Archive for the ‘Toormina’ Category

Active seniors can lower heart attack risk by doing more, not less

May 20, 2014

Maintaining or boosting your physical activity after age 65 can improve your heart’s electrical well-being and lower your risk of heart attack, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.senior

In heart monitor recordings taken over five years, researchers found that people who walked more and faster and had more physically active leisure time had fewer irregular heart rhythms and greater heart rate variability than those who were less active.

Heart rate variability is differences in the time between one heartbeat and the next during everyday life.

“These small differences are influenced by the health of the heart and the nervous system that regulates the heart,” said Luisa Soares-Miranda, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the Faculty of Sport at the University of Porto in Portugal. “Early abnormalities in this system are picked up by changes in heart rate variability, and these changes predict the risk of future heart attacks and death.”

The researchers evaluated 24-hour heart monitor recordings of 985 adults (average age 71 at baseline) participating in the community-based Cardiovascular Health Study, a large study of heart disease risk factors in people 65 and older.

During the study, they found:

  • The more physical activity people engaged in, the better their heart rate variability.
  • Participants who increased their walking distance or pace during the five years had better heart rate variability than those who reduced how much or how fast they walked.

“Any physical activity is better than none, but maintaining or increasing your activity has added heart benefits as you age,” Soares-Miranda said. “Our results also suggest that these certain beneficial changes that occur may be reduced when physical activity is reduced.”

The researchers calculated that the difference between the highest and lowest levels of physical activity would translate into an estimated 11 percent lower risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac death.

“So if you feel comfortable with your usual physical activity, do not slow down as you get older—try to walk an extra block or walk at a faster pace,” Soares-Miranda said. “If you’re not physically active, it is never too late to start.”


This article was sourced and appeared on:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo

March 19, 2014


Yoga beats aerobic exercise for instant brain boost

July 21, 2013

US researchers have found that even a short 20-minute bout of yoga practise can immediately enhance brain function.

In a study involving 30 young female subjects, a team from the University of Illinois found that those who participated in a yoga session performed significantly better in working memory and inhibitory control tests immediately post-exercise than they did following moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise of a similar duration.

Study leader Neha Gothe, who was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at the time of the study but who is now a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, said; ‘Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures, but also regulated breathing and meditation. The practice involves an active attentional or mindfulness component, but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored.’

Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, director of the Exercise Psychology Laboratory that conducted the study said; ‘Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the US and it is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer.’

For the yoga session, study subjects undertook a progression of supine, seated and standing postures comprising regulated breathing and isometric contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups, before ending in a meditative posture. For the comparative aerobic exercise session participants walked or jogged for 20 minutes on a treadmill.

The results surprised the researchers: ‘It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout. The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.’

Source: Journal of Physical Activity and Health,

A Smarter Weight Loss Workout

March 27, 2012
Weight not coming off fast enough or are you finding you’re plateauing in your fitness level?  Maybe you need to up the anti, take it to the next level of fitness.  At Coffs Coast Health Club we are here to assist you on YOUR journey of fitness & health.  Why not talk to one of our fitness professionals to discuss your needs & goals and let them work out a plan to get you there.
Coffs Coast Health Club is all about “your” fitness & health!
The following article discusses a “smarter weight loss workout” sources through the Sydney Morning Herald.  So enjoy this read and if you’re needing some extra attention just make an appointment and let the staff help you with setting your health goals and achieving them.  Now that sounds like a good plan, don’t you think?
Walking.When the goal is to lose weight and keep it off, the best approach requires more than just a walk in the park.

We know walking is good for us, but have we over rated its power to help us lose weight?

For those looking to shed kilos, going for stroll might not be enough, says Sydney dietitian Susie Burrell.

“There’s a perception that going for a walk is getting good exercise but we’re now so sedentary that walking is just compensating for all the sitting we do in our daily lives,” Burrell says.

“If you want to lose weight on top of this, you need to add some sessions of more intense exercise to improve the ability of cells to burn fat – but this stuff isn’t talked about enough.”

It’s a message that anyone grappling with weight loss needs to hear, especially if trimming down  is   proving frustratingly slow – often a clue there’s an underlying problem with insulin resistance that makes it  genuinely difficult to lose weight.

