diet to obtain optimal vitamins and nutrients for performance and recovery.

Try to make sure your body is fuelled not only before but also after a run. Prepare a post running yummy snack to replenish essential fuel source lost (my favourites are blueberries, Vanilla yoghurt or crackers and dip!).

In terms of hydration, it can vary depending on how hydrated you were before your run, how far and hard you ran and also the type of weather. The current advice suggests we drink to thirst. Remember if you have lost fluid it is likely you have also lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water. They are used in nerve and muscle function and help to rebuild damaged tissue. Therefore it is also important to replace them after a run– try mixing some hydrolyte into your water bottle for a non-surgery replenishment.

Being organised, getting enough rest and recovery and sticking to a beat are 3 simple ways to improve your overall weekly running goals. I’ve just started running to songs at 180beats per minutes for part of my distance runs – it’s super challenging but very rewarding to see my improvement in time at the end. Good luck!

This is the first part of a three-part series. Part two will be titled ‘Could your running technique be slowing you down?’.

The post How To Improve Your Running – Part One appeared first on .

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To all our clients,

I hope you are as excited about The Movement Studio as what I am.

This concept is 18 months in the making and will provide an even greater platform for you to Relieve, Restore and Perform to the most out of your bodies. It also ensures our studio is future-proofed with the new private health reforms for Pilates which you may have read about. You can read more on the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s stance on this here, and more about how it will take shape at Viva below.

By adding new styles of classes to our timetable, we will help you to give you the tools to train your body to an even higher level to reduce injury and pain and to achieve your goals.

Any feedback or questions on this launch are greatly welcomed and you can contact me personally on kathryn@vivaphysio.com.

Best Wishes,

What is the Movement Studio?

The Movement Studio is the new name for our studio which describes what we do: We “Empower through Movement”. The new name describes how Viva really offers more than straight Pilates classes but more so how our approach is designed specifically to get you moving better with many modalities such as Pilates, strength and conditioning, yoga, pregnancy classes, running skills and clinical movement retraining. Our new name reflects how we embody our positive sense of movement and improve your performance through more than just Pilates classes.

What’s New?

From March, you’ll see the following classes appear on our timetable:

Therapeutic Yoga Classes

A therapeutic yoga class ran by Kathryn which will encompass yoga principles with physiotherapy concepts. Helpful for those who are injured or who would just like to keep well.

Viva Strong

A tailored strength and conditioning class ran by Patrick for those wishing to recover from injury or improve their performance. A great way to up the ante on your current Clinical Pilates program.

I currently attend Pilates classes at Viva. How will things change?

Our current Pilates timetable will remain. However, your existing Clinical Equipment Pilates classes will now be called Clinical Movement Classes and Pregnancy Pilates classes will now be called Stay Fit in Pregnancy.

These new names are a more accurate reflection of the styles of classes we run ie. a combination of physiotherapy exercises, functional restoration exercises, strength and condition and exercises derived from Pilates.

How do the Private Health reforms affect my ability to claim private health on my classes?

The Australian Physiotherapy Association have worked hard to advocate to ensure that clinically appropriate exercise programs for injuries are still rebatable.

“Physiotherapy is Physiotherapy” they say, which means that your private health insurance should support you whether you’re receiving hands-on physiotherapy, or physiotherapy through exercise.

For you to be able to claim, it is important that your program is written with specific goals in mind and are linked to the maintenance of your health. That is, be an active form of physiotherapy (not just an exercise class for fitness).

In the Movement Studio, Clinical Movement Classes, Runner’s Strength, Stay Fit in Pregnancy and Viva Strong will be rebatable. However Pilates Mat Classes and Therapeutic Yoga Classes won’t be. To ensure you can continue to claim a rebate on your equipment (or what we currently call “specialty” classes), just make sure:

  • Your program matches your goals
  • You have had your program reviewed recently (there is no strict guidelines on how often this needs to be, but to be clinically aligned we would recommend every 8-12 weeks).

In order to help you do this, we are offering a special rate on our program reviews for the months of March and April – usually $131, only $99 (use the code MOVEMENTSTUDIO when booking to receive your discount).

You’re welcome to chat to any of us in your appointment, in the studio or via email if you would like to know how this affects you directly. We can continue to add more information on this over time, so if you feel there’s anything I haven’t covered, please shoot me an email on kathryn@vivaphysio.com.

