HUR Australia hosted the following Webinar on 21.2.2024

You can see the Webinar video and other material here: huraustralia.com.au/postwebinar9

Health and Wellness – The power of exercise in maintaining best health

Date: Wednesday 21st of February, 2024
Time: 3-4 PM AEST / 4-5 PM AEDT
Cost: Free
Registration: Registration for this webinar has now ended.

With our HUR webinars we have covered many topics, but a key aspect of every talk is always health and wellness – what are the key principles when planning an exercise program to gain and maintain best health and wellness.

World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (illness)”. Wellness is defined “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.” Indeed, the two are very closely linked and it could be said that good health is our goal, and wellness is the product of a healthy lifestyle – the ability to live the life we choose. 
Wellness can also be defined as the activities and choices we make to reach our best health and well-being. It is the results of our lifestyle choices, including the control of risk factors and inclusion of beneficial factors such as nutrition, exercise and social interactions.

Exercise and physical activity are well establied as key factors in mainting health and wellness for all age groups. The key goals might vary – while in our fifties our main goal is to keep up good health and mobility, staying active and preventing chronic diseases, as we get older we must set in appropriate principles to keep up health and wellness including muscle strength and bone mass, but also to exercise to keep up our quality of life, maintain independence and avoid falls.

The well establised research evidence gives us guidance on the best principles, with services provided by allied professionals. One of these providers is Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & Vic) Inc. (SCC), providing evidence-based, person-centred, best practice care, delivered with a case-to-case model that provides individual clint health pathways. Their service has been well received in the community with over 3000 clients, average age 79.6 years, in South Australia and Northern Territory. The services have consisted of over 45—exercise group presentations, over 1250 allied health one-one-one services, and over 6000 respite hours.

We are happy to welcome back our guest speaker, Dr Tim Henwood, to discuss the best exercise and best delivery models to for best health and wellness.

Dr Tim Henwood
Group Manager - Research & Development
Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & VIC) Inc

Dr Tim Henwood is a special population exercise physiologist with a wide research publication record on targeted exercise programs for adults 65 years with a specific interest in older adults with complex healthcare needs. 

Tim is a strong advocate for targeted exercise and therapy - with correct exercise prescription even the oldest and most unhealthy adults can be re-abled back to better health and wellbeing.

HUR Australia hosted the following free Webinar on 9.8.2023

Let’s talk about balance –Training Principles and Clinical Considerations

Date: Wednesday 9th of August  
Time: 4-5 PM AEST
Where: Online

Balance training is an important part of many areas of rehabilitation, such as sport medicine, falls prevention, vestibular and concussion rehabilitation, among others. Traditionally balance training includes both static and dynamic exercises, difficult enough to pose a challenge to the individual, as appropriate.

Common balance exercises include standing on different surfaces in different postures and positions, as well as doing different exercises with movement, such as stepping. 

In our August webinar we are happy to welcome two world known speakers from different areas of rehabilitation to discuss balance training - the training principles and clinical applications used in their research and clinical practice. 

Dr Melanie Farlie will discuss the benefits of measuring the intensity of balance training and will also present “The Balance Intensity Scale”, the world’s first objective measure of balance exercise intensity, based on the research finding of Dr Farlie’s doctoral thesis.

Mr Alexander Ring is one of Australia’s most known clinical vestibular physiotherapy experts. His expertise and research has also extended his scope of practice into prolonged concussion with Autonomic, Vestibulo-Occular and Exertion intolerance. 

Targeting the intensity of balance exercise training - how challenging is that balance exercise really?

Dr Melanie Farlie, BPhysio, PGCertPhysio, GCertHPE, PhD - Senior Lecturer, Department of Physiotherapy, Senior Lecturer & Research Fellow, Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education (MCSHE), Monash University

Dr Melanie Farlie is a clinician-researcher with a combined 23 years of experience in clinical practice, clinical leadership, and academia. She has worked in private and public health, community, sub-acute and acute hospital settings - predominantly in orthogeriatric rehabilitation. 

Dr Farlie is a Lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy, Education Lead for the Monash Musculoskeletal Research Unit in the School of Primary and Allied Health Care and Faculty in the School of Clinical Sciences.  

Balance exercise prescription was the topic of her PhD, and Dr Farlie has led the development and validation of the world’s first objective measure of balance exercise intensity: the Balance Intensity Scale. Dr. Farlie is regularly engaged to deliver her innovative interactive virtual scale training session to health professionals nationally and internationally. 

Dr Farlie is now leading research investigating the balance exercise prescription practices of health professionals globally, as well as collaborations with exercise physiologists and physiologists examining the effect of different balance training intensities on balance control and adaptation mechanisms in older adults.  

