Warm up for work. Your body will thank you.

Just like cranking a car, a warm up gets your body working and ready for the day ahead.

Many people think that warming up is done only before playing sport. This is not the case. Warming up prepares both the body and mind for more strenuous activity such as the tasks you perform every day at work.

Think about how you start your day: In the mornings our bodies are generally cool. We have been in bed for the past 8 hours, gotten up, had some breakfast and then driven to work – not really considered strenuous work. Therefore, the body and its muscles are not necessarily prepared to handle the work tasks ahead.

A warm up is a great, refreshing way to start your shift. Additionally, if you’ve just finished your lunch break, blood flow is being diverted from your muscles to your digestive tract to help you metabolise your food. Therefore, a brief warm up before you return to work will help you get the blood flowing back to your muscles and brain again – which leaves your mind and body ready for work. Similarly, if you’ve hit a mid-afternoon slump, try an afternoon warm up instead of a chocolate bar or coffee!

Some of the specific benefits of a short warm up include:

  • Fatigue busting: a warm up increases the hormones that help regulate energy production. An effective warm up can also initiate sweating signals which will improve the cooling mechanisms and assist in thermoregulation while they work. Both of these are excellent at helping to delay the onset of fatigue.
  • Heart: increased heart rate and improved blood flow from a warm up reduces cardiovascular strain and improves nutrient delivery to muscles and joints.
  • Brain: mental preparation can enhance task focus for improved efficiency and decreased accident risks.
  • Improved range of motion: more ‘elastic’ muscles make for less resistance and reduced internal strain on your joints. Movement also stimulates joint lubrication.
  • Muscle temperature: warmer muscles contract smoothly and more efficiently, reducing the risk of straining.


Preparing muscles for a day’s work can also alleviate seemingly unrelated body aches because a tight muscle in one spot can lead to pain in other areas.

For example, consider you are experiencing tight hamstrings. When hamstrings are tight it can lead to lower back, knee and hip pain. Tight hamstrings can prevent the knees from straightening or the pelvis from ‘untucking’. A tucked pelvis is the primary cause of pelvic floor disorders and lower back pain. For a strong pelvic floor and back pain relief, lengthening the hamstrings is a requirement.

In summary – Warming up before you start your day can help build and improve your muscle strength. It helps muscles become more pliable, flexible and ready for movement as well as increase blood flow. More blood means more oxygen to the muscles meaning they can work more efficiently at less risk of injury. In addition, the brain needs oxygen to function well so a warm up is also a great way to stay focused and mentally sharp.



Find out more Would you like to learn more about how a proper warm up for work routine can benefit your workforce? Or are you ready to implement regular warm up for work routines? We can help educate your staff, train ‘warm up for work champions’ to run regular warm up for work routines, or we can deliver them for you. Chat to us today about the many options available.

Why walk or run? (aside from the fun)

“If exercise could be packed in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”

– Dr. Robert Butler, founder of the National Institute of Aging.


Aside from diet, exercise is an extremely important factor in longevity. A large study of over 600,000 people found that those doing the recommended amount of exercise had a 20% lower risk of death than those who were physically inactive.

But you don’t have to hit the gym. Walking and running are great ways to improve or maintain your health. They are activities which require minimal equipment, are free or low cost, and can be done almost anywhere at whatever pace you feel comfortable with.

Regular walking or running improves aerobic fitness which make them very beneficial for cardiovascular health. If you are new to exercise, then it doesn’t need to be vigorous or lengthy in order to improve your health. Some studies have shown that inactive people that begun low levels of exercise – around 75 minutes of walking per week – improved their fitness levels significantly.


Aside from cardiovascular fitness, regular weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking and running can:

  • strengthen bones, posture, and balance.
  • help manage body fat.
  • boost muscle power and endurance.
  • improve the management of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain.
  • reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.


You may have heard of these physical health benefits before. But did you know regular aerobic exercise like walking and running also induce many physiological and psychological changes which help your mental health? Some of these include:

  • changes in your brain which help you become more resilient to stress.
  • improvements in working memory, focus, and task-switching abilities.
  • enhanced sleep quality and ability to focus during the day.
  • improved mood and decreased depressive symptoms.


So now you know the why, how do you get started? Just like a toddler, you should walk before you run. For beginner walkers, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Walk short distances – start with a five-minute stroll and slowly increase your distance.
  • Forget about speed – start off walking at a comfortable pace. Focus on maintaining good posture, by keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.
  • Swing your arms naturally and breathe deeply. If you can’t catch your breath, slow down or avoid hills.
  • Be sure that you can talk while walking. If you can’t speak, you are walking too fast.
  • Spend 15 minutes exercising during your lunch break. You’ll eat less while clocking up more active minutes.


