Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – March 2020

March 1, 2020















Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – September 2019

September 13, 2019














September 10, 2019

The link between physical activity and psychological health is clear but also misunderstood.

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MARGO WHITE: What exactly is stress and anxiety?

AMANDA REBAR: It depends on who you talk to. The way we picture it, stress and anxiety are both an emotional and physical state. It’s that feeling of activation, of having lots of energy, but a negative feeling is tied to that.

Some people tease stress and anxiety apart further, distinguishing between stress, which generally has a source and is a consequence of something happening in your life, and anxiety, which doesn’t necessarily have a cause – you just wake up feeling anxious, even though you can’t pinpoint why.

But overall the evidence is that physical activity reduces stress and anxiety, both psychologically – that feeling of negativity – as well as physiologically – that activated, energetic feeling, the gut feeling in your body.

In a way we’ve always known that – that if you’re stressed, you might go for a good walk.

In a sense you’re right. It’s a solution people have always had to reduce that overly activated feeling – to “burn some energy”. There are some theories that the feeling of stress, that feeling of activation can, as long as it’s not too negative, help motivate you. So that activated feeling motivates you to move, but people often want to burn off that feeling.

There are myriad theories about the physiological mechanisms that explain why exercise reduces stress and anxiety. If you google “exercise and stress” you’ll find, for instance, articles about how exercise releases endorphins. But that’s not true, is it?

The endorphin hypothesis has pretty much been debunked as an explanation for the mental health benefits of physical activity. But that’s not to say there aren’t neurotransmitter effects underlying the beneficial effects of exercise.

Research is pointing to a number of physiological explanations, such as how exercise promotes neurogenesis, or how exercise helps regulate what’s called the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, the interaction of hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands in our body, which controls reactions to stress.

Are you convinced?

The annoying part of this is that there are so many unanswered questions. It’s likely that the anxiety-reducing benefits of exercise are due to several mechanisms manifesting at a neurophysiological level – on a combination of neurotransmitters in the brain at a physiological level, but also psychological mechanisms.

What sort of psychological mechanisms?

Such as exercise distracting you from whatever is worrying you, from ruminating on what might or might not happen. So just pulling yourself away from that and focusing on other things can mediate stress and anxiety.

But it depends on the type of exercise. Social connections and support helps reduce stress and anxiety, and exercise is often done with other people. And the psychological benefits you get from hanging out with friends can be magnified if it’s combined with some kind of physical activity. So if you go on a walk with friends, that’s going to have more of an effect on anxiety and stress than sitting down and having a coffee with them.

When health researchers talk about the cognitive and psychological benefits of exercise, they tend to emphasize the importance of cardiovascular exercise, of getting the blood pumping and the heart rate going …

That’s the fitness hypothesis, which says that the mental health benefits of exercise are based on changes in fitness, and that you have to reach a certain physiological change for mental health benefits to occur. But that’s just not the case. You don’t have to get to a certain level of fitness to get either the immediate or the long-term benefits of exercise.

There are definitely benefits to becoming fitter, both physical and mental, but there is a risk of underselling the benefits of low intensity activity. Knowing that if you just go for a walk, you’re going to feel better, is much less daunting.

There’s a huge body of evidence for the benefits of walking, so it’s important that we don’t undersell that. Any exercise is better than none, especially if you’re looking for quick relief; the benefits are quite quick when you get active, even if you’re just walking.

What about the idea that by physically stressing your body, it will make both body and mind more resilient?

New evidence is suggesting that exercise helps you manage stress, not only because your body is better able to cope with that activated feeling, at a physiological level, but also at a psychological level.

The way you’re thinking and feeling affects your physical states; you can feel it in your stomach, and head, you’re heart rate. So, if you have somatic symptoms – like your heart is racing fast – and you’re always associating that with anxiety or stress, it can make you more stressed and anxious. Whereas if you’re used to it in a more positive way – your heart is racing because you’re doing physical activity and it’s fun – you may learn to associate that feeling with something that feels rather good. So some of the somatic symptoms of stress won’t stress you out so much.

Presumably there are behavioral factors involved too? If your waistline starts shrinking, your strength and stamina increases, you’re might start to feel more in control of your body, and possibly your life.

That feeling of being in control has huge benefits. But this isn’t because your waistline is reducing or your strength is increasing, rather the fact that you are achieving your behavioral goals – that you’re getting out walking every day, or enjoying friends in an active environment. That’s a feeling we call “perceived control”. You remember that you can control the way you think and what you do.

So the more you engage in activity day after day, the more in control of your behavior you feel, and that generalizes beyond exercise, and make you feel more in control of the rest of your life.

The beauty of exercise and motivation is that it’s cyclical. If you get up and do it, you’re going to be motivated to do it for longer and do it again. And the more you do it, the easier it will be to do, and the more benefits you’ll get from it.

Your own research is about motivation – how to motivate people to exercise. How do you motivate people who aren’t particularly motivated to exercise?

I’m really against giving a recommended amount. More is better than what you’re doing now, and any is better than none. And do what you enjoy, something that you’ll look forward to doing.

There are numerous campaigns telling people that exercise is medicine, that it will help them from developing mental or physical health disorders, but that isn’t getting people off the couch. It has got to be something you want to do, something that is easy to do and becomes second nature over time.

You don’t want to treat exercise as something that has to be done, something you have to cram into an already busy day. That’s only going to make you feel busier and more stressed. You want to do it in a way that makes your life more efficient, such as walking instead of driving, or have a meeting while you’re walking.

Amanda Rebar

Amanda Rebar is a health psychology researcher at the School of Health, Medical, and Applied Sciences at Central Queensland University, having completed her PhD in Kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University.

