Latest news

Health Blog and Podcasts

Your health matters. The services that we offer target a variety of conditions from musculoskeletal disorders to cancer, neurological disorders and more. Here at our ‘Health Matters’ health blog, you’ll find a wealth of information including articles, case studies and health podcasts on a range of such conditions.

Preparing for surgery can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Whether you are facing a minor procedure or a major operation, it is natural to feel a range of emotions as you navigate the journey ahead. In this blog, we will explore strategies for preparing for surgery, as well as tips for managing the recovery process. 

How can I prepare for surgery? 

Regardless of the type of surgery you are about to undergo, the best course of action in the lead up is to follow the instructions provided by your doctor. This will outline when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure, and any medications to avoid.  

In addition to this, you may like to consider implementing a proactive exercise program that can help improve the rate and success of recovery post-surgery. This process is referred to as ‘prehabilitation’ or ‘prehab’.  

Studies have shown that by optimising a patient’s condition before surgery, prehabilitation can help reduce the risk of complications after surgery, reduce the recovery window, and improve overall quality of life. Prehab allows the patient’s muscles and joints to reach the best shape possible before surgery, kickstarting the rehabilitation process, speeding up recovery and stabilising pain.  Prehabilitation programs can vary depending on the client’s needs and the type of surgery they are having. Generally clients will be prescribed a tailored exercise program to improve their strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. This can help them better tolerate the stress of surgery and recover more quickly afterward. 

What will surgery involve? 

This question is tricky to answer. The procedure will vary significantly, depending on the type of surgery being performed, the part of the body involved, and the patient’s overall health. The duration of a surgical procedure can also vary depending on the complexity of the operation and the patient’s overall health. Some surgeries are relatively short and can be completed in a few hours – such as appendectomy, knee reconstruction, and a mastectomy. Other more complex surgeries can take several hours or even days to complete. 

Recovering from surgery 

It’s important to recognise that everyone responds differently to surgery. Two people who undergo the exact same procedure may have vastly different recovery processes out the other side.

This can be influenced by a variety of factors, including: 

Type of surgery: This is possibly the biggest determinant of the recovery window. Some surgeries may only require a few days of recovery, while others may require several weeks or even months. 

Age: Younger people tend to recover faster from surgery than older adults. This is because younger people tend to have stronger immune systems, better circulation, and fewer chronic health conditions. 

Overall health: Similar to the above, people who are in good overall health tend to recover more quickly from surgery than those who have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. 

Lifestyle factors: Factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise can slow down the recovery process. 

Quality of post-operative care: The quality of care that a patient receives after surgery can also affect their recovery window. Patients who receive appropriate pain management, wound care, and exercise therapy tend to recover more quickly than those who do not. 

Complications: The occurrence of complications such as infections, bleeding, or other medical issues can also prolong the recovery window. 

Mental health: The mental health of the patient can also play a role in the recovery window. Patients who are anxious, depressed, or stressed may take longer to recover than those who are in a positive and relaxed state of mind. 

Post-surgical rehabilitation 

At Atkins Health, we regularly work with clients in the lead up to, and following, a surgical procedure. Implementing a tailored prehabilitation and rehabilitation plan gives the body the absolute best chance at bouncing back.  

Our rehabilitation exercise plans incorporate a blend of movements tailored to address the area impacted by the surgery.  This will typically include a variation of the following exercise types.  

Range-of-motion exercises 

  • Designed to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. 
  • Example: knee bends and leg extensions may be prescribed to improve range of motion following knee surgery.  

Strengthening exercises 

  • Targetted to improve muscle strength and help patients regain functional abilities. 
  • Example: after shoulder surgery, exercises such as shoulder presses and bicep curls may be prescribed to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint. 

Balance exercises 

  • Commonly introduced to reduce the risk of falls by improving stability.  
  • Example: after hip surgery, the patient may be prescribed exercises such as standing on one leg and heel raises to improve their balance. 

Cardiovascular exercises 

  • These exercises can help improve cardiovascular health and endurance.  
  • Example: after heart surgery, the patient may be prescribed exercises such as walking, cycling, or swimming to improve their cardiovascular fitness. 

Working with an experienced exercise physiologist can provide education and guidance on proper exercise form and technique. We also monitor your progress and adjust your program as needed to ensure that you are making steady progress towards your goals. 