If you’re not familiar with insulin resistance it’s what can happen when things like overweight, inactivity and too many highly processed carbohydrates eventually   make it harder for insulin to do its job of keeping blood glucose levels healthy. This forces the pancreas to pump out more and more insulin to cope – and that causes two problems: it puts us in the running for Type 2 diabetes and cripples our ability to burn fat.

Burrell, the author of Lose Weight Fast,  says insulin resistance  is now so common that  around one in two of her clients has the problem  despite being  relatively young  – typically’ in their late 30s or early 40s, but sometimes  still in their teens.

To exercise for weight loss – or jolt yourself off a plateau when weight loss stalls – she recommends three sessions of more intense training each week as well as walking daily.

“It’s about quality, not quantity. To burn off 200 calories by walking you’d have to walk, on average, for an hour, but if you work out intensely you’ll burn it off in 20 minutes,” she explains. In her experience these shorter bouts have a number of other advantages – they’re less likely to stoke appetite in the same way as an hour’s walking can and they’re less tedious.

“Most people can handle 20 to 30 minutes of cardio without finding it mind-numbingly boring, “she says.

So what does intensely mean?

“Working for ten to 20 minutes of a 30 minute session at an intensity you couldn’t keep up for an hour unless you were an elite athlete. If you’re new to exercise and you’re overweight, you need to go slowly and build up gradually, but the aim is to increase your heart rate.

“On a walk you can do this by adding in some hills or by alternating sprints and walking between lampposts. At the gym you could set the treadmill to a hill, or alternate walking and hill climbing, or you could increase the resistance on the rowing machine.  Burning 80 to 100 calories per ten minutes on the machines’ calculator is a good level to aim for – most people do 60.

Adding 20 minutes of weight training to your cardio session will make this routine even more effective – especially if you’ve hit a plateau or have insulin resistance.

What about when the weight is lost –do you still need to train?

“When you’ve lost weight you’ll find that your body soon adjusts to operating at this new weight and your metabolism will use up fewer kilojoules to keep your body functioning. You still need to train to keep the weight off though perhaps not as intensely as before,” she says.

“It’s good to keep challenging the body by doing different things.   Rather than doing three runs a week, it’s better to mix things up – do one run, one swim and one session of strength training, for instance. Even if you’re working with a personal trainer, if you’re doing the same routine time after time your body will adjust and you won’t get results.”

And if insulin resistance is hobbling your weight loss efforts, you may need some teamwork from an endocrinologist, a dietitian and an exercise physiologist. Ask your GP about this – if you’re diagnosed with insulin resistance and another condition such as high cholesterol or polycystic ovary syndrome, you may be eligible for Medicare rebates with both a dietitian and exercise physiologist under an Enhanced Primary Care Plan
Lose Weight Fast! is published by Bantam, RRP $27.95.

Read more:

Exercise at Coffs Coast Health Club & get a better “sex” life!

February 14, 2012

We all know that exercise is good for you — it keeps your heart healthy and adds years to your life. But exercise does something else — it makes your sex life better. By exercising several times a week, you’ll not only be increasing your health but improving your sex life. Sound good? Find out more.

Exercise Makes You Feel Sexy

A big part of sex is feeling sexy. People who exercise have an improved body image over people who do not exercise. Being more comfortable with your body leads to better and more relaxed sex. Studies show that more physically fit men and women rated their own sexual desirability higher than less active men and women the same age. Eighty percent of men and 60% of females who exercised two to three times weekly rated their own sexual desirability as above average. As the number of days of exercise per week increased, so did the ratings of sexual desirability.

Exercise Improves Sexual Performance

Another study showed that men and women who were more physically fit rated their own sexual performance higher. Among people who exercised four to five days per week, 88% of the women and 69% of the men reported their own sexual performance as above average or much above average. The reason for this could simply be an increase in confidence because of an improved body image, or a physiological reason (such as better circulation and blood flow).

Exercise Means More Sex

People who exercise more have more sex. The reason for this is complicated. People who exercise more are generally healthier, younger and have more attractive bodies than the non-exercisers. Frequent exercisers may also be more physically-oriented people who seek out activities and sensations. Whatever the case, research does show that the more a person exercises, the more sex he or she tends to have.

