Stress and poor health in the workplace is a growing concern for employees and employers in Australia. However in recent years the world of corporate wellness has reached a turning point with employers re-evaluating their approach to employee wellness, engagement, retention, results and return on investment.
Research undertaken into the health of employees by Medibank Private in 2005 showed that healthy employees are nearly three times more productive than unhealthy employees, with poor employee health and absenteeism costing Australian business $7 billion annually.
Stress plays a major part in the poor health behaviours of Australian employees, with unhealthy Australian workers having poor stress management techniques as well as low energy levels and poor concentration. Another major consideration point in the research is the number of employees who claim to have experienced a medical condition – mainly back and neck pain.
However findings from workplace studies reviewed by Monash University suggest that companies that introduce workplace health programs enhance employee performance, creating a healthier work environment and aiding in employee retention.
This has prompted Power Plate in Australia to create the Power Plate® concept – a program designed to build corporate wellness, increase staff productivity, reduce absenteeism and aid recruitment and staff retention.
The concept is simple and affordable. Taking time out on the Power Plate machine a few times a day will improve circulation, better posture, boost concentration and enhance productivity. Introducing our quick, three minute series of stretches on the Power Plate machine provides employees with a break from their desk and a chance to revitalise themselves during the work day.
Power Plate equipment takes up a small amount of room and can be set up in any common area. Machines can be integrated into a pre-existing fitness centre if this has been already established. Alternatively the machines can be set up in breakout areas or common areas within each of the floors of the business. With some of our larger corporate clients, the Power Plate machines can also be installed within the offices of the majority of partners.
FitStop pilot, managed by Power Plate, was run at Sainsbury’s Coventry office. It encouraged employees to perform a 3 minute series of stretches on a PP training machine during their work day. Around 85 employees received a FS induction, with a random sampling of 41 staff completing a bi-monthly questionnaire during the six month pilot. Results include:
- 37% decrease in the number of employees who spent more than 7 hours per day sedentary
- 67% decrease in those that felt unable to cope with workloads due to stress
- 70% increase in the number of employees who did not take any sick days during the final 3 months of the trial
- Almost 90% said they noticed increased energy levels and productivity as a result of the pilot.
“Feedback from employees was fantastic, with staff using the machine daily to perform various stretches and for longer workouts before and after work. It proved to be a convenient way for staff to re-energise during the working day. A number of our staff reported an increase in productivity, reduction in stress and improved circulation as a result.” – Tracy Thornton, HR Service Implementation Manager at Sainsbury’s.
I love the Olympics. Every Games I think about how I won’t really watch any of it (being a generally non-sporty type of person) and yet it’s always me who ends up using the line of ‘Sorry – gotta dash – I have to get home in time to watch the swimming / tennis / gymnastics / water polo!’ My friends even stop asking me to come out with them during the Olympics – all I talk about is the Games.
Now I’ve taken it just that one step further.
This year I donned my tights, sneakers and terry-towelling headband and decided to work out like an Olympian for one month using the new Power Plate my7™ machine. You see, the my7 has a great feature where you can choose what kind of program you want to work out with. You can choose whether to Look Better, Feel Better, or Play Better. And for one month, I chose to Play Better.
Within the Play Better category there are a plethora of workouts specifically designed to strengthen, relax or stretch out certain muscle groups that are associated with certain sports or activities. So, for example, my first selection was a ‘Swimming’ program. You can find an example of it here (I posted it up so you could try it at home or at the gym on your own Power Plate machine!).
I became a dedicated Power Plate athlete – some days I was a swimmer, other times a tennis player, or a skier (not technically a Summer Olympics sport but seeing that it’s Winter in Australia I figured it was justified), or a marathon runner, or a cyclist, or a synchronised swimmer (lots of yoga moves in this one.)
Although I’m nowhere near Olympian status or fitness, after a month I’ve noticed an amazing difference in doing daily activities. Holding my friends’ children for long periods of time is a lot easier, and when I’m chasing the neighbour’s dog down the street I can run further before getting puffed out. My partner and I have started hiking at local parks and now the weather is warming up I don’t think I’ll mind a dip at the pool.
One month of Power Plate training fit for an athlete. Why not give it a try?