If you have an upcoming surgery, why not reach out to one of our exercise experts. We can guide you through a personalised exercise program to help you bounce back in your best shape possible.  


Falling pregnant is an exciting time, but it can also open the door to a wave of new worries. Your body is going through a lot of change, and suddenly there is a whole list of do’s and don’ts to inform your daily habits.  

Exercise in pregnancy is a confusing concept for many expectant mothers. Should you be exercising? What’s okay and what’s not? How does all this affect the baby?  

Once, pregnant women were ordered on bed rest and told not to lift a thing. Fortunately, we now know this to be unnecessary as research points toward the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. In fact, the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for pregnancy are the same as those for non-pregnant adults. 

However, that’s not to say that there won’t be certain precautions and modifications. Today we address your top questions on prenatal exercise.  

What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy? 

Staying active during pregnancy can be highly beneficial for both you and your baby. Not only is it a great way to stave off boredom or restlessness, but it can also be a rewarding outlet for managing your mental health.  

Benefits of exercising through pregnancy include: 

  • preparing the body for labour and recovery 
  • reducing back and pelvic pain 
  • lowering risk of incontinence 
  • bettering mental health, including a lower risk of postnatal depression 

As your body undergoes many changes throughout pregnancy, it can trigger other conditions. Prenatal exercise programs have been shown to reduce the risk of developing conditions such as: 

  • Gestational diabetes 
  • Gestational hypertension 
  • Preeclampsia 
  • Excessive weight gain 

The added bonus is that engaging in prenatal exercise classes can be a great way to meet new people going through a similar experience. Pregnancy, especially a first pregnancy, can be daunting and overwhelming. Exercise offers a chance to connect and destress while getting your body in the best possible state to welcome a new life.  

What type of exercise is best during pregnancy? 

The appropriate type of exercise for pregnant women will be different for every person. It will depend entirely on the exercise you were doing before falling pregnant. If you’re a gym goer 3-4 times a week, then this is perfectly fine to continue during pregnancy. If you’ve long been a runner, then keep at the tracks! 

Over time, you’ll modify the exercises you’re doing and the intensity that they’re being performed based on the physical condition you’re in. The same goes for cyclists, yoga lovers, swimmers – whatever your typical medium of exercise may be.  

If you’re someone who hasn’t exercised before, it is recommended that you start by doing some low intensity exercise, then slowly build up to the recommended amount. Prenatal pilates is a great place to start for pregnant women who haven’t exercised before. Prenatal pilates takes the gravity out of exercising, it’s lower impact, and uses a variation of movements. It incorporates strength training, aerobic training and stretching in a low impact environment.   

The best prenatal exercises will depend on your own preference. Some of our favourites are: 

In a nutshell, when it comes to exercising through pregnancy, stick to what you know. Now is not the time to take up a running career or powerlifting for the first time.  

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy 

With all that being said, there are some movements that are best avoided during pregnancy. Be mindful of any sort of jumping or jarring activities. During pregnancy, the body releases hormones that loosen and relax your muscles, joints and ligaments to help the body stretch. This can make the body slightly more prone to injury. Care should be taken when stretching too, ensuring you do not go further than necessary.  

Use common sense with activities that are going to be somewhat unsafe, in terms of fall risks and high impact. This might mean hanging up the snowboard or waterskis for a few months.  

The Australian guidelines recommend avoiding activities that involve: 

  • High risk of falling or collision 
  • Intense straining while lifting 
  • Significant changes in pressure (such as sky diving or scuba diving) 

How much should you exercise while pregnant? 

Now that we’ve covered the ‘what’, let’s explore the ‘how much’. It’s true that too much of a good thing can equal a bad thing. But the good news is that the limit is far higher than we once thought.  

The national guidelines suggest being active most days, preferably every day, to a weekly total of either: 

  • 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity 
  • 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity physical activity 
  • an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities. 

The approach to exercising while pregnant can be viewed similarly to the approach to giving up alcohol; Before trying to fall pregnant, many women will give up alcohol to put their body in the best shape to welcome a new life. The same goes for exercising. We recommend getting your body into the best physical state that you can manage at that time. This gives your body the best chance to fall pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy while mitigating as many risks as possible.

If you still feel unconfident in your exercise routine or simply want an expert hand to guide you along the way, we are here to help. 