Coffs Coast Health Club eNews August 2019

August 11, 2019


Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – June 2019

June 2, 2019






fitness passport

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Coffs Coast Health Club – April 2019 eNews

April 2, 2019















How to do a daily digital detox

March 24, 2019

Australian’s spend more time scrolling than sleeping. Here’s how to take time to recharge yourself.

Do you ever feel as if life is just speeding by and you’re running from one thing to the next, without time to pause and regroup?

You’re not alone. Despite all the technology we have in our lives that in some ways saves us time, it often seems that we are more stressed and time poor than ever before.

This is not ‘news’. A 2014 Medibank study found that Australians are spending an average of nine hours a day looking at computers, TVs, smartphones and tablets. That’s more time than we’re spending sleeping.

Eye strain headaches, posture issues, fatigue at work, lack of sleep and lack of physical activity are just a few possible side effects of our busy, technology-focused lives. We all know it would be good for us cut back on the time we spend on our digital devices. And yet, so many of us are not taking the steps we need to slow down and reboot ourselves each day.

Wellbeing isn’t just about exercise and diet. A big part of wellness is mindset and mental clarity. To achieve this, it’s important to get back to basics with three core pillars of vitality: fresh air, fresh food and a fresh perspective.

Taking regular breaks away from your laptop, phone, tablet and TV can help you to reconnect with your surroundings, create a pause of mental clarity and creativity, and give you a chance to notice your posture and your breathing.

“Australians are spending an average of nine hours a day looking at screens – more time than we’re spending sleeping.”

Here are some tips for giving yourself a daily reboot:

During the day

  • Place a sticky note on your computer that says “Take a nano break” and make a point of getting up and walking away from your computer for a few minutes. Go talk to a colleague personally rather than emailing across the room!
  • Stay off Facebook and social media in the morning on the way to work. Listen to music or a podcast or read a book instead.
  • Take a fresh air break at lunchtime, rather than eating lunch with your phone or iPad in front of you. Look up, look around.
  • Head out for a quick break around the office, take the dog for a walk, or do something active at the weekend. Use time away from work as time for you to recharge your mental and physical batteries.

At night

  • Avoid TV, illuminated alarm clocks and other digital stimuli in the bedroom.
  • Read a book before you go to sleep, rather than watching television or working late on the computer.
  • Meditate and concentrate on breathing. Channel your thoughts from worry to a place of peace.
  • Create a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule.
  • Create a restful environment that is dark, cool and comfortable. Play restful music to help you relax.
  • Keep a diary of things that are on your mind, even if it’s just a list of things to do for the next day. Get them out of your head and onto paper.

Think of a digital detox as recharging your own batteries. If we do not fully recharge our batteries, then we diminish our energy levels and our ability to handle stress and perform daily tasks.

So after you’ve read this, rather than jump on your phone or connect to Netflix, why not lace up your shoes, head out the door or get up and have a chat with your family or a colleague. Sometimes you need to disconnect to reconnect.

Get more wellbeing and lifestyle tips at

Reduce screen time and refresh your mind. Here’s how taking a few minutes each day to reboot can benefit your sense of vitality.

Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – March 2019

March 6, 2019









Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – December 2018

December 2, 2018


The importance of FEEDBACK!

Carla & I recently sent a survey to Toormina members to gain feedback about the club. The feedback was fantastic & has provided the base for our future plans within the club & also for the landlord to do the same. In October we took delivery of over $50,000 worth of new spin bikes, recumbent bikes, upright bikes, cross trainers, weights, power rack & accessories that came directly via your feedback. You will see some other plans & upgrades in this enewsletter that have come about from your feedback, as well as other exciting major works over the next year or two in conjunction with the landlord. We can’t promise we will be able to do everything suggested (e.g. wave pool, slides, hotel etc) as running a health club is an expensive pursuit but it’s what we love, so we will always do our best to meet your needs.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions & we love it, so please continue to submit your feedback via the feedback boxes in the club, our reception team or alternatively email us directly via or

Grab your 24/7 access keytag NOW!

One of the great benefits of being a member of Coffs Coast Health Club is its 24/7 accessibility, so you can workout when you want. We have recently been running reports on our clubs usage levels & we have noticed that there are a number of loyal long term members of both Moonee & Toormina clubs that have not yet collected their 24/7 access keytags. If you pay for your membership upfront for 12 months or have a long term direct debit membership with either club but do not yet have your 24/7 access keytag, please collect it from your friendly receptionist at your home club on your next visit. This keytag is especially important for you to be able to workout in the club when you want to during the impending holiday period, public holidays & unstaffed times each week. Short Term & Fitness Passport members can also speak with reception on your next visit to discuss your options, if you don’t already have a 24/7 keytag.

24/7 Open Carpark at Toormina!

A big thank you to our landlord at Toormina who has agreed to keep the carpark open 24/7 from now on. This will allow all members to park in the carpark & walk around theside to the 24/7 door to gain access to the club in unstaffed times instead of the street.

New Staffed Hours in 2019!

As of 2nd Jan 2019 both Toormina & Moonee Beach clubs will be staffed 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday & 7am – 11am Saturday excluding public holidays. 24/7 video surveillance of all areas of the club inside & outside will continue along with the ongoing emergency monitoring via our red button alarms. All group exercise classes, healthy inspirations weight loss consultations, personal training sessions, massage, physiotherapy & kids club times will all remain the same for your convenience.

New Plumbed in Water Coolers!

The weather is getting warmer, were all sweating more & we need more water. We hear you… New plumbed in continuous flow water coolers will be installed in both clubs asap. BYO drink bottles to fill up or grab one of our Coffs Coast Health Club ones from reception today.













Coffs Coast Health Club – eNews November 2018

November 1, 2018