Yup, it’s called Olympic Fever and we’ve all got it. Despite the time difference between London and Australia (11pm games? Huh?) there is plenty of news coverage to keep us up-to-date with the wins and the losses of our Olympic teams.
One of the most popular sports for Aussies to tune in to is the swimming. We know the names of our Olympic hopefuls and now we can work out like an Olympic Swimmer with this great swimmer workout. Condition those arms for the 50m butterfly and prep those legs for the 100m breaststroke – we’ve got a great swimmer workout for you!
Most important. Stretch out those muscles and prepare them for the onslaught of Olympic gold. Suss out the competition and throw around a few taunts (hey, we’re playing pretend Olympics here, why not?)
Double Arm Lat Stretch
30 seconds / 30Hz / Low
Kneeling Shoulder Stretch (once per shoulder)
30 seconds / 30Hz / Low
This is your main Olympic event, right here. You’ve psyched yourself up, let’s go!
Push Up with Arm Raise
45 seconds / 35Hz / Low
4-Point Stance with Alternating Hand & Leg Raise
45 sec / 35Hz / Low
45 seconds / 30Hz / High
Dynamic Butterfly Pull (proMOTION)
45 seconds / 30Hz / High
45 sec / 35Hz / Low
Dynamic Bent Over Row (proMOTION)
45 seconds / 30Hz / High
Dynamic Lateral Side Raise (proMOTION)
45 seconds / 30Hz / High
Dynamic Tricep Kickback (proMOTION)
45 seconds / 30Hz / High
You’ve swum your race – it’s time to hear the roar of adoring fans, chat to the TV cameras, and prepare your neck to hold your Gold Medal. Before you jump on the podium, treat your body to this cool down.
Lower Back Massage
60 seconds / 40Hz / Low
Arm & Shoulder Repair (once per arm/shoulder)
60 seconds / 40Hz / Low
Now, wave to your fans and head back to the Olympic Village!
May has been the unofficial month of the Woman – with Mother’s Day making an appearance early in the month, we decided to dedicate May to women’s health and post-natal exercise. So who better to chat to than Michelle Wright from Mishfit, our local post-natal expert? We asked her a few questions about post-natal exercise and how new mums can get fit and return to their pre-baby figure after giving birth. Here’s what she had to say…
How did you get involved with women’s health & fitness?
I returned to exercise after the birth of my second child in order to get back into shape and to help deal with post-natal depression. Throw into the mix a divorce and no family in the country – exercise was my daily sanity break! I decided to change my career from a primary school teacher to something I enjoyed doing and became a personal trainer. During this whole time, I was noticing that the more I exercised the more my pelvic floor was struggling. I completed my training without learning how to change that and certainly wasn’t given any advice at the gym.
I went to a women’s health Physio and learnt that I was near prolapse and I needed to change how I exercised. Upon exploring this issue further, I learnt that one third of all women who have children were suffering (mostly in silence) just like me. I healed myself through exercise and found that once I had retrained both my body and my mind, I was able to go back to the full on exercise I enjoyed, only now I didn’t leak.
This motivated me to help educate other women, and with my teaching background, wrote an exercise/education program where mothers could bring their children and babies (one of the biggest obstacles for women trying to exercise) and thus mishfit mothers was born! I am very proud to say that 5 years on, I have helped many women heal their own bodies.
When is the best time to return to exercise after giving birth? Is this different to the time you should take before doing Power Plate training?
I believe you should start exercising the day you give birth… but the key is the type of exercise you do! When we train, we need to train to our weakest link. Post-natally, this is your pelvic floor, which is a muscle that has worked extremely hard over the time of your pregnancy (even if you had a caesarean). So you can start making a positive change to your body immediately after birth. With a new baby you are often sitting and feeding, so this is a perfect time to practice your pelvic floor contractions – both long and short holds. A lot of people don’t realise that strengthening your pelvic floor also helps flatten the lower abdominal area.
Depending on your recovery you could start introducing walks into your daily routine. This is not only a beautifully gentle way to start exercising, but brilliant for your mental health too and gives you a chance to get out of the house!
