With the first Metafit trial session at Caloundra on NOV 7 aside, I was looking forward to the Friday 13th Cleveland event in every way possible. I was looking forward to the challenge of attracting a crowd using nothing more than existing contacts and a few facebook posts. I was also heartened by what I had learned from the Caloundra experience and felt more than prepared. I had shirts, kick-ass workout, the confidence to pull it off and the support and kind words of encouragement from friends.
On the day before the Cleveland event, I had a call from an old friend who had expressed interest in attending. She said she was bringing 2 other people! Plus unbeknownst to her, her sister had liked and tagged a friend in the event as well. I was feeling good about it.
The location and time allows for a wonderfully shady and breezy location by the Bay, with toilets, water and a kiddy park.
I love this stuff!!
Thanks to Nicole, Kelli, Kahlia, Chloe, Krystyne for support on the day and I look forward to talking with you and working out your goals and how I can help with the future.
With the first Metafit trial session at Caloundra on NOV 7 completed, I have breathed a little sigh of relief. Surprisingly I wasn’t particularly nervous and I was surrounded with lovely words of support leading up to the event and friends on the day. I spoke with my cuzzie just this week and she said that when starting a new business each day bring its challenges. In that she meant that you can’t necessarily plan for what will happen (although you can prepare) but rather allow the days to roll towards you and see what each day requires. I saw this in action while preparing for this first Metafit event. Promotion, flyers, shirts, facebook events, web updates, word of mouth etc. Finally on the day before, I decided my music arrangements wasn’t robust enough and I wanted more redundancy, so I went out and bought a Bluetooth speaker. The day itself went of with out a hitch and was a mere formality. To me it was just a Kung Fu power training session…People arrived, we warmed up, we trained, we warmed down and stretched. The structure of the Metafit class is brilliantly easy. The oral commands make running the class a breeze. The music is upbeat and energetic and a pleasure to work out to.
Some things for future consideration; data collection, merchandise sales ( where and how ), exit surveys/feedback. Anyhow looking forward to Friday 13th at Cleveland. It will be a tougher assignment as I will potentially have fewer friends on hand and will have to sell the event much more thoroughly to make it a success. It’s what I’ve signed up for, but highlights the “behind the scenes” work that goes on which will make these events and ultimately me a success.
Thanks to Luke, Janelle, Dave and Phil for your efforts and support on the day.
Are you finding yourself a little bored with your life? Why not find a fitness challenge. There are literally dozens of events that take place each weekend in and around Brisbane that are free. There are also a seemingly endless number of challenges that you could be participate that cost under $50.
The benefits of trying out a new sport or fitness event, to list a few are:
Its not hard to stay healthy. All we need to do is respect our selves and do what most good parents told us to do as children. Reducing the list to only 10 was hard but I think these are the most important.
Establish a sleep routine that suits your natural biorhythms and improves healthy body functions Sleep.
Drink two to three litres of water each day.
Healthy eating. Eat less processed food and more “fresh” fruit and vege’s by “colour”. (Vary what you eat by colour; red, yellow, green orange etc, it will ensure you are getting a variety of minerals and vitamins)
Exercise. Exceed the minimum of 30 minutes 3 times a week. Aim for 30 minutes every day of moderate workload.
Take some down time to be by yourself to calm your mind.
Once you have made the decision to be more health conscious surround yourself with like minded people
Exercise your brain, do puzzles, learn a language, music or new skill.
Stay clean. Brush your teeth properly, wash yourself, clothes and bedding regularly. They are all a hot bed of bacteria.
Remember to breath. Breathing for life will help relief stress and improve circulation.
Use positive affirmations to balance the negative we constantly hear.
A new baby around the house is a quiet time of adjustment for you and your family. But it needn’t be a time when your good lifestyle habits go out the window. When the dust has settled and you have your baby in a routine, be sure to make enough time for yourself by working exercise back into your day. As well as being important for you and making you feel good, exercising can actually be a pretty special time to connect with your baby.