Exercise Helps Sexual Aging

Sixty-year-olds who exercise frequently report having the same amount of sex and sexual pleasure as people decades younger. One study examined the sexual frequency and satisfaction ratings of swimmers aged 60 and found that they were the same as those 20 years younger. If you exercise a lot, your “sexual age” will be years younger than your chronological age.

Reduces Erectile Dysfunction

There is a saying in the erectile dysfunction world that “penis health is heart health.” Erectile dysfunction is often caused by circulatory problems. In order to have an erection, the penis must swell with blood. Blocked arteries, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues can interfere with that process. Exercise keeps the heart and arteries healthy, reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction. Researchers looked at men over the age of 50 and found that those who were physically active reported better erections and a 30% lower risk of impotence than men who were inactive.

Endorphin Release

Exercise releases endorphins that give a feeling of pleasure. The classic “runner’s high” is an example. In a “runner’s high,” a seasoned runner may experience a feeling of bliss and contentment during exercise caused by a release of endorphins. Your sex drive and feelings of sexual pleasure also use an endorphin release system. Each time you exercise (or have sex), your body releases these endorphins. The more frequent and intense the releases, the easier it is for sexual arousal and pleasure in the future. In fact, studies have shown that women who frequently exercise become aroused more quickly and are able to reach an orgasm faster and more intensely.

Exercise Adds Options

If you are physically fit, you may have more options for sex. Sex itself is an intense physical activity requiring strength and endurance. As you exercise, both your strength and endurance will increase, opening the possibility for more varied sexual positions that require greater physical control.

The Bottom Line

If better health isn’t enough motivation to get you into the gym or out for a run, maybe better sex will be. Use the information here to inspire yourself to increase your fitness and just watch what may happen to your sex life.

The “History of Chocolate” just in time for this Tuesday, the day of LOVE!

February 12, 2012

With Valentines just around the corner we thought we might have a look at “the history of chocolate”.  At Coffs Coast Health Club we believe that you really can have it all…in moderation that is.  So get fit & healthy plus have the things you love.  Enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the people you adore.


Chocolate Is Today’s Healthy Treat

Chocolate. There are few foods that evoke as much passion as this decadent treat. Folklore from many cultures claimed that consuming chocolate instilled faith, health, strength, and sexual passion. Once an indulgence of royalty, it is now a treasured and accessible – and yes, even healthy – treat. So where did our infatuation with chocolate begin?

Ripe cacao seed pods before they’ve been picked.


Where Does Chocolate Come From?

The cacao tree, whose pods contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate, was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The first people known to have consumed cacao were the Classic Period Maya (250-900 A.D.). They mixed ground cacao (cocoa) seeds with seasonings to make a bitter, spicy drink that was believed to be a health elixir.

Mexican hot chocolate is the descendant of a sacred drink called “xocoatl”.


What Was Chocolate’s Great Allure?

To the Mayans, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility. The pod was often represented in religious rituals, including marriage ceremonies, and was referred to as food of the gods. In central Mexico, the Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree, and that it had nourishing, fortifying, and even aphrodisiac qualities.

Explorer Hernan Cortés meets Emperor Montezuma II of Mexico.


Europeans Are Charmed by Chocolate

Europeans got their first taste of chocolate in 1519, when Montezuma offered the spicy drink to Spanish explorer Cortés and his army. The Spanish conquistadors brought cocoa seeds back to Spain, where they introduced new spices and sugar to the liquid concoction. The fad drink spread throughout Europe, where it remained a beverage of the elite for centuries.

The famed Italian lover Giacomo Casanova.


Chocolate’s Seductive Reputation

Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac flourished in the French royal court. Erotic art and literature were inspired by the seductive substance. Casanova, the infamous womanizer, made a habit of drinking chocolate before his romantic escapades. Even today, romantic lore commonly identifies chocolate as an aphrodisiac.


Chocolate Goes Global

The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona in 1780, paving the way for the mass production of chocolate. Later, mechanical inventions made it possible to produce smooth, creamy, solid chocolate for eating — not just the liquid for drinking. The first solid chocolate bar was developed by British chocolate maker Fry & Sons in the early 1800s.