To return to more strenuous exercise or Power Plate training, I fully recommend either after your 6 or 8 week check up with your doctor. Make sure that if you have had a C-section you have the OK from your obstetrician before you begin strenuous exercise. I always recommend being guided by someone who knows how to train you safely and help guide you in contracting your pelvic floor correctly while you are exercising.
How many ways are there to skin a cat? We all find different exercises or exercise programs more enjoyable than others. The key is to do something that you love, however, experiment with new ways to exercise but always work from the inside out! Learning to contract your pelvic floor while performing exercises will not only strengthen you from within, but also help you obtain the flattening effect you are looking for. If you are unsure if you are contracting correctly, seek help from a women’s health Physio and ask to use the real time ultrasound.
One part of women’s health you are passionate about is curing incontinence. Why is this so important and how can women prevent or cure this embarrassing problem?
Living with incontinence is really debilitating – it can stop women from exercising and in more extreme cases, can stop women from even leaving the house. It affects not only your self-esteem but also sexual enjoyment. Incontinence affects around 4.8 million women in Australia alone and 50% are women under 50 years of age. This is not just an issue for the elderly – it is a real issue facing one third of post-natal women. Often sheer embarrassment of leaking stops women from actively seeking advice or help.
However, often incontinence can easily be fixed by a change of lifestyle and understanding of your body, including how to contract it correctly. Remember, the pelvic floor is a functional muscle, so we need to train it in this situation as well. Having a strong pelvic floor is essential to all facets of your life. My goal is to not only take the issue of incontinence out of the closet, but for the pelvic floor to be part of every women’s exercise program.
What are your top three tips for new mums who are thinking about getting into exercise after the birth of their children?
- Pelvic Floor First – if you are unsure about contracting correctly, usually a one-off visit to a women’s health physiotherapist (especially those who use Real Time Ultra sound) can do wonders to improving your technique. Also www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au has easy to read and free help and support.
- Try include exercise every day, this means not only practicing your pelvic floor contractions, but try and get out for a walk and once you have your 6 week check, do your homework and find an exercise option that you not only enjoy, but understands your changed physical needs. Exercise is a fantastic way to deal with or keep post-natal depression at bay.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t underestimate the job your body has just done and treat it with the kindness that it deserves. This will not only mean that you will make a full recovery, but also put you in the best possible position for your next pregnancy or menopause!
Mish is the founder and CEO of mishfit. mishfit mothers is a specialised personal training program designed for pregnant and post-natal women, educating women on how to exercise safely and where their babies and children are welcome. mishfit is truly a family friendly small business and is now available as a franchise.
Every year for Christmas I buy myself new workout gear. It’s inevitable that my New Year resolution will be to work out more, and with the new gear I’m always excited to get started. That’s why I was so interested to chat with Leo, Director of Brazilian active wear company Brasilfit. I asked him a few questions about the features of great workout gear and ways to get the most from your exercise attire.
Great workout clothing is a combination of great design, a good fit, and excellence in performance. You should make sure that the clothes that you buy are both durable and comfortable. The best way to achieve this is to find a brand of workout clothing that produces quality garments. I would also recommend that you consider the technical features you may need – for example, if you are a runner, try and find clothing specifically for running as they will be designed to improve performance and comfort. Similarly for cycling or aerobics – there are many options out there!
There are a lot of different technologies built into workout gear these days – thermodynamics, compression, memory, etc. Why is this?
Many industries, including the textile industry, are taking advantage of new technology available to create better products for their customers. The latest for our industry is the development of more ‘intelligent’ fabrics – those that are comfortable, flexible and particular. Because of the production of these fabrics, companies such as Brasilfit are using these most recent innovations when manufacturing active wear.
What are the benefits of buying workout clothing specifically for the type of exercise you are doing, such as yoga or running?
You can compare it to buying a new pair of sports shoes. If you tailor the style and make of workout gear to the exercise you are doing, you will find you get better performance, comfort and results!
For me, the best workout gear would be shorts, singlets and socks. These three pieces of clothing can always make a huge difference in your performance and enjoyment of exercise. Depending on what sport you are using them for, these three items can also help make your workout more comfortable by helping with temperature control and monitor the environment (indoor vs outdoor sports).