Initially this will be just walking until you are ready to resume exercise and when your baby is physically strong enough for the rigours of exercising with you. At around 3-6 months, depending on the exercise and the strength of your baby, he should be ready to start training with you. The exercises depicted are not vigorous and are normal actions you would normally undertake when interacting and playing with you baby.
When you shop, clean, pack and unpack your car, your arms, back and legs are already working out without you even being aware of it. Lifting, holding, squatting, bending ( from the waist) are all exercises being performed that benefit your body and muscles. The number of lifts (reps), how often you do them (sets) and weight are important in your work out, but you must have a bit of a goal in mind. “I want to lose weight”, “I want to grow stronger” etc. These goals will determine how heavy you should lift, for how many sets and how long you should rest for. Aim for two to three sessions a week. Have a look below at how your sessions should be structured depending on your goals.
If you wish to improve your strength in your legs and arms:
Lift (or squat ) with heavy weights, (no you won’t look like a man)
3-6 times (reps),
2-3 minutes rest (between sets),
about 3-6 sets,
2-3 times a week.
If you wish to lose weight from your body:
The goal should more focused on keeping your heart rate at between 120-140 beats a minute for a 30 year old woman. Around the house this going to vigorous house work like vacuuming. Cycling, jogging, jumping, sit-ups, push-ups, kicking, punching, burpees, etc.
Also if you wish to lose weight, there are two clear paths you can follow. High intensity workouts (HIIT), Long Slow Distance (LSD). A few other things worth mentioning here are you should also focus your efforts on portion control, a good balanced diet to ensure you baby is getting nutrition from you and if you are breast feeding then that baby is going to suck that fat right off you! Also work with your doctor and be guided by them when you are ready to start exercise.
Long Slow distance is where you should start exercising. Doctors and nurses now start getting patients up and about sooner these days. The focus of your efforts here should be on getting mobile for 30-60 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week, getting your heart rate in the 65-75% range and gradually increasing the intensity or duration of your work out. With regards to your heart rate an average healthy women of 30 should aim for a heart rate of 125-145 beats per minute. You can measure your pulse for 15 seconds and it should be aim for between 30 – 36 beats. The intensity should start quite easily, walking on a flat ground or slight incline and gradually build it up, walking with pram, increase weight in pram, walking up steep hill etc. Always be guided by your heart rate. If you are ready start jogging to raise the intensity. Also if you choose a walking path, do some workouts at the council provided exercise stations.
High Intensity work outs are now proven to raise your metabolism for longer that just moderate exercise alone by up to nine times. HIIT is the principle of raising your heart rate to up to 90-95% of your max capacity (up to 175 bps for a 30 year old woman) for short bursts then resting for bit then raising it again. Chemicals in your body are released that facilitate bone and muscle growth which sends your metabolism through the roof! The work to rest ration should be 1:3, (10 seconds of HIIT followed by 30 seconds of rest) repeated at least 5 times and up to as many times as you feel comfortable, down to 1:2 (10 seconds exercise 20 seconds of rest) when you are feeling fitter. The rest should also be determined by your heart rate. You should resume your HIIT session when you heart rate falls to approx 135 bps. HIIT exercise should be conducted 2-3 times a week.
HIIT exercise can be sprinting in a park, tuck jumps, cycling a bike or any exercise that allows you to raise your heart rate in a short explosive burst. Note the largest muscles in the body are the legs and will be required to get that heart rate up. You won’t get into the HR zone by doing bicep curls or situps.
I’ve included the HIIT work out here for general information but obviously the theme of this blog is exercising with your baby so HIIT may not be practical unless they are content in a pram or are with a friend in the park. So jogging and using your baby as weights may be more practicle.
A baby can be used as hand weights and the following can be used as a guide for the types of exercises that can be performed.