Have you considered adding strength training to your program? Strength training works against resistance to improve the body’s ability to cope with everyday demands. It’s highly beneficial for clients of all ages and abilities – not just athletes! Here we explain why strength training is so popular among our exercise physiologists, and how it could benefit you.  

What is strength training? 

Strength training uses specific exercises that require the muscle to exert force against a form of resistance. This resistance can be anything from gravity to a barbell or resistance band. For this reason, strength training is often referred to as resistance training.  

These exercises are designed to increase the strength, endurance and size of the targeted muscles. As the muscles work to overcome the resistance applied to them, they are progressively strengthened.  

Strength training exercises are most effective when performed 2-3 times per week. We often incorporate various forms of strength training as part of our client’s holistic exercise plan.  

Using resistance to strengthen the body

Strength training comes in many different forms and doesn’t always involve lifting the heaviest weights possible. Body weight alone can actually offer sufficient resistance to strengthen the body.  

The right format of training will depend on the ability of the client and any underlying conditions or injuries we are working with. Common types of strength training include: 

Body Weight  

If you’ve ever attempted a pull up, you would be aware of the resistance your body weight provides when working against gravity. Body weight exercises are commonly used in strength training for their convenience and ability to target several muscle groups at once. Squats, push ups, chin ups and lunges are all common examples of body weight strength exercises.  

Resistance Bands 

We often use resistance bands in our physical therapy programs, but they’re also a great tool for strength training. Resistance bands make it easier to isolate and target specific muscles, compared to working with weights. They’re also easy to transport, so you can train anywhere, anytime.  

Weights (Free Weights/Machines) 

Weightlifting is most commonly associated with exercises for strength training. At Atkins, we work with a mix of free weights (dumbbells) and weight machines.


Many of our clients are surprised to learn that pilates is a highly effective form of strength training. Although low impact, the practice of pilates requires precise, controlled movements that effectively strengthen smaller muscles that are often overlooked. Pilates is particularly effective in strengthening the deep muscles of the back, abdomen and pelvic floor – known as the core muscles. Core strength is foundational to overall body health and well-being.

Increasing strength for improved lifestyle 

Strength training isn’t just about beefing up those muscles. As exercise physiologists, we’re big believers in the benefits of strength training programs that go beyond the surface. We’re talking about long term lifestyle enhancement that can transform an individual’s quality of life.  

Benefits of strength training include: 

  • Improved balance and coordination 
  • Improved performance of everyday tasks 
  • Improved confidence and self esteem 
  • Improved cognitive function 
  • Improved independence 
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depressions 
  • Helps prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis  
  • Decreased risk of injury 

Building strength helps when managing injury 

Strength training can be intimidating to newcomers. It’s a common misconception that resistance exercises are only for athletes or those working towards strict performance goals.  At Atkins, we prescribe strength training exercises for clients from 15 years old through to 90+!  

Improved strength helps make everyday activities easier, which may seem simple, but can make a huge difference for those managing injury or chronic health conditions.  Whether your goal is to pick up your grandkids, walk your daughter down the aisle, or gain more independence in daily life – strength training can help.  

Strength training is beneficial for: 

  • Cancer patients 
  • Surgery prehabilitation and rehabilitation 
  • Athletes 
  • Clients with chronic health conditions (Parkinson’s Disease, Arthritis, Osteoporosis) 

Exercise physiologists work in cancer clinics to allow people going into treatment to leave in the same condition, if not better, as when they entered treatment. We do so by using strength training to maintain or improve physical capacity so clients may leave the program better for it. 

Wondering if strength training is right for you? Why not arrange a personal consultation with one of our expert EPs to discuss how you can incorporate strength training into your lifestyle? 


Sport is a great way for young children to stay active, healthy, and entertained, but did you know that sport has also been linked to improving engagement and performance at school? Physical activity has been shown to improve brain activity, which plays a pivotal role in a child’s development.  

Not only is sport a fun and cost-effective way for children to develop physical, social, and emotional skills – but it can also help students build confidence, develop leadership skills, and improve their academic performance.  We explore how sport is linked to childhood development, and how it could benefit your child to reach their full potential.   

Developing skills for success in school and life 

Executive functioning skills are a set of cognitive abilities that inform our behaviour and thought processes. They begin to develop gradually from childhood and continue right through to adulthood. Executive functioning skills allow us to focus attention, plan and prioritise tasks, remember instructions and follow through on them, regulate emotions, and inhibit impulses.  These skills are essential for academic and personal success, and research has shown that regular exercise can enhance executive functioning skills. 