For free access to the Balance Intensity Scale, go to https://www.monash.edu/medicine/balance-intensity-scale

The principles and clinical considerations of vestibular rehabilitation

Mr Alexander Ring  - Physiotherapist and Clinical Educator, Consultant Vestibular Physiotherapist, Murdoch University, Curtin University

Alexander Ring is a Physiotherapist from Perth, Western Australia. Since graduating in 1988, he spent time working in several areas including in a war zone. He has worked as a Senior Neurological Physiotherapist at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (1993) and joined the Brain Research Unit in 1996. 

His clinical work moved into the field of Balance and Vestibular disorders since 1994. Under the guidance of Prof. Susan Herdman and colleagues, he completed his Basic, Advanced, Vestibular Testing and Observership in Atlanta, GA. 

Alexander Ring hold 2 adjunct university appointments: as Adjunct Research Fellows with IIID - Murdoch University and School of Allied Health - Curtin University. He teaches as adjunct faculty on the University of Pittsburgh’s Advanced Vestibular Physical Therapist Certification Program. 

He is a CI on 3-year NH&MRC grant and on the allied health panel of the mTBI ANZ Clinical Practice Guidelines Group (lead by UQ- MRFF grant). He runs dedicated clinics 4 days a week in the areas of Concussion, Balance and Vestibular disorders. His research focus is on Oculomotor physiology in concussion during exercise exertion.

Significance of balance testing

The significance of balance testing and training for all populations has long been recognised by HUR.

The HUR SmartBalance is a complete solution for testing and training balance using scientifically proven testing methods and motivational and fun balance training programs. The games can be individually set up based on the testing, with variations on the training patterns, difficulty level and training time. With the smart balance system, improvements can be tracked with comprehensive reporting. 

To respond to the fast-growing request for balance training solutions, HUR has updated the look, the function and software for the SmartBalance, with the inclusion of new training games targeting cognition and falls prevention, among others. You can read more about the software updates from our latest newsletter on pages 10 -11.

In this webinar HUR Australia’s Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman will also give a brief summary of the new inclusions in the HUR SmartBalance setup.

>> Booking has closed. Click here for the Post Webinar material.

HUR Australia hosted the following Webinar on Wednesday 9th of November 2022

Beyond Sunbeam – Best practice exercise for older adults and new opportunities as the aged care system reforms.

As the Aged care reform is underway in Australia, there seems to be a sense of uncertainty on what the role of allied health may be after the funding tool transition from ACFI to AN-ACC. Indeed, there are concerns about a lack of direct funding for rehabilitation and reablement services. However, the new model offers a fantastic opportunity to deliver quality, evidence-based programs that match the outcome standards recommended by the Australian Aged Care Royal Commission. Despite the confusion and concern about the transition period, there is a great potential for Allied Health staff to finally use their training and expertise to deliver best practice care. 

Best practice evidence shows that exercise works for:  falls prevention; restoration and reablement; including for those with cognitive impairment, responding to all key recommendations from the Australian Aged Care Royal Commission. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of exercise has been clearly verified by the Sunbeam study showing that the implementation of the structured strength and balance program can result in a cost saving of up to $670 per fall, meaning an estimated saving of $120 million for Australian healthcare economy for the first year due to the short- and long-term benefits.

This webinar, lead by Dr Jennie Hewitt, will discuss the implementation, prescription, and appropriate progression of successful exercise programs for people living with complex conditions and multiple morbidities. Promising pilot study findings on positive outcomes for residents with chronic pain will also be presented.

For clinicians we will explore evidence-based exercise for people with a cognitive impairment, sarcopenia, frailty, other complex diagnoses, under AN-ACC, and also present real life case presentations where this approach has changed residents’ lives.

For management we will present various ways of implementing and sustainably scaling exercise programs using AN-ACC while surpassing quality standards

The webinar will conclude with an extended Q&A with Dr Hewitt. We encourage all participants to contribute their real-world barriers and facilitators, with the aim of collectively finding solutions and a way forward. We invite participants to share their experiences by emailing sales@huraustralia.com.au or via the live chat during the webinar. 

Speaker profile:

Dr Jennie Hewitt is a practicing physiotherapist, educator, and academic researcher with a passion for delivering best practice and leading research that informs health care policy. She was awarded the Aged and Community Services Australia, National Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Commendation for Better Practice, from the Aged Care Quality Agency, for her work on the Sunbeam Program for the prevention of falls in residential care. In 2019 she won the Morley Award for the paper most likely to influence policy and practice from the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 

Jennie’s work has been used successfully to advocate for Australian Aged Care Funding Reform. She was invited to give evidence as an expert witness for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, in 2020, on the role of allied health in residential and community aged care. Her evidence was used to form new Medicare item numbers for allied health service provision, and federal funding for allied health group exercise sessions. 