Bicep curls. Hold you arms down straight with your baby by you waist. Feet shoulder width, engage your core. Bending your arms at the elbow, raise your baby using your biceps until you can kiss them. Ensure your head is up straight, your core is engaged and your shoulders are square and flat.
Situps. Lay down on your back, holding your baby in a kangaroo cuddle or just above your body. Raise your knees and keep your feet flat throughout the movement. Engage you core, raise your shoulders and lower back off the ground. Keep you head in a neutral and your back straight.
Pelvic Bridge. Lay down on your back, holding your baby at your waist line. Slide you feet in so you knees are a right angles. Engage you core and raise you waist off the ground. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, less if new to this position.
Leg Extensions. Lay down flat on your back. Raise you knees so they are tucked up over your chest with your shins parallel to the ground. Place your baby on your shins, raise you feet up pivoting from the knees.Hold your baby securely so your baby doesn’t slide back towards you. (use common sense here. You’ve probably done this one when playing with them. I still do it with my 14 year old daughter.)
Leg Squats. Standing up, hold your baby in a comfortable position in your arms. Stand with legs at shoulder waste toes pointing forward. Engage core, keep back remaining upright, head up eyes forward. Lower your self to a half Squat, hold for a few seconds if you are able to and slowly return to the upright position. Focus on slow controlled movements.
Over head shoulder press. Stand holding your baby, ready to lift them straight up, feet shoulder width apart. Slowly raise you baby straight up. Focus on slow controlled movements. Stop well before you arms are straight. Keep your back straight and eyes forward.
Lunges. Standing up, hold your baby in a comfortable position in your arms. Engage your core and step one leg out. Lower you wast down but don’t allow your front knee to travel forward over your toes. Focus on your rear knee travelling to the ground. Travel as deeply and hold for as long as comfortable.
Pushups. Place your baby flat on their back on a towel on the floor. Move over them as though you were going to kiss them. Assume a push up position, arm shoulder width and knees on floor. Slowly move down until you can kiss you baby. Push away from the floor until you have reached maximum extension.
All of these exercise depicted can be done to suits your level of fitness or your desired outcome. If you wish to lose weight, focus on achieving a suitable cardiac outcome, (work until you are puffed) with shorter rests. If you are after strength or muscle gains, work with heavier weights, lower repetitions and have longer rests. Also modify you body leverage to achieve the desired weight. For example use knees instead of toes for pushups, sink to half depth squats, or pushup on incline, borrow heavier baby etc. Speak with your doctor about exercisign and focus on correctness of technique. Shoot me a question if you have any questions about the exercises.
Looking back on my own life I have jogged much more than I remembered. I have jogged on and off since my early 20’s. I never found it easy. I struggled to find rhythm, my legs always felt uncoordinated and I never got over the hurdle to run long distances. I did however get fitter. Since January 2014 where I made a solid effort to start running decent kilometres, I did make in roads. I bought a new pair of shoes, my breathing became notably easier, I got a running app to track my progress and my legs and body recovered quicker from my standard 6 K run.
I highly recommend running as it’s an easy (yes easy) way to get started with fitness given you can build your length, speed and how hard you run. And its addictive!
As I improved, it no longer felt like I was being dragged behind a car. I felt the various “gear shifts” in my body as my various energy systems switched from one to another. I felt improvements as various parts of my body improved (legs, lungs and other things that can hurt). I knew I was improving when my body outlasted the K’s I was running and I started getting bored.
It never even occurred to me, that I could get comfortable with running a long distance, that I got bored with it. Up around the 40-60 minute mark your brain finishes digesting your day, you’ve silently giggled at that joke that you heard last week, the album you listened to has finished, you remember to grab that extra thing for the weekend, you relive a moment from work… Luckily for me over the last two years I have been studying heavily and started a business, so I have appreciated the “me time” for my brain to just think.
When you start running, assuming you are relatively sedantary now (but don’t smoke) , your body quickly undergoes a number of adaptations. I’ll come to them shortly but I first like to describe the reasons that are likely to cause you to stop running and start walking.