The link between sport and executive functioning skills 

We know that sport is great for physical development, but understanding its role in mental development is a little more complex.  At a top level, exercise has been proven to improve brain function and enhance the growth of brain cells. When we exercise, the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and serotonin, increase. These chemicals play a critical role in executive functioning skills, helping to regulate attention, motivation, and mood. 

Regular exercise has also been linked to improved cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and decision-making. This helps children plan and organise their activities, prioritise tasks, and manage time effectively. Sport is a great way to get children involved in exercise while simultaneously fuelling their brain with everything it needs to develop and thrive. 

When is the best time to get involved? 

Executive functioning skills develop from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, with the most rapid rate of development occurring in childhood and adolescence. These skills begin in children without the development of foundational executive functioning skills such as impulse control, attention, and working memory.  The rate of development is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to stress, nutrition, and sleep.  

Exercise programs introduced between the ages of 5 – 14 years have shown to be particularly beneficial for developing key executive functioning skills. Specialised programs can help create a supportive and structured environment for children to practise, while modelling positive behaviours through exercise. 

Atkins’ My Strong Kids Program 

My Strong Kids is Atkins Heath’s specialised exercise program. It uses play and games that kids love to help improve executive functioning skills. Tailored to suit children up to Years 7 & 8, the program is ideal for all kids, including those with learning and physical difficulties.  

Our team of expert exercise physiologists is experienced in working with children with: 

  • ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 
  • Spina Bifida 
  • Cerebral Palsy 

Our programs are designed to offer a fun, exciting environment for kids to develop key life skills. Each session will typically begin with a warm-up before moving into a strength program specifically designed to help develop:

  • Impulse control 
  • Emotion control 
  • Organisation 
  • Working memory 
  • Task initiation 
  • Flexible thinking 
  • Self-monitoring  
  • Planning 

We conduct regular comprehensive assessments of special tests related to youth development. This helps us understand individual needs and monitor each student’s unique progress. 

Get in touch to find out how exercise can help unlock your child’s full potential.


Our Varsity Lakes clinic is home to one of our most extensive service offerings. Located just 500m from Bond University, our clinic offers exercise physiology services, personal training, home visit programs and an extensive range of specialised group classes. From our handy location within Temple Gym, we conduct a range of 1-on-1 and group sessions all tailored to the varying needs of our growing client base.  

From 8 through to 108 – we work with clients of all ages to achieve exercise and well-being goals of all degrees. Find out more about our full suite of services to find your perfect fit below.  

Our Location and Facilities  

Our clinic is located within Varsity Lakes’ Temple Gym, providing us with direct access to state-of-the-art exercise facilities. Temple Gym is quieter than most commercial gyms, offering clients ultimate privacy and comfort during their sessions. It is also fully air conditioned, which is beneficial for our clients with multiple sclerosis that may struggle to regulate their temperature.  

Services We Offer 

Each of our services is designed to integrate as an end-to-end exercise support offering. Whether you’re an up-and-coming sports star, recovering from an injury, or seeking NDIS funded programs – Atkins Health Varsity Lakes can help.  

We often see clients through various stages of their health journey. Our diverse team of professionals allows for efficient and personalised cross-referrals. A client who comes to us for injury rehabilitation with our exercise physiologists may choose to transition into our personal training pathway at the conclusion of the rehab.  

Personal Training (PT) 

Atkins Health has recently welcomed the addition of a qualified personal trainer into our Varsity Lakes team.  

Our personal training and exercise physiology teams will work hand in hand to devise a program that is effective, personalised and expertly backed by both disciplines.  

Our personal training is great for people of all fitness levels. Below are a few of the main reasons our clients have sought personal training: 

  • Accountability: Simply having someone that expects you to show up is a strong motivator  
  • Personalised programming: Receive a fitness program tailored to your specific goals, needs, and abilities. It can also be adjusted based on your progress and feedback. 
  • Proper form and technique: Having an expert overseeing your technique can promote efficiency while reducing the risk of injury  
  • Variety and challenge: Spice things up with an evolving routine and learn new exercises from an expert who is across the latest and greatest exercises  
  • Goal setting and tracking:  Stay focused and motivated with a structured goal map and celebrate your successes along the way. 
  • Education and guidance: Receive complementary education on proper nutrition and lifestyle habits to support your fitness goals. 