Jennie is currently working as a Technical Advisor to the Commonwealth Chief Allied Health Officer on an implementation plan to translate the Sunbeam Program to practice in over 100 aged care facilities in Australia. Evaluation of this program will inform future health policy.

Jennie currently works with a multi-disciplinary allied health team at the University Centre for Rural Health on a clinical education program that provides older people in rural communities with access to best practice allied health programs while simultaneously providing students with clinical opportunities. Jennie is a member of the NSW Health Frailty Taskforce Working Group, and the Health North Coast (PHN) Healthy Living and Ageing Reference Group. 


Booking has closed. Click here for the Post Webinar material.

Previous webinars

HUR Australia's Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman speaking at the Singapore Ageing Asia 2022

Every now and then an opportunity rises to share information on health and ageing. This month HUR Australia's Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman gave a talk titled "Quality of life, health and exercise" at the Singapore Ageing Asia 2022 World Ageing Festival. In this 15 min talk she shares information on how to keep our best health, especially focusing on muscle health.



HUR Australia hosted the following Webinar on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

EXERCISE IS MEDICINE - Improving health and wellness in older adults via exercise

Date: Thursday May 12th Time: 4-5 PM AEST 

"Exercise is Medicine” is a world-wide concept that hopes to improve the health of all via exercise, aiming to make physical activity a standard part of chronic disease prevention and management programs. We also know that exercise is key to happy and healthy ageing with a large research evidence base showing the health benefits of exercise for seniors, including benefits for physical and mental health as well as wellbeing, cognition, falls prevention, and even lifespan.

To get the best benefits of exercise, truly using exercise as medicine, right prescription is required, looking at the frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise (FITT principle). With the proper prescription on how hard and long one should exercise, great goals can be achieved.

In our first webinar for 2022, we are happy to welcome two speakers to discuss how treating Exercise as Medicine is implemented and making a change in their clinics:

Brad McGregor – Exercise and allied health services for over 50s wellbeing

Brad McGregor is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) and is the Clinical and Operations Manager at UQ Health Care, a multidisciplinary service promoting longevity and wellbeing for the over 50s, resourced by allied health (physiotherapy, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, dietetics, psychology, counselling and social work services) students at University of Queensland, and supervised by leading academics.

Brad enjoys developing systems and processes to improve allied health service efficiency and effectiveness, also including consultancy and mentoring services to allied health and exercise practitioners.

Sam Waley - GPs and EPs bridging the gap between exercise and medicine

Sam Waley is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Director at MedHP, a health and wellness hub designed specifically for over 50s. Having worked extensively with an ‘older’ demographic, Sam has a wealth of experience in exercise rehabilitation, including musculoskeletal and chronic illnesses as well oncology.

Sam is passionate about the need for good health and well-being and strongly believes effective exercise interventions can positively influence quality of life, giving his clients their health and body back. 
Along with MedHP, Sam’s accomplishments include a self-published book, Age is An Attitude, that provides fitness advice for readers in their post-junior years. This book was inspired by his belief that with the right kind of advice and exercise prescription, age is merely a number.

Our Newsletter 2022 included an introduction of this year's program. Below you can read the extended interview of our Speaker Brad McGregor:

Q: What is the importance of acute exercise variables when considering exercise as medicine?

A: People often over-emphasise 1-2 acute variables, often at the expense of others. E.g. When changing our resistance training program, we often only choose different exercises. Whilst this is one strategy for positive adaptation, there are many others to consider.
For example, by manipulating the tempo or speed, the exercise can have a marked impact on overload & adaptation. If we consider a bodyweight push-up: a 1:0:1 tempo is equivalent to 1 second down (eccentric phase), no pause & 1 second up (concentric phase). This equals 2 secs of time under tension. Performing the same exercise with a 5:1:2 tempo, (5 secs down, 1-second pause & 2 seconds up) increases the time under tension from 2 to 8 seconds resulting in different tissue adaptations.

Another acute variable that is often under-programmed in my opinion is recovery. Recovery is often considered as the rest period between sets of an exercise; however, we should also consider the recovery between exercises, between sections of a training session, between sessions as well as recovery within a block of training (i.e. every 4-8 weeks).

The selection of an appropriate acute periodisation strategy is another important consideration when prescribing exercise as medicine. With a beginner, we may follow a simple wave periodisation model where we adjust training volume & intensity over a 4–6-week training block. An experienced trainer may be in a position to tolerate a conjugate model where all relevant elements of fitness (i.e., strength, power, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility etc) are trained each week, but with an emphasis on several related elements. Manipulating these variables in line with the individual’s physiological profile & their goal will maximise adaptation & reduce injury risk over time.

Q:  Looking at the future – what are your thoughts on some of the key health conditions we should look to manage better through physical activity? 

A: I will discuss my experience & observations in Australia as that is my background. In my opinion, obesity is one of the most concerning public health issues, mostly because it is linked to so many other chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, non-specific low back pain, etc.