Why have Viva decided to offer more classes?

The new classes at Viva have been specially chosen and created based on our own experiences and passions.

Where Pilates is a starting point for restoring movement patterns and building strength, yoga, strength training and technique work are methods we all use ourselves in our own training to get the most of our bodies. These additions reflect what we truly believe in and we can speak from personal experience about their effectiveness. When combined with our professional knowledge of biomechanics and movement patterns, the sky’s the limit!

Thank you for going on the Viva journey so far. I can’t wait for you to experience The Movement Studio and see just how it will help you to Relieve your injuries, Restore your Movement and Perform in a way that inspires you.

Best Wishes,

The post Movement Studio: A Letter To Our Clients appeared first on .

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What is strength and conditioning training?

The first image that comes to mind when we think of strength training is someone with bustling biceps lifting an extremely heavy weight. This could not be further from the truth. Strength training typically needs 70% of 1 maximal repetition to elicit a neuromuscular response, however, this can be achieved in many ways:

  • Body weight
  • Resistance bands
  • Weight training
  • Unilateral (Single limb)

Strength and conditioning training involves movement training, resistance training and plyometric training (explosive jumping). It is used to increased muscular strength, endurance and power while improving body awareness and stability.

The first two questions most clients will ask is why this injury occurred and how can I prevent it happening in the future. Strength and conditioning training has been proven to reduce pain and increase functional outcomes after injury, reduce injury rates in sports and increase functional performance. The evidence speaks for itself…….

What is the evidence behind doing strength training after injury?

Strength and conditioning training and more specifically resistance training has been used successfully to rehabilitate a variety of injury types and body parts. A study by Kristensen and Franklin-Miller (2012) showed that resistance training increased function outcomes in 1500 people with a variety of back pain, knee pain, tendon problems and post hip surgery. Resistance training has been shown to significantly reduce pain in shoulder and neck related injuries (Andersen 2014, Gross 2015) Heavy resistance training has been shown to change collagen fibres at the muscle-tendon junction which is a significant finding for those who suffer from tendon related pain (Jakobsen 2016).

These studies tell us that not only is strength training safe to complete while someone is injured, it is also highly effective at reducing pain and restoring normal function.

What is the evidence for reduced injury rate and sports performance?

There is a growing body of evidence that resistance training not only improves your pain and function after injury, it can also prevent further injury and increase your performance upon return to activity. A study that reviewed interventions to reduce injury rates of over 26,000 athletes showed that strength training and proprioception training (training the body’s sense of position) reduced acute injury rates by 1/3 and overuse injury rates by ½. Resistance training for runners has long since been an essential part of any marathon preparation program. A combination of resistance and plyometric training has been shown to improve running economy of high level mid to long-distance runners (Balsalobre-Fernandez 2015). A combination of upper and lower body dry land strength training has been shown to increase 50-meter swimming performance (Loturco 2015)

The good news here is that if you continue with S&C after you have rehabilitated your injury you can improve your sports specific performance while reducing your rate of injury

So why isn’t everyone doing it?

One of the biggest barriers to the use of resistance training is the fear of aggravating an already injured or previously injured body part. The key to success in rehabilitation is the load (or pressure) the injured tissue is subject to. When a body part is injured it usually cannot take as much load as it previously could. An injured shoulder struggles to lift the arm overhead, a painful lower back struggles to lift the shopping off the ground. In both instances, the affected body part has lost the ability to take the load of the desired activity and thus the movement results in pain. Rehabilitating an injury can be tricky and can sometimes lead to aggravation.

So why come to Viva physio for strength training?

Recent evidence suggests that the design and progression of the strength and conditioning program is more important than the exercises. When an injury is involved it is a case of what exercises to do when, how to progress the program and when to increase intensity and load. As physiotherapists, we look at an injury from both sides of the fence and therefore your primary contact when it comes to applying strength training to an injured body part. We look at the underlying pathology and potential previous underlying issue and the optimal exercises that will get you back to full function and WHEN you are able to complete AND progress these exercises.

A strength and conditioning program can be designed by myself or any of the physiotherapists at Viva to target specific weakness that may be affecting your pain and function. This can be an isolated program or compliment a pre-existing Pilates-based program.

Kristensen, J., & Franklyn-Miller, A. (2012). Resistance training in musculoskeletal rehabilitation: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med, 46(10), 719-726.