Chocolate Gifts on Valentine’s Day

“It’s believed that during the 17th century, lovers began exchanging mementos on Valentine’s Day – sweet treats were one of them. In 1868, the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates was introduced [by Richard Cadbury],” says Susan L. Fussell, senior director of communications for the National Confectioners Association.

Soldiers hand out chocolate to French children during WWII.


Three Cheers for Chocolate!

In 1875, the first milk chocolate was introduced to the market by Daniel Peter of Switzerland.  Chocolate became so popular around the world that even during World War II the U.S. government shipped cocoa beans to the troops. Today, the U.S. Army includes chocolate bars in their rations. Chocolate has even been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts.


Is Chocolate Really an Aphrodisiac?

Not really, even though throughout its history, chocolate has been purported as one. Chocolate contains small amounts of a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA), a.k.a. the “love drug,” and it’s been linked to the regulation of physical energy, mood, and attention. A tiny amount of PEA is released at moments of emotional euphoria, elevating blood pressure and heart rate. There is no evidence that PEA found in foods increases PEA in the brain – although many chocolate lovers may beg to differ!


Chocolate Makes Health Headlines

Dark chocolate (as opposed to milk or white chocolate) contains healthful flavonoids similar to those found in tea, red wine, fruits, and vegetables. Studies have shown that dark chocolate can improve blood vessel flow and may improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity to help reduce the risk of diabetes. But beware, chocolate candy has plenty of saturated fat and sugar, so enjoy small portions of as part of a healthy diet.


Coffs Coast Health Club love to eat yummy things.  Why not try these macaroons?

Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons


Picture of Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

The cookie (if it can be called a cookie?) is typically composed of coconut, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla, and you will find recipes made of differing proportions of the former, plus or minus an ingredient or two. I’ve had ones made with sweetened condensed milk and do like the moisture it contributes, but it makes the lighter treat a tad too heavy. Though it does sound like a lot of sugar, we didn’t find this version to be overly sweet at all. If you scale it back too much, it tastes like a coconut omelet. Coconut is wonderful, but the contrast of the dark chocolate makes these babies exceptional.

I encourage you to experiment with natural sweeteners here, as I think it would only slightly change the flavor. You can find natural sweeteners at natural foods stores or online. Evaporated palm sugar is a great alternative, or you could use regular granulated sugar if you prefer.


3 Egg Whites
1 Cup Organic Sucanat (Whole Cane Sugar)
3 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 3/4 Cups Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour/Brown Rice Flour*
340 grams Semi-Sweet/Dark Good Quality Chocolate Chips


Heat oven to 190 C degrees.

Beat the egg whites with a whisk until they are loose and frothy. Add the salt, vanilla, sugar, and honey and combine. Add the coconut and stir. See starred note for consistency advice.

Using a small spoon, dollop about 2 Tbsp. of the mix 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a non-stick cooking mat.

Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes on the middle rack. Remove and cool completely. While the macaroons are cooling, heat the chocolate chips over a double-broiler, or glass bowl over simmering water. Be sure to not let the glass touch the water to avoid scorching. Continue to stir until chocolate is melted.

Lay out a new piece of parchment paper. Take a cooled macaroon, and generously dip half into the melted chocolate. Lay on the parchment for chocolate to harden. This time could be expedited in the fridge or freezer.

* The consistency of the mix will vary depending on the size of your egg whites and also how your coconut is shredded. When the mix sits in the bowl, you don’t want it to be weeping any liquid, it should hold itself together while still being moist. If anything is puddling at the bottom, add a bit of flour or GF flour to help dry things up. Add little by little, you may not need all of it. I needed to use the flour, as my eggs were large. Use your discretion and look for consistency before sticking to the measurements.

Total Servings: 24

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 155
Carbohydrates: 22.3g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Fat: 6.9g
Saturated Fat: 4.6g
Fiber: 1.9g
Sodium: 69mg
Protein: 1.8g

Excuses for NOT exercising…

January 8, 2012

Dog ate my shoes

Get moving… exercise helps increase energy levels so stop dozing, get up and go. Photo: Newscom

For every excuse for not exercising, personal trainers have a compelling answer, writes Kayte Nunn.