First it will be your cardio vascular capacity. Put simply your lungs and heart will not be able to get enough oxygen to the muscles you are using. So your lungs will burn, your heart will race above your target rate of 65-75% of your heart rate and you will literally feel like you are drowning or dying. So your brain tells you to stop. This is most likely to occur if you attempt to run to fast too soon. To help ease this for someone who has just started I recommend you to start at a nice slow pace. A “7 minute kilometre” (that is it took 7 minutes to travel 1 kilometre) is a reasonably slow amble that should be maintainable for 5-10 minutes. Something interesting happens at the 5-10 minute mark that is quite remarkable. I’ll get back to this.
Lets assume you jogged for 5 minutes at 7 minutes a kilometre and continued walking for 5 minutes while you recovered, then jogged for another 4 minutes, before slowing and then walking home for another 5 minutes. You might infact travel up to 1.5 – 2 kilometres. Not bad effort for a first day.
If you jog/walked for 15-20 minutes a day, 2 – 3 times a week you will notice definite improvement in under 2 weeks. Your body will adapt at this level very quickly. Your lungs become much more efficient at exchanges gases with the blood, getting Oxygen in and Carbon Dioxide out. Your muscles will be sore after each jog, but will improve. As you get over this hurdle you next barrier will be your legs. If you travel further or travel at a higher intensity (faster jog) your legs will tire as they wont be efficient at getting oxygen in, it will deplete energy stores and may even get sore from lactid acid build up. (Lactic Acid is a bi-product of the work muscles do). Thats because the muscles need to be trained to operate more efficiently. This will take a little longer. Possible an additional 2 to 4 weeks or (4 – 6 weeks after you started running.) At the 6 week mark however, your heart lungs will work incredibly well and will be able to sustain you for 20-30 minutes of continuous running putting you in the 5 K zone. Thats not bad! Training for run 5 K in one month is definitely doable!!
You may have heard of the expression “Second Wind”. In the right context, it refers to the change over in energy systems within the body. Your has three 3 energy systems. I want to discuss the two that are relevant here. The Oxidative (Oxygen) System and Anaerobic (Lactic) System. When you start running your body quickly start breathing more heavily dependant on the load required by your muscles. When it exceeds what you can supply, you get exhausted very quickly. (Think running flat out for 30 seconds). When you sustain activity at 65-75% of your max heart rate or “the fat burning zone”, for 5-10 minutes the Anaerobic system will kick in it and will convert energy from your fat stores and doesn’t require oxygen to do so. Your body still needs oxygen for other operations but energy to jog will start coming from the Lactid Acid system system. This is 18 times more efficient than the Oxidative system and your breathing may almost return to normal. You will barely be aware of the change over but after 10 minutes you will notice your breathing is shallower and less frequent.
Your heart rate is the best tool to monitor your fitness. Conduct this test to determine a base line (starting point). You can accurately measure your heart rate by counting the beats of your heart for 15 seconds and the multiply by 4.
Measure your resting sitting heart rate
Walk for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
Jog for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
Rest for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
Time how long it takes to return to your resting sitting heart rate
These key performance indicators will be your dash panel to your fitness.mOther indicators like, How far can I run in 5 minutes, how long can I run continuously, how many minutes can I run 2 kilometres etc are all relevent and can be used to track your perforance. Yo can use a smart phone app.
I spoke earlier of the “fat burning zone”. This is the zone of heart rate at which your fat is burned from your body. (Not necessarily the best over time but one of the best to get started with). The equation looks like this.
