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2017 health and wellness trends

A new year brings a number of new fitness crazes, wellness buzzwords, diets and health food trends. Rather than follow the crowd we have asked our team of experts to share their 2017 trend that is worth following.

Boost your Brain

Brigid Walsh, General Manager

A typical health kick used to be driven by the need to burn calories and improve body image. This is still popular however there is a new purpose which seems to be less about our physical state and more about improving mental health, building brain power (such as innovation and creative thought) and warding off dementia. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare the number of people with dementia will rise to around 400,000 by 2020. Research is growing which supports exercise improving brain structure, functional connectivity and cognition. Exercise can also help transform you from having a lack of motivation and being negative to being a more enthusiastic go getter – a must for teenagers! In addition to being active there are numerous ways to boost the brain, the trends being; superfoods, puzzles, changing routine and improving sleep.

Get Conscious

Jaye Hoelscher, Head of Program and Guest Experience

So often I notice guests engaged in conversation about how hectic and crazy their lives have become, how quickly the days and weeks fly by, full of to-do lists, responsibilities, obligations and things to fit in. I notice too, that I myself am often engaged in similar conversations reflecting on my own life.  Lately it seems that so many lives have become a series of treadmills, running and jumping from one to another. With life in continuous motion, how often do we have thought of mind to put our feet down on the ground every once in a while, TO stop running and just look up?

Am I going to wake up one day in 10 years’ time and wonder what the hell just happened!? Life disappeared in a blur of busy-ness. My conscious mind says, “that is not what I want.”

In my reflections, this idea of living consciously – allowing ourselves real moments to pause and seek clarity from within – is critical to living a full, well life. So I wonder, what can we do in our daily lives to emanate this feeling of conscious connection with who we really are? When I make the commitment to check in with myself daily and simply ask: “how conscious am I today?” I notice the way I carry myself in all that do changes. I feel present rather than asleep, I feel calm amidst the storm. Rather than changing the ‘busy’ – some of which I cannot or do not wish to change – I change my relationship with busy. And a whole new world opens up. Discover how your world changes and get conscious in 2017.

Get involved in cooperative gardening

James Knight, Executive Chef

We all want to eat nutritiously rich food. With more and more information coming out about the large-scale agriculture production and the ethics around environmental impacts and sustainability, I believe we will see a steady growth in communal gardens producing seasonal produce in small scale for local residents and businesses alike. We are already seeing the next phase of this in some suburbs in Sydney and Newcastle with businesses even using the old barter system, with exchanging fresh lettuce or herbs for a meal in the establishment. Menus will start to evolve much more regularly due to seasonality and will be more accepted (as it should) that when something runs out that it is not available until next season or next harvest.

Ditch the apps and allow your body to sleep

Mel Ingram, Clinical Health Services Manager

I regularly hear people mention wonderful apps available to download onto their smart phone to help them get to sleep and to also measure their quantity and quality of sleep. Unfortunately, your smart phone could be creating more anxiety and may be one of the tools reducing the quality and quantity of sleep rather than improving it. Try leaving your phone at the front door and sleeping ‘naked’, without your phone!

Our body knows how to sleep we just need to give it the opportunity and allow our brain time to reset for it to happen. When we think about sleep we often get overwhelmed about how much else we need to do and therefore trade off sleep for the time it gives us to ‘do’ more. We all know this doesn’t serve us well, it becomes so habitual that even when we do take the time to aim for the magical eight hours, our brains head into overdrive and the quality of our sleep diminishes. Perhaps if we think about quality rather than quantity then our wellness may improve.

Introduce ‘fat is not all bad’ philosophy

Peter Rule, Holistic Health Services Manager

Fat is a hot topic as we have all been led to believe that a low saturated fat diet equals a lower risk of heart disease however evidence is coming to light that it is the trans-fats that cause heart disease. A large study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found no association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease.  However, the study did find heart disease linked to trans-fat consumption. Trans-fats are found in margarine, snack foods, packaged baked goods, fried fast foods and low and reduced fat spreads. We need healthy fats which contain essential fatty acids to assist our cells, liver and heart. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, oily fish, flaxseed, nuts, chia seeds, coconut oil and butter too. Enjoy your healthy fat.

Strengthen your powerhouse

Matt Rendall, Movement and Fitness Manager

We need to clear the air and get down and dirty to the butt of a lot of jokes. What I am referring to is the good old gluteus maximus and no, I’m not talking about Russell Crowe in Gladiator, I’m talking about the buttocks that you are sitting on right now possibly as you read this. One of the biggest trends in the exercise world is high intensity exercise both resistance and cardio based. Training this way has had great results in metabolic conditioning, but it needs to be done right. To do it right you need to have a great power and efficiency behind you, if you don’t there is always potential for injuries from increasing your exercise intensity too quickly. The gluteus maximus is a big powerhouse of the hips and unfortunately with our sedentary lifestyles it is becoming lazy and weak. This combination can lead to poor movement mechanics of the body and result in poor posture and back pain, so you need to fire them up.

Here are my top three tips to get them active and working for you:

  1.  Walk tall with your hips forward, especially going up hills and stairs;
  2. Squeeze your glutes and push through your heels as you stand from a chair;
  3. Perform the glute Bridge exercise.

So, get BEHIND this movement and get the glutes working.

Please note: This blog is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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