When our health system manages an acute condition - such as a fractured arm - we typically have 1 short-term hospitalisation with some check-ups prior to discharge and case closure. The impact on our healthcare system of this kind of pathology is minimal when compared to a client with poorly managed type 2 diabetes, impacting multiple body systems and often resulting in multiple hospital admissions, and ongoing community care to manage the condition over time. Multiply this 'chronicity of care' by the volume of these presentations, and it's easy to see why primary care & hospitals become overwhelmed.

Q: What can we, as health professionals, do to get more recognition for exercise as medicine?

A: We should not just rely on member organisations to advocate for our professions. As individuals, I believe we need to be proactive in representing our professions to primary care, hospitals & specialists. And more specifically, allied health needs to be more proactive at seeking out & embedding models of care that are integrated. At UQ Healthy Living we encourage interprofessional care where students from different disciplines participate in the same appointment with a client to ensure optimal inter-professional communication & best-practice clinical outcomes.

Finally, I would like to see our industry move away from archaic 'turf wars' to a model where health professionals practice inclusivity with other clinicians, across the many sectors of our healthcare system for the betterment of all. 

Book here for the Webinar

Booking has closed. Please see the Post Webinar page here: Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

HUR Australia hosted the following Webinar on November 4th, 2021:

BETTER FOR LIFE : Bringing health and wellness to older people through a multidisciplinary approach using funded options

Date: Thursday November 4th Time: 4-5 PM AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne), 3-4 pm AEST (Brisbane)

Post webinar: Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

Exercise is key to happy, healthy, and joyful ageing. The benefits of exercise at older age are clear; From prevention of falls and improvements in cognitive function, to reduced mortality. Ongoing research and feedback from clinicians are very positive, describing benefits in physical and mental wellbeing, leading to improved quality of life. 

When planning a health and wellness exercise facility, it is important to carefully plan the setting and staffing to provide the best health effects, as supported by scientific evidence. Commonly these “Active Ageing” include concepts such as

  • Improvement of quality of life via increased mobility, physical activity, mental health, and cognitive function.
  • Faster recovery back to adequate strength level to be able to carry on daily activities after injury or illness that required bed rest period.
  • Prevent and reduce number of falls
  • Increase social intervention via group exercises.

A successful “Active Ageing” model includes many factors, from a detailed concept and staffing to gym design and multidisciplinary allied health presence. One of the great success stories of health and wellness delivery to both community and residential care is Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & VIC) Inc. A recent article in The Source (September 2021) reported that during the financial year 2020-2021 SCC had delivered 108,000 hours of health and wellness services to 3,000 clients, with HUR equipment having been installed into 3 large gyms and key pieces into 19 gyms all together. The article described how over several years SCC had systematically integrated a health and wellbeing model across their 17 aged care homes, including 21 gyms, while tripling their allied health services, also including early identification and intervention introduced as a fundamental practice.

In our second webinar for 2021, we are happy to welcome two speakers from SCC to discuss some aspects of their success in the area.

Dr Tim Henwood – “Bringing better health and wellness to older adults - navigating the range of funding options”

Dr Tim Henwood is a special population exercise physiologist with a wide research publication record on targeted exercise programs for adults 65 years. He currently holds a role as the Group Manager for Community Wellness & Lifestyle with Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & VIC) and with a specific interest in older adults with complex healthcare needs. Tim is a strong advocate for targeted exercise and therapy - with correct exercise prescription even the oldest and most unhealthy adults can be re-abled back to better health and wellbeing.


Nick Petch – “Bringing better health and wellness to older adults - the importance of a multidisciplinary approach”

Nick Petch is a Physiotherapist currently working in Community Aged Care with Southern Cross Care in South Australia. He has worked in aged care for the past 5 years, with further clinical experience in residential and transitional care.
Nick has a strong interest in exercise and pain management for older adults, working to develop an optimal pathway for clients in the community to better their health, function and reduce the risk of progression into disability or frailty.
Nick also works closely with Flinders University physiotherapy students, along with new graduate physiotherapists, occupational therapists and podiatrists within Southern Cross Care.

Our  Newsletter 1/2021 included a summary of our last year's webinar, with an introduction of this year's program. Below you can read the extended interview of our Speaker Dr Tim Henwood

Q: What are the key points of a successful community health program?

A: Successful programs require a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that accounts for the clients measured needs and their person-centred goals. Prescription plans must be made with the client, so they feel part of their wellness journey and programs must be accessible and offer a value for money solution to their health and wellness needs. Finally, programs need to offer clients goal achievement. Whether as simple as being able to stand for longer or more complex, such as going on a hiking holiday, without a point of focus participation will be short lived.

Q: What are the possible funding sources?