TO DETERMINE THE LOWER TRAINING LIMIT
Fat Burning zone = (Max HR – Age) x .65 (lower training limit)
Fat Burning zone = (220 – 42) x .65
Fat Burning zone = 178 x .65
Fat Burning zone = 116 (lower training limit)
TO DETERMINE THE UPPER TRAINING LIMIT
Fat Burning zone = 178 x .75(upper training limit)
Fat Burning zone = 134
So the fat burning heart rate range for a 42 year old is 116-134 beats per limit. Under that limit and he’s not working hard enough, above that limit and his body will switch bad to oxidative system and wont be using fat stores as efficiently. Itrs worth mentioning that High Intensity Training (HIIT) over a longer period of time will burn more fat for less time expended but you must work your body at extremely high heart rates. That’s up to 90% of you max heart rate for short intervals and then resting until the Heart Rate falls to 160 then raising it back up to the HIIT zone. So for me thats per the below.
HIIT zone = 178 x .90
HIIT zone = 160K
Here are are some other tips from around the web for getting started.
Get the right shoes
Learn correct form
Schedule the time
Get some tech
Do the walk/jog/walk thing until you can do the jog thing
Allow rest days
Allow for cool down to flush muscles of toxins
Do stretch properly after each walk
Keep properly hydrated
See a doctor first
Run earl morning or late afternoon. The heat form the day makes jogging much harder when its hot
Avoid hills until you are ready for another challenge
Learn some running form
Find a running buddy
I could have gone on a length with this article. So if you feel I missed anything out, I probably did and would appreciate your feedback.
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is the process of training at an extremely high intensity for short periods of time. It is recommended the subject reaches peaks of 90-95% of their maximum heart rate, with short rest breaks, for between 20 – 60 minutes.
At this point I want to discuss a few things before I go on. Training is an individual thing. The factors affecting training abilities are age, body type, sex, current fitness and genes medical conditions etc. Two people training side by side doing the same thing will not feel exactly the same. As in, one fit person training with a unfit person will have different “rates of perceived exertion”. The fit person may be training at coasting 50% or their maximum ability where as the unfit person may be struggling at 80% and won’t have much more to give. SO the best indicator across all people is their max heart rate for their age. (220 beats per minute – age). Endurance training for anyone places their heart rate in the 65-75% zone. HIIT places their heart rate in 85-95% zone regardless of the various factors mentioned above. NB consult a doctor before beginning or increasing your training intensity.
There have been numerous studies showing that HIIT is superior to Endurance Training (ET) for weight loss.
“HIIT has been shown to be more effective than moderate-intensity continuous exercise training for improving endothelial function (normal functioning of the inner lining of blood vessel) and ….. for reducing central body fat (losing weight) and fasting plasma insulin in young women (improves diabetes risk), and for improving maximal oxygen uptake (gettingoxygen into your system) in subjects… HIIT has also been reported to be more effective than continuous, steady-state exercise training for inducing fat loss in men and women, despite considerably less total energy expenditure required during training sessions.“
I may have already lost a few of you here, and I won’t turn the rest of you away by explaining too deeply why this is the case. You have a car…It runs and you don’t care why. HIIT kicks Endurance Training and that’s a fact.
This particular article sited above goes on to say the HIIT sessions can last from as short as 8 seconds and typically from 1-4 minutes per set. With 60 seconds rest between each set.
SO a typical session may look like this:
5-10 minute warm up 65-75% max heart rate. (That’s jogging/exercising at a mild puff)
5 minute stretching session targeting large muscle groups
5 by x minute HIIT sessions + 60 seconds rest
(5×60 second plus 60 seconds rest equals 10 minutes work out)
(5×90 second plus 60 seconds rest equals approx. 14 minutes work out)
(5×120 second plus 60 seconds rest equals approx. 20 minutes work out) You get the idea
5-10 minute warm down 65-75% max heart rate
5 minute stretching session targeting large muscle groups
SO a basic session can be short as 30 minutes and can be broken down
Assuming 5 x 30 second HIIT sets
10 minutes total warm up cool down
10 minutes stretching
5 minutes HIIT
5 minutes rest
A more advanced session (assuming 5 x 120 second HIIT) sets looks like this:
10 minutes total warm up cool down
10 minutes stretching
10 minutes HIIT
5 minutes rest
That’s still only 10 minutes of extremely high heart rate.