Becoming physically active after the age of 40 can reduce your risk of heart disease by 55%, compared to those who had been inactive all their lives. Get walking (then running) to reduce your risk.


Our group exercise sessions or fitness-based competitions are a great way to promote physical activity and health and wellness while generating enthusiasm and enjoyment amongst your employees. Sessions cater for all levels of fitness and strength to help your employees meet their overall wellness goals. Contact us to learn more.

Top tips for a healthy festive season.

The festive season can be full of late nights, travelling and overindulging, all of which can impact your physical and mental health. Keep our top tips in mind this holiday season and shine a little brighter.

Tip #1 – Make some time for shut-eye. When stress and anxiety mount during the festive season, it can be hard to fall or stay asleep. But good quality shut eye can calm frazzled nerves. Put your worries out of your mind before you climb into bed. At least an hour before bed:

  • Make a list of any worries or concerns.
  • Write down the tasks that you’re worried will go undone.
  • Put the list in a safe place until morning.

Aim for seven hours of sleep each night for good physical and mental health.

Tip #2 – Keep an eye on your alcohol intake. As your body processes alcohol, you lose fluids and electrolytes causing your body to dehydrate. This is what makes the hangover the next day feel even worse. To avoid dehydration, make sure you alternate between one serve of alcohol and one glass of water. Also make sure you eat a nutritious meal before a big night out.

Tip #3 – Eat well as often as you can. Researchers have identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost. In addition, an Australian study by Nutrition Australia identified Aussies will gain an average of 0.8 – 1.5kgs over this period(1), thanks to larger portion sizes, more alcohol consumption and a larger range of calorie-dense foods. Try these simple tips to stay healthy during the silly season:

  • Avoid going to parties hungry. Before the party eat something light. Think apple, yoghurt or wholegrain sandwich with chicken.
  • Don’t try to lose weight over the Christmas season. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.
  • Watch your portion sizes. If your willpower is weak and you know you will want to finish everything in front of you, use an entrée plate instead of a dinner plate. That way you are sure to eat less.
  • Fill up with foods from the BOTTOM layer of the Healthy Living Pyramid. These foods include vegetables, fruit, legumes, rice, pasta and cereals.
  • Watch what you drink. There are hidden kilojoules in both the mixer and alcohol in drinks, so keep tabs on how much you are drinking and be aware of the extra kilojoules.


Tip #4 – Keep on moving.  Currently, there is no other ‘medicine’ with greater benefits for the body than physical exercise. This party season, balance those nights out and office lunches with some physical activity. Try to exercise in the morning, before the family or work gatherings start, so you can relax and enjoy the day. The festive season is also the perfect time to use your family and friends to help keep you motivated, so invite them along.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Team Health by Design!

References: (1) – SBS –https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/12/09/heres-easy-proven-way-prevent-gaining-weight-these-holidays


Safe Work Month is now on. Working together to ensure a safe workspace for all.

October is National Safe Work Month, an initiative that prioritises the safety and wellbeing of all Australians in the workplace. This campaign, founded by Safe Work Australia, aims to raise awareness about the importance of work health and safety (WHS) and provide resources outlining how businesses and individuals can prioritise their safety and wellbeing.

The overarching goal of Safe Work Month is to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities and foster a safe work culture. Safe Work Australia data reveals that around 169 people died doing their job in 2021, and 130,195 workers made serious workers’ compensation claims in 2020-2021. Safe Work Month represents an ongoing commitment to promoting safe work practices.

This year, two key focus areas are:

  1. Working together to protect workers’ mental health. Protecting workers’ mental health is just as important as protecting their physical health. Psychosocial hazards are hazards that can cause psychological harm, such as anxiety or depression, and can include hazards such as intense job demands, remote or isolated work or workplace conflict. Psychological harm can have serious consequences if left unchecked and it is important that workplaces comply with the psychosocial hazards Code of Practice.
  2. Working together to support all workers. All workers have a right to be safe at work. When promoting safety at work, it’s important to consider the needs of all workers. This includes understanding how to support and address factors that may put some workers at higher risk of harm than others. Factors such as age, background, work contract and work isolation can all contribute to how at risk a worker might be to physical or psychological harm.

It is the responsibility of the workplace to foster a safe environment and empower their employees to promote a healthy workplace. Implementing robust safety policies, providing necessary training and fostering a safe work culture can help business owners reduce the risk of workplace injury.