Home Care 

We specialise in providing home care services for clients with neurological or accessibility issues, as well as those on Lifetime Care Packages or funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We can attend homes anywhere in the Gold Coast region – from Tweed Heads to Beenleigh and as far inland as Beaudesert.  

Our home care services focus on the basics of exercise and physical activity, such as bodyweight exercises, or band exercises. We work with you to improve your ability to perform the activities of daily living, so that you can enjoy a better quality of life. Our team of exercise physiologists will create a personalised program that meets your specific needs and goals. 

One of the advantages of our home care services is accessibility. We understand that some clients may find it difficult to access transport or transfer into a gym, which can be a major obstacle to achieving their health and fitness goals. By bringing our services to your home, we take that problem out of the equation and make it easier for you to get the care you need. 

This can also be a great option for respite care for loved ones who are often the primary caretakers for our clients. Our home visits provide caregivers with an opportunity to take a break from their responsibilities, while their loved one participates in an activity that offers cognitive, physical, and social advantages. Our home care visits can also provide a helpful reprieve from loneliness and isolation that patients can often struggle with.  

In addition, we also offer a combination of clinic and home care sessions. This is particularly useful for clients who may not want to come to the clinic too often, but still want the benefits of working with our exercise physiologists.

Classes & Programs 

Our classes adopt a holistic approach to managing neurological conditions. Our certified trainers incorporate exercise, social interaction and cognitive stimulation into our classes to provide clients with the tools needed to manage their condition effectively.  

We prioritise community and strive to create a welcoming environment for everyone. It’s a unique opportunity for patients to take control of their health and wellbeing while connecting with others that can understand and empathise with their experiences. 

Our classes are individually tailored to suit each client’s own abilities and to specifically target certain health conditions.  

Our Varsity Lakes group program includes the following classes: 

  • Squad Atkins – a broad class offering that seeks to improve general fitness, strength and mobility, and can be specifically tailored to target any injuries or ailments 
  • Bone Society – specifically designed to improve bone density and strength, which in turn reduces the risk of falls. Targeting Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.  
  • Mission MS – specifically designed to enrich the lives of those impacted by Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Mission MS combines the benefits of balance, coordination, strength and endurance-based exercises to improve each participant’s ability to execute daily functions. 
  • PD Revolution – designed for participants suffering from varying degrees of Parkinson Disease. The program aims to improve gait, reduce freezing episodes, improve balance, improve fine motor skills, delay the need to increase drug treatment and ultimately regain confidence and independence.  
  • Athletic program – specialised for young athletes looking to improve performance and establish effective long-term training habits and techniques. Is tailored to specific sports and events.  
  • Active Alzheimer’s – Our program focuses on a proactive approach in delaying the need to go into assisted care. The program uses a blend of physical and cognitive activities that vary from week to week.  

1-on-1 Exercise Physiology Sessions 

Our 1-on-1 exercise physiology (EP) services provide personalised and evidence-based exercise programs tailored to your individual needs, goals, and abilities. Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness, manage a chronic condition, enhance sports performance or recover from an injury, working with an exercise physiologist can help you achieve your goals.  

During your initial consultation at our Varsity Lakes clinic, one of our exercise physiologists will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your health history, fitness level, and any specific needs or concerns you may have. Based on this assessment, we’ll devise a customised exercise plan which we will work with you on in the Temple Gym facilities.  

Your exercise program may include a combination of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises, as well as other specialised exercises or mobility routines.  

Working with a 1-on-1 exercise physiologist can help you improve your overall health and fitness, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and improve your quality of life.

Who We can Help 

We are fortunate to work with clients young and old at our Varsity Lakes clinic. We regularly work with clients for the following reasons: 

  • Musculoskeletal disease or dysfunction (including tendinitis, muscle strain, muscle weakness, deterioration) 
  • Bone Health (including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, surgical pre/rehabilitation) 
  • Cancer 
  • Women’s health issues (including osteoporosis/osteopenia, pelvic floor, endometriosis) 
  • Neurological disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis) 
  • Mental health conditions (including depression) 
  • Pain relief 
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Pulmonary disease (including asthma, COPD) 
  • Learning difficulties 
  • Cognitive disorders 
  • Weight control 
  • Diabetes 
  • Metabolic disorder 

If you’re interested in joining our Varsity Lakes community, pop on by or give us a call to find out more. 


Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be an extremely emotional experience. The individual may feel grief, loss, anger, shock, fear, and even disbelief. In other instances, it can be a source of relief – an answer and explanation for what was wrong.  

Although it’s never easy news to receive, there are immediate pathways to help manage a new diagnosis. Exercise is an effective tool for dementia clients. It not only offers physical and cognitive benefits, but it also provides a supportive community of individuals going through a similar experience. Today we explore the benefits of physical therapy for dementia patients.  

The benefit of exercise for dementia 

Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects behaviour, thinking memory, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Although there is currently no cure for dementia, exercise can help to slow down its progression and improve the quality of life for those affected by the disease.  

Physical benefits 

As the disease progresses, many individuals with dementia experience a decline in physical abilities such as balance, coordination, and mobility. Exercise has been shown to help improve these physical abilities, reducing the risk of falls and improving the ability to perform everyday tasks. 

 On top of this, regular physical activity has been shown to provide the following physical benefits: 

  • Improve cardiovascular health 
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes 
  • Help to maintain a healthy weight 

Cognitive benefits 

Perhaps even more significant than the physical benefits that exercise offers, are the cognitive benefits. Regular physical therapy increases blood flow to the brain, which can help to improve memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities.  

Exercise has also been proven to stimulate the production of chemicals in the brain which are responsible for improving mood, reducing stress, and increasing feelings of well-being. This can lead to increased self-esteem, confidence and independence.  

Social benefits 

Joining a physical therapy program specifically for individuals with dementia is a great way to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Exercising among a group of individuals with shared fears and frustrations can be cathartic and build a sense of community among the group.  

Group physical therapy for dementia can also provide a community for carers and family members to connect. Carers have an important, yet often challenging, role in the lives of their loved one. Sharing experiences with others in the same position can be an equally rewarding practice for both the individual with dementia, and their inner circle.  

 In a nutshell – an exercise program is about far more than improving the body’s capacity to move. It’s about fostering a sense of independence and purpose through dynamic, creative, and fun activities – all within a supportive community.  

Family respite 

Caring for someone with dementia can be highly rewarding. It can also be exhausting and at times and overwhelming. It is important for carers to take time to care for their own wellbeing. Taking a break from your day-to-day caring is referred to as ‘respite’. It’s an opportunity to recharge, rest, and enjoy some independent time to attend to your own business.  

Benefits of respite care for caregivers include: 

  • Allows time to see to personal needs 
  • Relieve pressure and stress 
  • Reduce isolation and loneliness  
  • Helps avoid burnout 

 An exercise program is a common avenue for respite care. It offers carers a chance to step away from their duties while their loved one engages in an activity that provides mental, physical and social benefits. ‘Active Alzheimer’s’ is Atkins Health’s dedicated Dementia Care Program. It offers a weekly 2-hour window for clients to enjoy exercise under the guidance of professional exercise physiologists (EPs) and geriatricians.  

Atkins Alzheimer’s exercise program 

Atkin’s Active Alzheimer’s has been designed for newly diagnosed individuals with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. It’s the only community program of its kind and aims to support both clients and their families.  

 Who is the Active Alzheimer’s for: 

  • Newly diagnosed individuals with Alzheimer’s or Dementia 
  • Individuals looking to maintain their independence at home  
  • Individuals seeking half-day respite care while simultaneously receiving therapy 

The program will offer a blend of physical and cognitive activities that vary from week to week. Every exercise is carried out under the expert guidance of our experienced EPs. It ensures your loved one is left in safe, caring and capable hands of a team with a comprehensive understanding of dementia. We know how to identify and minimise fall risks while helping individuals regain a sense of independence.  

The results 

As a progressive condition, dementia can be debilitating and take a lot of a client’s self-worth and confidence away. Guiding our clients through exercises that they’re confident in can help improve that feeling of self-worth and independence.  

One of my personal highlights from the program so far was a client who was eventually able to get out of the shower independently. To have helped her get that little bit of dignity back is way better than any type of metric or testing outcome – it was such an awesome result for her.  

Find out more about our Active Alzheimer’s program and how you and your loved one could benefit by filling out the form below or giving us a call. 


Exercise – it’s like a superpower for our bodies, providing countless benefits for physical and mental health. While weight loss is often seen as the ultimate goal of exercise, it’s important to realise that most of us don’t need to lose weight to reap the endless rewards of movement. 