SO if you have read this far. This is the crunch line…
Essentially the chemical processes that occur or chemicals that are released in the body at this very high heart rate continue to keep the metabolism high and burn fat at a higher rate for longer. This is why HIIT is superior to normal endurance training.
Beginning exercise can be intimidating. We have to admit to ourselves that our current lifestyle isn’t the best and the decision to accept that can be difficult. We may feel comfort in our old habits particularly if it involves food abuse. But something may have happened to make us question our lifestyle, a medical incident to ourselves or to someone else or some trigger has got us thinking. We begin to stop denying we have a problem and face the ugly truth. “I’m unfit and make bad choices.”
We are only human. Making mistakes is OK. But admitting the problem is the first step. Acting to improve that situation is what really counts. But where do I start?
Educate yourself. Start reading about others peoples experiences. It will help make it all seem much less scary. There are MILLIONS of people who have gone before you and started exercising. You are not the first and will not be the last. Have read here about some peoples journeys and allow it to inspire you to move forward.
Find a friend Communicate your intentions with others and find a friend who will accompany you on your journey. A husband, sister, sibling, friend. Someone who loves you and will be supportive and you are accountable to will GREATLY enhance your ability to succeed. You can definitely do it alone but having someone with you will make it easier and more fun.
Start moving. While you are thinking about changing your life style just Start Moving!! Just blast that bit. Just get out and start by walking. Play with the kids more. Jump in the car and go to a park. Take a frisbee or ball. Find something fun you like doing. Worry about the other stuff later. Replace inactivity with activity.
Look at the barriers. If you are serious about making REAL CHANGE, be scientific about how you have gotten to where you are. If it’s just general unfitness, account for your day and replace bad choices with good choices. If its obesity, analyse your food choices. If its time management then make more time for your self and work around it. You are allowed to look after your self. Barriers might be things like money, time, children etc.
Make Better use of your time. If you find through the above that you aren’t making the best use of your time them look for improvements. For general health sake you need to exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. But this won’t make much difference when it comes to serious weight loss. You will need more like 30-45 minutes EACH day to get on top of the battle.But the good news is it doesn’t have to be all in the same session. If fact more recent studies show getting you heart rate up into or above you heart rate zone (65-75% max heart rate) is enough to continue the reversing the effects long after exercise has ceased. Research shows one HIIT (High Intensity) session can cause an after glow effect raising the metabolism for up to one month after exercise. HIIT is extremely high intensity, raising the heart rate above 75% for more than 4-5 minutes at a time! So with this in mind you can break down your workout in to 5-10 minute sessions through out the day when you can find time.
60% of your efforts should be focused on portion control. Yup thats right 60% of your weight loss efforts will come through educating your self and improving your diet. You can definitely lose weight just by improving your diet alone but it wont make you fitter or healthier. 25% of your efforts will be through exercise. The remainder of your efforts may be addressing medical issues causing poor health. The dietary stuff can be difficult to get on top of. Healthy food is more expensive than crap food and that kinda sux but you can definitely trick you body into feeling fuller for longer so you eat less and save money anyway. I can give general advice about balanced diets or speak to a doctor or dietitian about improving your dietary intake or any special needs..
In this Blog series special we examine the 7 components of fitness and how they affect our body’s performance. Some of the components sit on a spectrum with absolute strength being at one end and long distance endurance being at the other. Other components describe how our body moves.
The 7 components of fitness describe 7 functional capabilities of the body. They are:
Strength can be described as the maximum amount of force applied during a particular motion. This movement at this strength will be depleted after one of two repetitions because the fuel required for this movement will be depleted. Resistance training is usually employed to train this component and specifically, high weights and low repetitions will be used.
Muscular Endurance can be described as your muscles ability to exert continuous contractions for an extended period of time. Because the moves aren’t at maximum force and fuel can continuously be supplied they will be for tens of minutes or hours, such as a triathlon or marathon. Endurance training is made up of moderate to low weights and high repetitions are used to train muscles for this component.