We all have reasons why we can’t take better care of our bodies, whether it’s time, our ”situation”, an old injury or that we don’t know where to start. But the people who make their living helping us to work out have heard all the excuses and none of them stand up to scrutiny. We asked three personal trainers how they combat some of the most common – and creative – excuses.


I’m too tired

The owner of Vision Personal Training in Sydney, Matt Malouf, says once he has established this excuse is genuine (and not just laziness), ”I’d find out if they are getting enough sleep and where they are spending their energy. Are they stressed? Once you get into a good exercise routine, the endorphin release will boost your energy levels and give you that spark you’re after.”

I have no time

”I’d aim to understand where they are spending their time, then work out a way of fitting exercise in,” Malouf says. Even if it’s when you’d usually be asleep, or in a few blocks of spare time during the day. ”We all have the same time but it’s how we choose to spend our time.”

I can’t afford it

”There are plenty of things you can do for free or within a limited budget,” says holistic lifestyle and exercise coach Chris Jones of Primal Movement, based in Brookvale. ”You’ve just got to include some level of movement in your daily habits. If someone wants specialist help, then they’ve got to question, ‘Can I afford not to do it?’ People tend to find plenty of money for their coffees and wine.”

I travel so much, I can’t keep a regular schedule

”There are many exercises you can actually do in your hotel room and plenty of hotels have pretty good gyms these days,” says personal trainer Nicky Greenlees, who runs Babes with Babes on Sydney’s northern beaches. ”Even in your hotel room, you can do body-weight exercises, use some water bottles, a Yellow Pages … Get on the net and find some exercises on YouTube or see a personal trainer for ideas.

”Most people don’t do enough stretching, so this can be a good time to do that, too.”


I don’t know where to start

”Just start moving,” Malouf says. ”Go for a walk around the block.” If you join a gym or personal training studio, see a trainer; they should design a program based on your starting level.”

I don’t have the right gear or clothes

It doesn’t have to be complicated, Malouf says. ”A pair of shoes and any kind of comfortable clothing is suitable to exercise in.”


It makes me feel sick

You don’t have to exercise until you feel sick. ”Take the intensity down,” Greenlees says. ”Working at the lactic threshold [when the going starts to become extremely tough] is not something that has to be done all the time. Exercise is meant to be enjoyable.”

I get too sore

Jones says ”often people are not getting to bed on time or [don’t] have their nutrition right”. If you have a lot of stress in your life and your nutrition is poor, then it’s harder for your body to recover properly and you suffer more with muscle soreness, he says. The answer is to ensure you are eating good-quality food and ”ensure sufficient rest and recovery periods are built in”.

I have bad knees

”Whether it’s a new injury or an ongoing problem, I’d refer them to a physio and work with their health professional in planning an exercise program,” Malouf says. ”There’s always something we can do – we can focus on upper-body or core training. Cycling can rehabilitate but sometimes, depending on the injury, it can do more damage.”

My boobs are too big

”Get yourself a good sports bra and double- or triple-layer this with a crop top or a sports top with an internal bra,” Greenlees says. If chafing is a problem, there are some good anti-chafing products on the market.

I’m pregnant

”Unless you’ve been advised by your doctor not to, light exercise is actually a really good idea to help you through your pregnancy,” Greenlees says. ”Just don’t start doing anything new or overexert yourself,” she says. ”Yoga for pregnancy is great and it’s also important to keep your strength up. Staying fit also really helps with recovery from the birth.”

I’ve just had a baby

”There are fantastic classes available where you can exercise with your baby, or classes that offer babysitting,” Greenlees says. ”Exercising after you’ve had a baby has been shown to help with postnatal depression and it’s a good way of giving you some time out.”

I’m not fat; I don’t need to

For Jones, it’s not about fat. ”We encourage people to think bigger picture, to set goals other than fat loss. There are also lots of skinny people who aren’t very healthy.”


It’s boring

”The best exercise program is the one you’ll do. Not everyone wants to go to the gym or to be a runner,” Jones says. ”Be creative and find something that you enjoy doing. Vary what you do so that it doesn’t become boring. If they’ve got good goals and get past the initial hurdle, most people will find they start to enjoy their success.”

I’ll start next month

Malouf is blunt. ”What will be different next month? What’s stopping you from starting now?”