Lauersen, J. B., Bertelsen, D. M., & Andersen, L. B. (2014). The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med, 48(11), 871-877.

Gross, A., Kay, T. M., Paquin, J. P., Blanchette, S., Lalonde, P., Christie, T., … & Goldsmith, C. H. (2015). Exercises for mechanical neck disorders. The Cochrane Library.

Andersen, C. H., Andersen, L. L., Zebis, M. K., & Sjøgaard, G. (2014). Effect of scapular function training on chronic pain in the neck/shoulder region: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 24(2), 316-324.

Loturco I et al. (2015) A Correlational Analysis of Tethered Swimming, Swim Sprint Performance and Dry-land Power Assessments. Int J Sports Med.


The post Is A Strength and Conditioning Program Right For Your Injury? appeared first on .

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The first thing you should know is it isn’t just for runners.

It is a generic term used for people that have knee pain, more commonly seen in runners. Typically it is diagnosed as patellofemoral joint pain (PFJP).

The patellofemoral joint is the joint between the back of the kneecap (patella) and the front of the thigh bone (femur).

Pain in this area can be caused by a number of structures. It is a very common injury that we commonly see present in non-traumatic knee pain in physiotherapy patients.

What might you expect to feel or notice if you have this problem?

It is commonly, but not limited to, pain at the front of the knee or around/behind the knee cap. It is usually increased with stair use, kneeling, squats or lunges, and running or jumping.

Why might I get this problem?

There are so many factors that may contribute to PFJP and sometimes it may be a combination or a number of those factors. Your cause of this pain may be predisposed, mechanical, adaptive or environmental. It is likely to develop due to an increase or change in how much activity you are doing or also known as load.

More specifically…

For runners, this may be due to ‘overload’. Overload or overuse may be a direct result of an increase in training volume or speed, a change in footwear or terrain, engaging in more stairs/hills or including more jumping/skipping into your workouts. Other factors may include a direct impact to the kneecap causing an inflammation, swelling and therefore pain. Pain may also appear due to the way your body moves or your genetic makeup.

Muscles around the hip and knee allow your patella to track smoothly in the joint, if there are imbalances in these muscles, weakness or tightness, your patella may not stay in the right position. If there is a malalignment of the patella over time this can cause wear under the surface of the kneecap. The way you run, squat, or position your body may also affect the way you use your knee.

What can you do about it?

A thorough assessment with one of our Physiotherapists will allow us to narrow down your source and work out the cause of your pain.

Treatment involves physiotherapy manual techniques, taping and education. It is likely you will need to incorporate a range of stretches and strengthening exercises to assist in managing your pain.

There are a few simple things you can be doing before you have your assessment to kick-start your treatment.

Releasing your iliotibial band and gluteal muscles may assist to maintain optimal length and therefore overall alignment. To kick-start your treatment today, learn how to release your iliotibial band and gluteal muscles by clicking the links.

With spring around the corner and exciting events like the Melbourne Marathon, it may be your time to get out there. If knee pain is something that has stopped you or even scared you in the past please do not hesitate to make a time to see us at Viva!

The post Patellofemoral Joint Pain – What you need to know appeared first on .

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Hi, I’m Mary. I would have met most of you at one point or another as you come into the Reception at the Viva Physio Clinic or attend our Studio for Pilates, as I am part of the Administration Team.

As you may know I have a bright and bubbly personality, and I am always happy to go the extra mile for you were ever I can.

Beneath my exuberant personality I am fighting a silent incurable disease called Crohn’s.

In September 2016, after months of agony partnered with extreme weight loss and testing, I was diagnosed with the disease.

I was relieved that I finally had a diagnosis, although was worried about the lack of knowledge of the disease in the general public, and lack of funding in medical fields for this chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Crohns is a disease which predominately starts in young people, in their teens or twenties. Treatment can help with the symptoms, but this terrible and sometimes debilitating disease cannot be cured.

My wish for the future is to enter remission, and for more funding to be provided for research into curing this disease that effects so many young Australians, like myself, so we can live our lives pain free and to our full potential.

You can help me and others living with Crohn’s Disease by donating through Crohn’s and Colitis Australia anytime, or by attending our Class 4 a Cause at Viva Physio during July to September 2018. Donations can also be made at the front desk in the clinic during this time.

Many thanks in advance for your support.


The post Living with Chron’s Disease: Mary’s Story appeared first on .

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