Cardiovascular Endurance is the capacity of the heart lung system. It is the ability to deliver high volumes of highly oxygenated blood to muscles to fuel work for extended perions of time. A good CV system is required for any exercise greater than 10-20 seconds in duration to remove waste and replenish energy supplies.
Flexibility is the ability to safely stretch muscle, ie splits, back arching etc. Flexibility is an attribute needed for sports people to avoid injury through unintended overstretching. Also flexibility is a highly regarded attribute for gymnasts to assist with intriguing artistic bodily displays.
Power can thought of and is often call muscular endurance. Its the repeated rate of work a muscle can perform over a period of time. Power training is used to enhance muscular endurance, so the body is fit enough to deliver high rates of work over time. Low to moderate weights with high repetitions are used to train this component.
This component is self evident and is considered a high burst lasting less than 20 seconds. Speed training is trains the (various components of the body’s) ability to deliver energy continuously. At this rate the body can’t keep up with the removal of lactic acid and this will eventually inhibit muscular contraction. Typically sprints training is the best form of training for speed. The various componenes in volve getting the heart rate up quickly enough to deliver energy and remove lactid acid, the ability of the lungs to get oxygen in to the system, the neuromuscular ability of muscles to fire at maximum rate in sequence, the storage of adequate amounts in the muscle for use. (ther conversion from glucose to ATP is too slow).
This is the ability for muscles to fire and antagonistic (opposite) muscles to fire to slow movement and change direction quickly. Training in starting and stopping and changing direction is best to develop this component in muscles.
Using Exercise to Overcoming Mental Health Issues Related to FIFO Working
Its well established there are strong links between the demands of FIFO work and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide. The aggravating factors being a macho culture where workers are reluctant to seek assistance or admit they have a problem due to redundancy risks, prison-like camp conditions and the supervisors being ill equipped to deal with workers issues. The end result for the FIFO workers and their families’ amounts to relationship stress, substance abuse, violence and or death\suicide.
Its clear there is a problem. The West Australian government Inquiry released today, sought to address the issue of FIFO suicide rates after nine FIFO workers took their life in one year. Although to be fair, this rate may be inline with suicide rates in the rest of Australia (These 9 reported deaths were onsite, there has been no investigation with offsite FIFO deaths). The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy which represents the mining industry during the inquiry says there is little data to support the suicide link. An interim report published by the West Australian Education and Health Standing Committee stated “..it is clear from the information reported…that the resource industry has an issue with mental health within its workforce..”
Could the answer be simple? In a survey commissioned by Lifeline in 2013 which studied nearly 950 FIFO workers, it recommended increasing self help seeking behaviour, developing targeted support, providing strategies to reduce the mental health stigma, exercise and eating healthily. Exercise and getting a good night sleep was listed by some in the findings, as a positive coping mechanisms. The WA Inquiry report recommended amongst other things * FIFO workers and their families should have access to an induction program to better prepare them for the lifestyle.
While the benefits of exercise and improved lifestyle seem abstract and hard to measure, they a no doubt evident. Exercise releases hormones called “Endorphins” and are named as such as they a naturally occurring opioids which block or reduce pain, ease feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depressions. It’s commonly cited by people after exercise that pain levels are reduced and they are left with a feeling of euphoria.
An investigation conducted by Joe Morgan of Fitness++ while researching ways of overcoming drug dependence through exercise, found that the body of work exactly fitted the problems related to FIFO workers, as exercise was a good way of improving or easing anxiety and depression symptoms. “The link occurred to me while reading about FIFO workers’ issues in the papers. If they have limited opportunity for exercise, or are making bad lifestyle choices then they are not unlike other people except the anxiety triggers are greater and may be amplified while isolated in camp. Regular exercise, improved nutrition and regular sleep help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms.”
The Reported was tabled today by the Western Australian Government and can be found here.