Safe Work Month is a powerful reminder that safety is a shared responsibility, whether you’re an employer, employee or external stakeholder. Actively striving for a safe workplace environment and supporting the Safe Work Month campaign contributes to the broader goal of making workplaces across Australia safer and healthier.

For more information about creating a healthy workplace, visit www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/national-safe-work-month or contact us about our workplace programs and services.

Physical and Mental Wellbeing in Trades

Being a tradie is a demanding job and can be both mentally and physically taxing. This month, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has developed the Tradies National Health Month, with the goal to focus on the health and wellbeing of Australian trade workers.

The time taken off work by tradies due to poor physical health or injury not only affects the tradies themselves, but it can impact their families, businesses, communities, and long term health. Despite tradies constituting 30% of the workforce, they are disproportionately represented in work-related injury statistics. One recent survey organised by the APA revealed that tradies account for:

  • 60% of all injury and musculoskeletal disorders across all occupations
  • 39% of all medical conditions across all occupations
  • 40% of serious claims for upper limb injuries (i.e., hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder)


In addition to these stats, 69% of tradies believe that being sore is a normal part of their work and 60% often report aches and pains due to work. Left untreated, small aches and pains can lead to more serious chronic conditions that can impact a tradie’s ability to work and be healthy. Due to these physical demands, the Tradies National Health Month initiative is raising awareness by encouraging individuals and businesses to prioritise the physical health of tradies.

In addition to the physical toll of trade work, tradies have also reported that their work can impact their mental health. 1 in 4 (25%) tradies experienced mental illness, which is higher than the Australian average of 1 in 5 (20%) individuals. An alarming statistic from a recent study revealed that Australian construction workers are 70% more likely to take their own lives than employees in other industries. This statistic is even higher among young tradesmen. The discussion of mental health is still regarded as somewhat taboo, with 21% of tradies believing their coworkers will think they are “soft” if they complain about being sore on the job. This culture, on top of long hours, physically demanding tasks, and unforgiving weather conditions, can leave tradies feeling tired, lonely, burnt out, and disconnected from friends and family. Ignoring these feelings can lead to tradies facing more severe mental health disorders down the road.

Under Work, Health, and Safety laws, it is the duty of care of the business to manage risks of both physical and psychological harm to their workers. While the workplace has a responsibility to protect their employees, there are also some steps tradies can follow to prioritise their physical and mental health.

Some tips to maintain good physical health, both onsite and off, include the following:

  1. Stretching: Stretching has a range of health benefits, including increasing your range of motion, improving your posture, increasing blood flow to your muscles, and preventing injury and back pain. 5-10 minutes of stretching before and after work can hugely benefit your physical health down the line.
  2. Fuel your body correctly: This means drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious food throughout the day.
  3. Take frequent breaks: Pushing yourself too hard without proper breaks can affect your concentration and energy levels. This increases the risk of making mistakes, which can put yourself and others in harm’s way. This is especially important if the task requires a lot of lifting and/or physical work.
  4. Get plenty of sleep: Aim for a consistent 7-10 hours of sleep per night. Getting quality sleep is vital for your physical and mental wellbeing, as it resets your mind and repairs your body.


In addition to these steps, it’s important to stay physically fit to meet the demands of work without it impacting your physical health. While tradies may be very physically active throughout the workday, strengthening other muscle groups will reduce the overall risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Physical abilities can also diminish with age, so maintaining physical capacity through exercise is important.

In addition to maintaining physical health, there are also steps that can be taken to support mental health. Below are some simple steps to help create a psychologically safe environment.

  1. Look out for your mates: It is sometimes noticeable when a co-worker or friend is not quite themselves. Co-workers who seem stressed, irritable, or have poor concentration or memory may be struggling. Identifying this and asking them if they are ok is a good way to let them know you’ve got their back.
  2. Start a conversation: It can be difficult for tradies to open up when they feel their work environment encourages them to “just get on with it”. This kind of thinking can be harmful and it can make a big difference to start a tough conversation by asking someone about their wellbeing. Any temporary awkwardness is worth the positive impact it can have down the line.
  3. Take care of yourself: Make sure to prioritise your own mental health. Make time for whatever it is that makes you happy, whether it’s going to the gym, hanging out with friends, or spending time on hobbies. Most importantly, if you are going through a difficult time, it is important to open up to friends and family because keeping silent can make things worse.
  4. Seek professional help: While there can be stigma to seeking out help, it is one of the most powerful and helpful things you can do if you are struggling with mental health. If you are unsure how to go about this, a conversation with a GP is a great way to start. Health professionals are trained to handle mental health concerns and can give you the support you need.