In fact, many of us who engage in regular exercise do so for reasons that far exceed weight loss. This includes stress relief, improved mood, social interaction, improved cognition, or simply for the enjoyment of movement. 

However, for those who are dealing with weight-related health issues such as obesity, diabetes, or heart disease, weight loss can be an important goal for improving overall health and reducing disease risk. In this blog, we’ll explore the role exercise physiology has in weight loss – particularly for those who may need to lose weight to manage health conditions. 

Weight does not equal health  

Before we go any further, it’s important to realise that weight does not equal health. Using your body weight as the key metric for your overall health and well-being is an outdated and inaccurate measure. There is a growing body of research that suggests weight is not the sole determinant of health, and that people of all body sizes can be healthy.  

That’s not to say that exercise doesn’t play a major role in leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercise offers so many benefits that far outweigh the results on the scales. However, exercising with the main objective of weight loss is rarely necessary or sustainable.  

In fact, a study by the Journal of Health Psychology found that participants who exercised for weight loss were less likely to stick with their exercise program than those who exercised for reasons such as enjoyment, stress relief, or improved health.  

A separate study suggested that those who focused on achieving specific exercise-related goals, such as running a 5K or lifting a certain amount of weight, were more successful in sticking with their exercise program. 

That being said, weight loss can still be a powerful motivator for some people, particularly those who are dealing with weight-related health issues. It’s important for each individual to find their own motivation for exercise, whether it’s improving overall health, reducing stress, or achieving specific fitness goals. 

With so many reasons to get moving, we encourage our clients to dig a little deeper to find their ‘why’?  

Exercise for weight loss 

As we touched on above, there are some cases when losing weight may be necessary to manage certain health conditions. Carrying excess weight can put a strain on many of the body’s systems, including the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the musculoskeletal system. There are several health conditions that can be linked to excess weight, and weight loss may be an appropriate goal for managing these conditions.

These include: 

  • Type 2 diabetes: Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and weight loss can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. 
  • Cardiovascular disease: Obesity is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Weight loss can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of these conditions. 
  • Joint pain: Carrying excess weight can put extra stress on the joints, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis. Weight loss can help reduce joint pain and improve mobility. 

How exercise physiology can help with weight loss 

When it comes to weight loss, exercise physiology plays a vital role in helping clients understand the mechanisms by which exercise can help them lose weight.  

At Akins Health, our team specialises in devising exercise programs that help manage conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and joint pain. We work closely with our clients to structure a program that not only promotes weight loss but also improves strength, endurance, mobility and functionality – depending on the client’s unique needs and goals.   

Through our programming, we incorporate a range of different exercises for weight loss that can be effective for managing overall health. Generally, this includes a blend of cardiovascular training, and strength training. Often our clients may be new to exercise. We find pilates is one of the best exercises for weight loss – particularly for those starting out on their exercise journey. 

Pilates emphasises the use of the smaller muscles in the body to support its structure. It is suitable for people of all ages, genders, abilities, and fitness levels, including beginners and elite athletes, because of its low impact nature. Pilates can also be customised for special needs, such as treating clinical conditions. With its focus on the connection between the mind and body and its ability to offer a variety of benefits to individuals at different levels of fitness, Pilates is a highly effective form of exercise. 

In most cases, an exercise plan for weight loss is the result of extensive collaboration between our exercise physiologists and personal trainers. The expertise of exercise physiologists can help personal trainers design workout programs that are tailored to the unique needs and goals of each individual, and how to modify exercise programs for individuals with health issues.  

If you’re interested in incorporating exercise into your weight management plan or improving your overall health and wellness, our team of exercise physiologists and personal trainers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can work together to help you unlock the joy of movement.  


Pelvic floor therapy is a technical term for an exercise program that aims to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Weakness in the pelvic floor can often be to blame for symptoms such as incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects almost 38% of Australian women and up to 10% of Australian men. 

As one of Atkins’ exercise physiologists specialising in women’s health, I regularly work with patients to manage symptoms associated with weak pelvic floors.  In today’s blog I’ll take you through what exactly the pelvic floor is, why it’s so important, and how you can introduce pelvic floor training into your daily routine.  

What is your pelvic floor? 