A: Allied health professionals all have access to providers numbers that allow them to service Private Health Insurance, Medicare and DVA clients. For clients these can offer important cost savings. Leveraging these cost savings to develop relationships with clients and get them started in the right health pathway have both important implications for the client and the clinician. Less accessible to allied health professionals but equally valuable to get clients on better health journeys are Federal and State government funded programs such as the Short-Term Restorative Care, Transition Care Program, Commonwealth Home Support Program, Home Care Package program, Aged Care Funding Instrument and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These are only available to registered providers, who, with the exception of the NDIS, tend to be large organisations working in the aged care sector. However, with few providers having multidisciplinary allied health teams there is growing opportunity in the aged care sector for agency services that can support clients under these funding models.

Q: What do you think are the key points of ageing well?

A: Physical, social and mental engagement along with adherence to health life behaviours have a proven ability to keep people independently living for the greater percentage of their life span. While it is never too late to start a Better for Life  journey, the earlier you start that great impact on your health and wellbeing. This is not just reserved to the physical sphere, but also social and mental. Challenge your body, your brain and yourself and you are on the right track to ageing well. 

Post webinar: Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

HUR Australia hosted the following Webinar Apr 29, 2021

Muscles and mobility matter: Lessons from research to inform practice

Why and how to best look after your muscular health

Date: Thursday April 29th Time: 2-3 pm AEST

Post webinar: Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

For many decades we have been discussing bone loss, osteoporosis; its importance, consequences, prevention, and proper management. Whilst osteoporosis is widely discussed these days, a similar and an equally devastating disease describing muscle loss, sarcopenia, is still largely unknown for many clinicians, underdiagnosed and mistreated.

There is overwhelming evidence from research over the past decades highlighting the importance of strength training to optimise muscle mass, strength and function, and its importance to maintain health and prevent disease. It has been shown that muscles have a direct liaison to many functions beyond locomotion, such as metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, cognition, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. Indeed, muscle mass and strength has been directly linked to the treatment and prevention of almost all chronic diseases, and when exercise is properly prescribed, it can work as an efficient medicine to optimise muscle health and reduce the risk of many conditions. 

Skeletal muscle is the largest organ system in our body, second to water itself. Our muscles are our main movers but also have a role as endocrine organs with many responsibilities in the management of general health. Furthermore, skeletal muscle makes up almost half of the protein reserves in the human body. Proteins are the main structural components of cells with the responsibility for many physiological tasks such as building and repairing cells including muscle tissue and assisting in the fight against any viral and bacterial infections. Muscles behave as our protein reserves – the “banks” we can withdraw from when our body needs to fight viruses and rebuild cells. Understanding that muscles could act as an immune organ by producing acute phase protective proteins, regular strength training might be a crucial preventive action to fight against diseases.

Muscle health matters. As the average person can lose around 30-40% of their muscle mass from between 20 and 80 years, it is time to get into action and preserve the strength we have, despite the age.

After the year of COVID related inactivity, it is time to get into action to fight Sarcopenia. It is such a pleasure to welcome everyone to our first webinar of 2021, Muscles and mobility matter: Lessons from research to inform practice, and present our speakers, Professor Robin Daly, a Deakin University Researcher with a long research profile on Sarcopenia, and Richelle Street, from Blue Care, and exercise physiologist with a passion for health and wellness, especially in older adults. 

Speaker profiles

Professor Robin Daly is the Chair in Exercise and Ageing at Deakin University, Melbourne.

Robin has more than two decades of research experience in conducting clinical, public health and translational intervention trials evaluating the role of exercise and nutrition for preventing and managing common chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, falls, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer as well as cognitive related disorders. 
Robin is an active national and international contributor of clinical guidelines in the area of exercise, calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. He is Immediate Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (ANZSFR), a fellow of Sports Medicine Australia and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, a member of the medical and scientific advisory committee for Osteoporosis Australia and a board member of Active Geelong. He is also the founder of the ‘Osteo-cise: Strong Bones for Life’ community-based osteoporosis prevention exercise program.

Richelle Street is as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with over nine years of work experience in Aged Care and currently working and coordinating the Exercise Physiology Allied Health Discipline within Blue Care. 

Richelle has affiliations with the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, University of Southern Queensland and the Australian Catholic University as a lead clinical educator for several exercise physiology students. Richelle has also developed numerous tools for AEPs to use across their work within the Aged Care Sector.
Richelle’s compassion, dedication and professional practice as an accredited exercise physiologist has been recognised in its highest regard by the industry, whereby Richelle was awarded Australian Exercise Physiologist of the Year in 2014.  In the past 3 years; 2020, 2019 and 2018 Richelle has been a finalist nomination for this award again respectively. Richelle’s work and Aged Care journey as an AEP has also featured in multiple national magazines including ESSA activate and The Australian Aging Agenda. 