It is important for tradies to prioritise their mental and physical health to ensure a safe workplace as well as a long, healthy career. Starting conversations around physical and mental health is the first step in reversing the current statistics and improving workplace culture.

Benefits of cutting back on alcohol

As July rolls around, thousands of Australians are going alcohol-free to raise money for those affected by cancer. The next 30 days can be a strong test of willpower, in what can sometimes feel like an impossible task of not consuming any alcohol. While raising awareness for Dry July is definitely its own reason to consider staying sober for the next month, there are many other benefits as to why you might consider abstaining from alcohol.

Cutting back on drinking is shown to have a myriad of health benefits on your body, giving your organs a well-needed break from alcohol consumption. The biggest benefit is liver relief, as alcohol contributes to both a buildup of fat in the liver as well as tissue scarring. The good news is the liver is incredibly tolerant, and when you stop drinking, alcohol-related damage is reversed and improvements are seen in a matter of weeks.

Regular alcohol consumption also impacts your heart health by slowing down your metabolism and increasing your cholesterol. Reducing your alcohol intake can significantly improve your cardiovascular health, as abstaining from alcohol can improve your blood pressure and reduce alcohol-related risk of stroke and heart disease.

Reducing alcohol can also decrease your risk of developing alcohol-associated cancers, with research finding links between liver, breast, colorectal, and esophageal cancer with alcohol consumption. Finally, research has shown that reducing alcohol intake can help with weight loss. This is because of the high caloric density of alcohol and the overconsumption of food (usually fast food and snacks) when drinking.

If the physical benefits weren’t enough, cutting back on alcohol has been shown to positively impact your mental and cognitive health. Neurologically, consistent heavy drinking has been shown to shrink the frontal lobes of the brain, consequently impairing thinking skills. Alcohol can also damage gray matter, a part of the brain responsible for processing information. Fortunately, however, this damage is reversible and the brain can completely re-heal the damage done by alcohol during periods of abstinence. Drinking can also affect mood, as alcohol can exacerbate symptoms of mental illness including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Taking some time off alcohol helps you think with more clarity and handle any existing mental health issues in a much more positive way. In addition, not drinking alcohol can improve the quality of your sleep, which also contributes to improved concentration, increased energy levels, and better mood.

Another reason to consider cutting back on drinking is for the financial benefit. Even if one glass of wine or a bottle of beer feels like a small purchase on its own, if you drink frequently this cost adds up. Based on a 2020 survey, the average Australian spends around $1900 a year on alcohol ($32 per week). Even if this expenditure on its own isn’t enough reason, not drinking also means saving money on alcohol-related expenses, such as Ubers and taxis, and late night meals.

If you are thinking of cutting back on your alcohol intake but don’t know where to start, here are some tips:

  1. Write out your intentions and goals: Set limits with measureable guidelines. Decide the maximum number of drinks you want to drink per day and the maximum number of days a week you want to drink. Then ask yourself why? Is it for health or financial reasons, or to get better sleep? Consider how you can meet these goals and how to incorporate more alcohol-free days into your week.
  2. Identify your triggers and plan ahead: Work out why you typically drink – are you more of a social drinker, or do you drink more when you’re stressed? Identifying these triggers means you can develop coping strategies that don’t rely on alcohol.
  3. Find support: Share your goals with friends or family who can provide encouragement and hold you accountable. Even try to convince friends to join you in cutting back drinking.
  4. Explore alternatives: Find non-alcoholic beverages that you enjoy drinking! Whether it’s a mocktail, alcohol-free wines and beers, or other drinks that might satisfy your cravings.
  5. Choose drinks containing less alcohol: If trying to cut back, consider ways to choose less alcoholic drink options. This can look like mid strength beers, or ordering a small glass of wine instead of a large.
  6. Pace yourself: Sip drinks slowly, don’t chug them. Avoid getting refills and focus on drinking only one standard drink per hour to give your liver some time to metabolise the alcohol.
  7. Stay hydrated: Having a glass of water in between each drink not only keeps you hydrated but is an easy way to slow down your alcohol intake.
  8. Be kind to yourself! Cutting back on alcohol can be difficult. Celebrate small victories and focus on the positive changes. If you slip up, don’t give up.

Importantly, reducing your alcohol intake gives you a chance to reevaluate your relationship with drinking. While many people think they have a healthy relationship, research has shown many people underestimate how much alcohol they are drinking. Abstaining from alcohol provides you an opportunity to see what life looks like without drinking and reflect on the impact this has on your health, relationships, productivity, and whether alcohol has prevented you from dedicating time to pursue hobbies and interests.