Your pelvic floor is like a hammock of muscles that sit between your pubic bone and your tailbone. The pelvic floor has several roles. It controls your urinary and bowel movements, and it’s essential for sexual function. Think of it as a support system for your bladder, your bowel and your uterus. To function efficiently, this hammock of muscles need to be able to contract, lift and hold, as well as relax.  

What is pelvic floor therapy? 

Pelvic floor therapy is a type of exercise therapy used in the rehabilitation and prehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles. In a nutshell, it’s a collection of exercises we use to either prevent injury or dysfunction from occurring or relieve the symptoms associated with dysfunction. The main goal is to improve pelvic floor function through exercises, lifestyle modifications, and education. 

What causes pelvic floor muscle weakness 

Anyone can experience pelvic floor dysfunction – regardless of age, gender or genetics. However, certain groups are more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunction. Conditions or events that may trigger a change in the pelvic floor include: 

  • Stress urinary incontinence 
  • Prolapse 
  • Hormone changes (such as menopause) 
  • Childbirth – particularly from prolonged labour 
  • Obesity 
  • Certain surgeries 
  • Heavy lifting 

What are the benefits of pelvic floor therapy? 

Training the muscles of the pelvic floor can be beneficial in both a preventative and a restorative sense. A strong pelvic floor can help increase the resilience of the muscles following pelvic surgery. It can also reduce the risk of developing incontinence or prolapse.  

On the flip side, pelvic floor exercise therapy can help manage symptoms associated with the following: 

  • Urinary incontinence  
  • Stool Leakage 
  • Stool urgency and frequency 
  • Pelvic organ prolapse 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Pregnancy pain 
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) 
  • Endometriosis 

Who is pelvic floor physical therapy for? 

Many of us neglect our pelvic floor muscles until something goes wrong – even I am guilty of this. But proactively training and strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor is something people of all ages can benefit from.  

I work with young gymnasts who are prone to stress incontinence, through to postmenopausal women who are adapting to the changes in their bodies. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be an effective treatment for: 

  • Patients who have recently undergone abdominal, prostate, or pelvic surgery 
  • Athletes who participate in sports that are prone to causing stress incontinence (gymnastics, athletics, dancing) 
  • Individuals with an overactive pelvic floor 
  • Post-menopausal women 
  • Prenatal and postpartum mothers 

Men can benefit from pelvic floor therapy as well as women. The treatment is commonly misconceived as a women-only exercise. However, we often use pelvic floor training as a rehabilitation treatment plan following prostate cancer surgery.  

How to strengthen the pelvic floor 

The pelvic floor is actually considered part of your ‘core’. Many of us think of the core as another term for the abdominals. The core actually extends from the diaphragm to the pelvis and incorporates the abdominals, as well as the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. This is why many pelvic floor exercises may look and feel similar to exercises we typically associate with core strengthening.  

It can be difficult to isolate and voluntarily contract and relax the pelvic floor at first. This movement is often referred to as a ‘kegel’ exercise. These exercises can be performed daily. Try the steps below to practice contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor: 

  1. Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat. Take a gentle inhale breath for 5 seconds, breathing into your tummy, and gently exhale for 5 seconds.
  2. Think of your pelvic floor like an elevator, with closing doors, a G floor, and1st floor.
  3. Start your pelvic floor contraction by ‘closing the elevator doors’ like you are trying to stop the flow of urine.
  4. Then, gently lift and contract the pelvic floor elevator up to the 1st floor.
  5. Now relax your pelvic floor, by letting it down back to the G floor, and allowing the doors to open.
  6. Repeat this up to ten times.  

While Kegels are a highly effective form of physical therapy exercises for the pelvic floor, it’s important to recognise that they aren’t a one-trick fix. A pelvic floor strengthening plan should incorporate exercises that work the surrounding muscles. It’s important to not only strengthen the pelvic floor, but the muscles around it too. This includes the transverse abdominals, hip adductors and abductors, and glutes. These exercises can be incorporated as part of a strength training program, and can be performed up to three times per week.  

Common exercises to strengthen these muscles, and in turn – the pelvic floor, include: 

  • Glute bridges 
  • Sit-to-stands 
  • Clamshells 
  • Bird dogs 
  • Dead bugs 

Pelvic floor exercises for men and women are the same, despite the fact that they may be in response to different conditions. 

An exercise physiologist can help prescribe you a personalised pelvic floor therapy plan, tailored to your needs. If you’re seeking long-term relief from pelvic floor troubles, the solution is just a consult away.  

Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.