Our freshly published Newsletter 1/2021 includes a summary of our last year's webinar, with an introduction of this year's program. You can read the extended interview of our first speaker, Professor Robin Daly below, with also a  client story from our clinical expert, Richelle Street.

In preparation for our webinar, we interviewed Professor Robin Daly from Deakin University about muscle loss, sarcopenia. 

Q: What are the consequences of muscle loss, both short term and long term
A: A loss of skeletal muscle mass is associated with a decrease in muscle strength and impaired functional performance which have been associated with an increased risk of disability, falls, osteoporosis, fragility fractures, frailty, loss in independence, reduced quality of life and premature mortality. Skeletal muscle also has important metabolic functions. During times of illness, it can serve as the main reservoir for amino acids to support the metabolic needs of vital tissues and organs in the body and for energy production. Muscle is the largest mass of insulin sensitive tissue in the body and the primary site of glucose disposal, and thus critical for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. In addition, muscle loss has been associated with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia as well as impaired immunity and various hospital complications (e.g, an increased risk of infection and poor outcomes post-surgery).
Q: Why is it so important we prevent muscle loss? 
A: Skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the body accounting for around 40-45% of body mass and is critical for both movement and metabolic functions. The average person can loss around 30-40% of their muscle mass from the age to 20 to 80 years. Since this loss in muscle has been linked to almost all common chronic diseases, it is important that strategies are implemented early to prevent muscle loss which can start around the age of 40-45 years. Of particular concern are people who are immobilized due to injury or illness, especially older people and the elderly who can lose up to 1 kg of muscle mass from their legs in just 3-10 days whilst bedridden, which has been linked to poorer recovery outcomes.  
Q: What are the best ways to keep up muscle - what should we do?
A: Currently there are no available pharmacological agents (drugs) available to prevent muscle loss. Progressive resistance (strength) training is the most effective strategy to improve muscle mass and strength, with marked benefits observed after only 12 weeks of training. For older people, the gains in muscle mass and strength observed after just 12 weeks can be equivalent to regaining the muscle loss that typically occurs over a decade. Maintaining an adequate intake of dietary protein, particularly when undertaking resistance training, is also important to maximise skeletal muscle mass and strength benefits. In terms of optimising physical function (e.g, improving balance, mobility, gait), challenging balance, stepping and mobility activities and/or include high speed resistance or functional training focused on improving muscle power appear best.  
Q: Why is muscle power so important as well age?
A: Muscle power represents the ability to produce force quickly (e.g, move your foot quicky to put your foot on the brake in your car or step quickly when balance is perturbed). This is different from muscle strength which represent the ability to generate maximal muscle force. Muscle power has been shown to decline earlier (around the age of 35-40) and more rapidly (with up to a 50% loss with age) than muscle mass or strength. Clinically this loss is muscle power is important as it has been shown to be more directly related to functional limitations and disability than either strength or mass. The good news is that we can improve muscle power. An effective approach involves performing high speed resistance training, in which you perform the lifting phase of lower limb exercises as rapidly as possible.

Our clinical expert Richelle Street was also featured in our Newsletter. Stay Active, Stay Strong and Stay Independent

When COVID-19 first had implications on the Australian society in March 2020, there was never a more important time to exercise. Although group training was rightfully put on hold for indefinite months, Blue Care client, 88-year-old Bob knew the implications that months of inactivity and unstructured training would have. Bob continued to attend weekly gym sessions with Aged Care Specialist AEP Richelle Street, under clinical supervision with a strict COVID-19 safety routine that included regular cleaning and temperature checks. 

The improvements in Bob’s results are fantastic; from 12 to 19 unsupported chair stands in 30 seconds, from 8 to 11 alternate steps in 15 seconds, a 7 cm improvement in reach test and a 7 second improvement in unsupported heel to toe stance in 10 seconds.

The results speak for themselves. No matter the barrier, keep active in whatever way you can, with whatever resources are available, at every age. Let us ensure that every day is lived to its fullest with a level of independence and strength that can only be obtained through exercise as we age. Exercise can reverse the natural process of ageing; exercise truly is medicine. 

Post webinar: Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

HUR Australia has so far hosted the following webinars:

Strength, Health and Wellness – From Epidemiology to Service Delivery (Dec 4, 2020)

Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

Covid-19 Exercise, Nutrition and Health in Isolation (May 29, 2020)

Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

Keys to success - Leading with exercise (September 4, 2020)

Click here to view the webinar video and other material.

LASA 2020 Online - a summary of the webinars 

HUR Australia's webinar MC Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman, presented at the recent LASA online conference a summary of the webinars. This presentation tells the story behind the webinars and also discusses the importance of keeping everyone healthy by sharing knowledge with all. Click here to view the video on HUR Australia's YouTube Channel.