Leo is the Director of Brasilfit – active wear for fitness, leisure and lifestyle. Drawing on fashion, motivation and technology from thei bases in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, Brasilfit brings you active wear to suit every moment of your life. From a grinding workout, to a stroll in the park, to your ‘day to day’ and comfort wear, Brasilfit has a style to suit you.
Every garment from their always available basics range to their seasonal collections is tailored for style, durability and comfort using a blend of natural materials and advanced fabric innovation such as Supplex ®, Bodytech, Amni and Bamboo. These materials feature structural and thermodynamic properties to give you support, wick away moisture and keep you dry and cool all year round.
Best of all, Brasilfit is letting Power Plate fans in on an amazing offer. By entering ‘POWER PLATE’ at the checkout, you can enjoy 10% off all full priced brasilfit items! May we recommend the tights? They are incredible for your Power Plate workout!
Just visit www.brasilfit.com and browse their online store. Happy shopping!
We’d all love an extra hour in the day, but let’s be honest – it’s not possible. One way around it is to get the most out of your day with plenty of energy. Amanda Boyle shares her top tips on keeping your energy levels high and staying alert all day long.
1. Make sure you have a good breakfast
Breakfasts high in carbohydrates may be great for an energy hit, but to really sustain yourself throughout the morning you will need to add some protein to your morning meal. Try adding an egg (you can choose how you cook it!) or some baked beans to the mix to see you through. A good breakfast at the start of the day gives you energy to burn and will help improve your productivity and alertness.
2. Keep coffee to a minimum
We’ve all been there – it’s mid-morning and needing a quick wake-up call after a late night before. Monitor your coffee intake – although it is a great short-term pick-me-up, coffee can also make you crash. Because the caffeine in coffee is also a stimulant, you may find yourself getting stressed easier throughout the working day. Try to replace coffee with a cup of tea – black tea will still give you the caffeine hit but not to the degree of a full-strength coffee. Better still, replace your cappuccino with a green or peppermint tea.
3. Make your lunch matter
Lunch is really important when it comes to surviving the afternoon slump. If your lunch does not contain the right mix of low GI carbs, protein as well as salad and vegies, you can find yourself drifting off to sleep halfway through the afternoon. A favourite in the Power Plate office is tuna and brown rice with plenty of fresh vegies.
4. Recharge with a Power Plate workout
Your body is designed to move, so it’s obvious that sitting at a desk call day can be detrimental to your energy levels. Getting to the gym for a quick workout at lunchtime is great, but to really recharge the batteries we’d obviously recommend spending 15-20 minutes on a Power Plate machine. The vibration helps to stimulate your nervous system making you more productive and alert through the afternoon. It’s like recharging your batteries!
5. Get out into the sunlight
Sitting indoors all day is one of the worst things we can do for our energy levels – a lack of natural light makes things a bit, well, dark. Make it a priority to get out into the natural light for at least 20 minutes every day for a much needed Vitamin D and ultimately energising hit of fresh air and sunlight.
As human beings, one of the most important aspects of our lives is sleep. Whether we get it or not impacts heavily on our ability to function at our peak, or even to function at all! The recommended amount of sleep required by adults averages at around 8 hours, but how many of us really have time to sleep for that long? And how well are we actually sleeping when we do finally get to bed?
Power Plate Trainer and Manager of the Power Plate Studio at Bondi Junction, Cameron Russell, has put together the following sleep-inspired recommendations to give you the best chance of a peaceful night of Zzzzzs…
1. Adults need to have 8 to 10 hours sleep per night, and should aim to be in bed no later than 10pm. This is important because the body naturally wants to sleep at this time (and who are we to fight it?)
2. When we sleep, our body and mind reconstruct as they recover from the day just been and prepare for the day to come.
3. Make sure your sleeping environment is as healthy as possible. Use natural cotton bedding to allow your body to breathe while you sleep, and try to wear comfortable loose cotton sleepwear for the same reason. To keep fresh air circulating while you are sleeping, keep your window open at least a few inches.
4. Avoid eating 2 hours before going to sleep to ensure that your body’s energy can be used for rejuvenation and recovery instead of digestion. If you want to eat before bed, a piece of fruit is a good choice as it is quickly digested and can be quite cleansing.