More information about the webinars:

Keys to success - Leading with exercise;
Best Practice exercise programs and management perspectives 

Date 4.9.2020

Registration has ended. Please see webinar video and other material here.

While chronological ageing is inevitable, what we do to combat the physiological changes is another matter. World Health Organization (WHO) has identified three factors that influence trajectories of ability: the intrinsic capacity of the individual, the environments they inhabit, and the interaction between them. A key aspect of health and wellness is physical activity. The benefits of the inclusion of exercise at older age are clear; From prevention of falls and improvements in cognitive function to reduced mortality, exercise is a key aspect in improving quality of life. 

To maximise the health and wellness benefits of exercise, planning and exercise prescription must be performed accurately. Thankfully, research projects and clinical reports from both residential and community care have provided details on how to create, manage and run, successful programs that provide better health and quality of life to all. 
The global COVID-19 Pandemic has forced us all to isolate and whilst we are slowly re-opening society, we are facing setbacks after months of reduced activity. One day this second wave will also end, and then it is time to return to training, with even more motivation to be healthy.

We have invited people to share their knowledge on Exercise prescription and program creation and management, to maximise the benefits of exercise and wellness programs.

Dr Jennie Hewitt – "Exercise in residential care; practical tips on success factors from the Sunbeam Program and beyond"

Jennifer is a practicing physiotherapist, educator and academic researcher with a passion for delivering best practice to her clients, and leading research that informs health care policy. She was recently awarded the ACSA Australian National Lifetime Achievement Award for services to aged and community care, a National Commendation Award from the Aged Care Quality Agency, and the 2019 Morley Award for the paper most likely to influence policy and practice from the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Her work has been used successfully to advocate for Australian Aged Care Funding Reform. Her most recent collaboration designed and delivered an intervention that resulted in a 55% reduction in falls rates for residents of aged care, an internationally recognised, ground-breaking result. A cost-effectiveness analysis of the intervention identified a potential AUD $120M saving to the health economy. Most importantly to Jennifer, those that conducted the intervention improved their physical performance and functional ability, allowing them to participate more fully in life. Jennifer has attracted national and international investment into the Australian research sector and is a Keynote and Invited Conference Speaker within Australia and abroad. She has a Master of Health Science (Sports Physiotherapy) and a PhD from the University of Sydney.

SUNBEAM research and results, including details of the protocol have been published as follows:
•    Hewitt J, Goodall S, Clemson L, Henwood T, Refshauge K. Progressive Resistance and Balance Training for Falls Prevention in Long-Term Residential Aged Care: A Cluster Randomized Trial of the Sunbeam Program. (2018) J Am Med Dir Assoc. Apr;19(4):361-369. 
•    Hewitt J, Refshauge KM, Goodall S, Henwood T, Clemson L. Does progressive resistance and balance exercise reduce falls in residential aged care? Randomized controlled trial protocol for the SUNBEAM program. (2014) Clin Interv Aging. Feb 21;9:369-76.

Dr Justin Keogh - “Optimising outcomes from exercise programs for community dwelling older adults”

Justin Keogh is an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University where he teaches motor control and learning, exercise prescription and more recently research design. He is currently a Fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology and the International Society of Biomechanics in Sport.

Dr Keogh’s research focuses on better understanding the acute and chronic responses to exercise, in particular resistance and motor skill training; with the ultimate aim to improve physical performance for athletes as well as older adults at risk of disability and poor health outcomes.

With respect to the older populations, his research focuses on the geriatric condition, sarcopenia and its potential relationship to aged care utilisation and cancer survivorship. In order to translate this evidence into usual care practice, some of his health research examines the determinants of exercise and physical activity in older populations as well as the determinants of exercise promotion by the medical and allied health professionals.

In conjunction with Dr Tim Henwood, Dr Keogh was the winner of the 2019 Sustainable Healthcare Awards: Research Category for their joint work in this area.

MUAD research and results, including details of the protocol have been published as follows:
•    Hetherington S, Henwood T, Swinton P, Keogh J, Gardiner P, Tuckett A. (2018) Engineering improved balance confidence among older adults with complex health care needs: Learning from the Muscling Up Against Disability study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. Apr 4. 
•    Keogh JW, Henwood T, Gardiner P, Tuckett A, Hodgkinson B, Rouse K. Examining evidence based resistance plus balance training in community-dwelling older adults with complex health care needs: Trial protocol for the Muscling Up Against Disability project. (2017) Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Jan - Feb;68:97-105.

Paul Johnson - “Creating a new business opportunity”

Paul’s career in the ageing industry has spanned two states, over two decades and across the spectra of service provider, industry adviser and public servant.  With qualifications in human services and management, Paul is passionate about exceptional customer service, redefining ageing, enjoying life and a great cup of coffee. Paul is the Chief Opportunity Officer at BallyCara and has performed a lead role in the design and implementation of their Health and Wellness services which has exercise as a core pillar of intervention.

BallyCara’s SONA™ methodology ensures a commitment to embracing each person as an individual, enhancing their independence and enabling people to prosper with real happiness. This has provided solid foundations from which to successfully implement Short Term Restorative Care across two Queensland regions since 2017. BallyCara is the Active Ageing Partner for Netball Queensland and Major Partner of Walking Netball across South East Queensland.

Paul actively engages with key stakeholders across Australia and continues to contribute to national policy development and reform of Australia’s aged care system through his involvement with LASA.  Paul is a member of the LASA Members’ Advisory Committee in Queensland and is Deputy Chair of the ADA Australia Board.

Jo Boylan - “Keeping people better for life through exercise”

Jo Boylan is the Executive of Services at Southern Cross Care SA & NT. She holds a Bachelor and Master of Nursing and a Master in Public Health, and is undertaking her PhD focusing on the promotion of healthy ageing in residential aged care.

She aims to influence a vision of improved health across the life cycle and compression of morbidity through practicing active and healthy ageing for health improvement, despite age or illness. Over the past 10 years Jo has been leading organisational reorientations toward healthy ageing across residential, community and retirement living communities. With her operational team, Jo has led the implementation of over 25 gyms into residential homes. Her health ageing achievements include development and implementation of a healthy ageing model, presentations at international conferences, appointments to national and state aged care advisory groups, adjunct teaching positions with SA Universities and winning 10 national better practice awards for the delivery of healthy ageing into residential aged care.

Jo has significant aged care and management credentials from a 25 year career within the aged care industry which spans companies such as ACH Group and Lutheran Homes. She has also had close involvement with a range of policy issues affecting the aged care sector as an advisor to government departments and as a member of aged care sector reference groups and programs. In addition, Jo has travelled the world studying and presenting papers at international forums on a range of matters pertaining to best practice in care and support for older people.

Covid-19 Exercise, Nutrition and Health in Isolation

Date May 29, 2020

Registration has ended. Please see webinar video and other material here.

While the COVID-19 Pandemic is forcing us all to isolate at home, it is important that we try to remain positive and healthy. The evidence is clear on the key factors; with the right nutrition and exercise we can maintain our muscles and give our bodies the best chance to fight illness. To provide you with the best information, to look after yourself and everyone around you, we invited people to share their knowledge on these key messages on how to eat and exercise well.

Webinar Topics

Dr Tim Henwood – “Muscle health”. With an extensive research publication list on strength training in people over 65 years of age, Tim will discuss the evidence on strength training, right exercise modes and how to avoid muscle loss, sarcopenia.

Ngaire Hobbins – “Nutrition”. As a clinical dietician and an author of three books on nutritional advice to fight the physiological changes of ageing, Ngaire will talk about the importance of protein intake and a balanced diet.

Dr Sharon Hetherington – “Home exercises”. With both research and clinical experience in community exercise in both gym and home settings, Sharon will give us advice on how to keep exercising at home.

Bob Barnard - “Health in isolation” with more than 40 years of clinical knowledge on patient management, Bob will discuss the transition of exercise management from clinic to home with clinical cases and considerations.

Speakers Profiles

Dr Tim Henwood is a special population exercise physiologist with a wide research publication record on targeted exercise programs for adults 65 years and over. He currently holds a role as the Group Manager for Community Wellness & Lifestyle with Southern Cross Care SA & NT and with a specific interest in older adults with complex healthcare needs. Tim is a strong advocate for targeted exercise and therapy - with correct exercise prescription even the oldest and most unhealthy adults can be re-abled back to better health and wellbeing.

Ngaire Hobbins is an Accredited Practising Dietitian specialising in gerontology, cognitive health, aged care and dementia in the past two decades. She wishes to help all older people enjoy independent, productive and fulfilling lives in their later years. As a clinician, she enjoys the chance to translate complex science into language and sensible, practical advice for everyday people. Ngaire has published three books giving everyday people advice on sensible, practical eating, based on scientific research.

Dr Sharon Hetherington is an accredited exercise physiologist with a doctorate in the field of exercise and healthy ageing. She has a keen interest in using adaptive technologies to help people exercise safely at home. Her work with Exercise & Sports Science Australia and with Burnie Brae Ltd have helped to progress an understanding of how exercise at home can improve the health and independence of older people.

Bob Barnard is an exercise physiologist who manages the Centre for Physical Activity in Ageing within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. He has held that position for 17 years in an over 40 year career in various health and rehabilitation settings within the South Australian Department of Health and Ageing. He has a major interest, including research, in the benefits of prescribed exercise interventions for adult and especially older populations with chronic disease including chronic heart failure and renal failure into dialysis.