5. If you want to nap during the day, the optimal time for this is between 2pm and 3pm. Try to make sure that your nap is no longer than 20-30 minutes – if it is, the body will go into a deeper sleep and it will be harder to come out of Sleep Inertia (feelings of grogginess and sleepiness that persist longer than 10-20 minutes after you wake up)
Power Plate, the leaders in vibration training, have teamed up with the best in professional skin care, Dermalogica, to show how skin health and fitness is not just a luxury for those with plenty of time but an achievable necessity for everyone!
The partnership between our two brands was a natural one. Dermalogica skincare is build on a philosophy of a no-nonsense approach to skincare on the belief that good skin is not about pampering but results-driven products. With over 25 years devoted to developing products, education and treatments, Dermalogica’s skin care range has been developed with the assistance of expert chemists who are dedicated to creating industry-first products containing revolutionary ingredients for maximum efficacy.
Quite simply, this means your skin can experience real treatments, real answers, real products, and real results! Both brands are serious, results-driven brands that under promise and over-deliver, every time.
Last month Power Plate Australia and Dermalogica teamed up to host the first Healthy Body, Health Skin seminar in Sydney. The event, hosted at the Dermalogica Head Office, gave attendees the chance to experience Power Plate equipment and take part in an interactive body therapy workshop, where they learnt how to improve and prevent cellulite and ageing directly from the skincare experts.
The evening also gave attendees the opportunity to experience a specialised Power Plate workout to complement beautiful skin – giving you beauty on the inside and out.
In light of the event, our education team at Power Plate Australia have put together a specialised Skin Saavy program which gives you a great Power Plate workout while focusing on toning, circulation, and banishing cellulite. You can download a copy of the program by visiting our website.
We’ve got some great photos of the event to show you, too. To stay in the loop about our events and VIP exclusives, please subscribe to our Vibe! Newsletter.
Summer is well on the way in the Southern Hemisphere, but what’s the best way to climb out of your winter habits? Fitness and wellbeing expert (and Power Plate Master Trainer) Amanda Boyle shares her top tips for springing into Summer!
1. Climb out of your winter hibernation! Start by doing a little bit of exercise and increase the amount you do every day to build up your fitness levels. Also try incorporating incidental exercise into your way – take the stairs, or get off the bus one stop earlier. The small things add up – but don’t let them replace proper exercise. It’s all about building up your exercise tolerance!
2. Start eating lighter meals with less starchy carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables – your body will thank you for it!
3. Buy a book that inspires you. I would recommend “Clean and Lean – Flat Tummy Fast” by James Duigan and “Accidently Overweight” by Dr Libby Weaver. These two books are really inspirational to be personally and help keep me on track with my own exercise and health.
4. Start keeping a food diary so you can be honest about what you’re eating. After a couple of days, step back and take a look at what you’re eating and play around with your options. Do you NEED that 3pm chocolate bar? Or could you replace in with a handful of almonds?
5. Try a detox to balance out your sugar levels and alkaline your body. There are some great detoxes available on the market which makes it really easy. It’s a great way to start the new, healthy summer you!
International Power Plate Master Trainer Amanda Boyle has over 15 years’experience in sports conditioning, fitness education, health club management,personal training and lifestyle coaching throughout Australia, Asia and the UK.Amanda has trained sporting teams such as the Tigers NRL team, Olympic swimmer Andrew Lauterstein, the Great Britain Ski Team and UK Premier LeagueFootball Clubs.
To continue my health kick and take it just that little bit further, I last week embarked on an Urban Remedy Juice Cleanse over three days. I’d heard about it from friends of friends who raved about how they felt after three days of juice and soups, and when Urban Remedy approached me to give it a whirl for three days I could hardly turn it down.
As someone who has to try everything once, this seemed like a good way to get my body back to zen mode and attempt to curb my sugar addiction.
I ordered it all really easily through the Urban Remedy website – a three day detox program at Level 1 (that’s the best level for us novice detoxers). The afternoon before my detox started I had a delivery of the juices I would need for the next three days. Six juices per day delivered in neat little cooler bags.
See? Detoxing is easy so far.
I start the first day of detox with a Power Plate session before work. I figure that if the detox goes pear-shaped and I feel woosy, at least I’ll have already exercised. Good girl.
The juices are yum. Like, really yum. I started the day with a Mixed Berry, Acai Berry, Orange and Banana smoothie, then moved onto a fat-busting Pineapple, Apple and Mint juice for morning tea.
So far I’ve experienced none of the potential detox symptoms listed by Urban Remedy (headache, nausea, diarrhea), and I’m really not hungry, which I thought I most certainly would be. However my brain is wandering slightly. It has taken me an entire morning to do something that would usually take me 30 minutes. The detox also tells you to drink one glass of water or herbal tea for each juice, which means I am running to the bathroom every half an hour to wee.
Lunch is a soup of broccoli, asparagus, leek, green peas, raw cashews, cumin and sea salt. I can’t help thinking how nicely it would go down with a bread roll, so I email the guys at Urban Remedy and ask for the recipe. I can make it myself and have my bread roll once I’ve done my detox.
Afternoon tea is a fresh juice concoction of apple, cucumber, celery, cos lettuce, silverbeet, parsley, and lemon. Afternoon tea time also brings slight delusion and a lot of giggles – I find everything in the office funny. Olivia eats yoghurt and all of a sudden I think yoghurt is hilarious. Amanda is talking about vibrations on the phone to a client and I feel that she’s never said anything funnier. My bosses are laughing at me. I laugh back.
I’m surprised that I’m still not hungry (and yes, I do think it’s funny), and after a bus trip home it’s time for dinner. Dinner is a metabolism booster juice that can be drunk hot or cold and contains lemon, water, cayenne pepper, and agave nectar. I choose to have this one cold. The microwave is just too hilarious to use.
There is even a dessert smoothie to finish off day one, and it’s a yum one. Raw cacao, raw cashews, brown rice milk, and agave nectar. You can also choose to have this one hot or cold, and I decide to brave the microwave’s hilarity and have it warm instead of my usual cup of tea. It’s delicious. I bask in its warm milkiness and plan to have a bath after I finish drinking it.
However I’m now falling asleep on the lounge. My energy seems to have deteriorated rapidly since the carnival ride that was my afternoon. I throw in the idea of a bath and head straight up to bed. Day one complete.
Day two brings with it a whole heap of surprises. I actually feel energised when I wake up, and I’m up and in the shower before my alarm even goes off. The detox juice menu is the same for each of the three days, and I’m happy to tuck into my berry smoothie once I’m at work.
I do a quick Power Plate session of only massage and stretching to get my lymphatic system in check to remove the toxins from my body. I bounce back from the 30 minutes of Power Plate massage with renewed vigour. I will be detoxed and fabulous!
Unfortunately with my day two lunchtime soup comes a headache. And boy, is it a doozy. I push through the afternoon but after dinner I can’t possibly go on without taking something for it. I eventually settle on some paracetamol and take myself to bed. I think I got through a page of my book before falling asleep.
Day three starts with a bit of apprehension – I don’t want a repeat of yesterday’s headache debacle but I’m determined not to give up on the final day of detox. It’s now Saturday, so in preparation for day 3 I’ve booked myself in for a facial and a massage and when I get there I fall asleep on the massage table. Oops.
But the headaches stay away and I feel quite energised for the entire day. I revisit my bath, and I even manage to stay awake later than 8pm (woo!). My skin and my eyes are clearer, I’m not feeling lethargic, and despite only having liquids for three days I’m still not hungry.
All in all, the detox was great. It was a really straight-forward program and everything was provided for me so it didn’t require any thought. The guys at Urban Remedy were really supportive – I got encouraging emails each day and then on Day 3 received an email outlining how to ease back into my normal life after detox without undoing all of the good work I’d just done.
Whether you’re a newbie to the world of detox like me or a seasoned detoxer, Urban Remedy have programs for every level of detoxperience. You can check out their range at www.urbanremedy.com.au – they deliver to a number of locations around Australia so be sure to check their website for more information.
As for me, I’m actually feeling great. I’d certainly recommend an Urban Remedy detox to anyone looking to kick-start a healthy lifestyle or give their body a new lease on life. Next time I think I’ll order enough for the whole office to do it – I’m sure there’ll be an awful lot of giggling on day one to get us through!
Until next time,