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How can we get motivated to exercise daily?

FITNESS: Chris Sharp

I’VE BEEN in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years now and the thing I see most that stops my clients achieving their goals is self-doubt and not believing they can actually be the best version of themselves.

Life’s pressures such as relationships, work and illnesses will halt them and, on many occasions, they give up.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself; if you get off the fitness wagon, you just have to get back on.”

It’s always important to look at the big picture; one of my favourite sayings is “health is not just for now, it’s for life”.

Dealing with Setbacks: How to Stay Motivated When Feeling Flat

It is estimated that 60–70 per cent of the Australian population does not engage in regular physical activity.

The most common reasons as to why people fail to stick to a regular exercise regimen include lack of time, inability to get to a gym, lack of motivation, fear of injury, and misconceptions about exercise.

Barriers such as these have caused a majority of us to sacrifice regular physical activity, an element that is as vital to our health and well-being as food, water, and shelter.

By taking a closer look at the barriers that keep us glued to our couches, I hope to help anyone out there who is struggling to overcome them.

Here are some common excuses and ways to combat them on days you’re feeling flat: “I don’t have the energy to exercise.”

It can be a struggle to get moving at times.

But I can guarantee that once your body becomes accustomed to regular workouts, not only will your energy levels soar, but sitting still will become the struggle! I still remember being new to exercising on my own, not playing a team sport and sometimes dreading what lay ahead, but before I knew it, I began craving the workouts because I loved the way I felt afterwards.

“I don’t have enough time to exercise.”

This is the one I hear most of all and I often use this equation to quantify my response.

There are 168 hours in a week.

If you exercised at least three hours, that’s only 5.6 per cent of your time consumed by exercise.

It’s really not much is it?

One of the leading reasons many of us fail to stick to a regular exercise routine is the belief that we never have extra time.

With the busy lifestyles most of us lead, it can seem almost impossible to fit in a workout every day.

However, studies have shown that if we can commit 30 minutes a day to some form of physical activity, our health, well-being and productivity can improve dramatically.

I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is unable to dedicate just a half hour a day to their fitness, even if that means splitting 30 minutes into two sets of 15 minutes or three sets of 10.

Whether it be taking the stairs instead of the lift to the office, taking a walk during your lunch break, kicking the footy or throwing a ball or Frisbee around with the kids after work (I’m sure they would appreciate it!) or hiring a mobile trainer to train you at the destination/time of your choice, there are plenty of ways to keep active throughout the day.

When we exercise, endorphins (AKA ‘happy hormones’) are produced by and released into the body, causing an overall sense of happiness, relaxation and well-being.

So, if low energy levels are preventing you from staying active, focus on how fantastic you will feel if instead you were wide awake from working out!

“Exercise is boring…”

This is one I also hear a fair bit!

This is only the case if you choose boring activities!

You wouldn’t wear the same clothes all week, or eat the same food every day, so if physical activity is as vital to our well-being as these things, why choose the same boring exercise?

Choose something you enjoy, whether it is dancing, a sport, or having a personal trainer provide you with a program that caters to your likes and dislikes.

Ensure that you mix up your exercise routine, so you are not taking part in the same activity every day (e.g., Monday night dance class, Wednesday night personal training session, Friday afternoon beach jog/walk).

Do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

This way your mind stays motivated and your body stays challenged.

“Exercise is too painful”, or “I’m afraid I’ll injure myself”

The old saying “no pain, no gain” is one that should be disregarded completely! Exercise DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT need to be painful to be beneficial and effective.

Yes, it may be true that if you are training towards an elite level of fitness (such as an athlete or bodybuilder preparing for competition), you will need to endure an elevated level of intensive training.

However, for those of us who wish to exercise for the sake of general health and happiness, a moderate level of activity will suffice.

Still, it is important that as fitness increases, the intensity of our workouts increase as well to ensure that our bodies continue to respond to the activity by getting stronger and more capable.

You can do this on your own by increasing duration of activity, or number or sets per exercise.

Alternatively, a good personal trainer will be able to provide a program suited to your goals and adjust it according to increases in your fitness levels.

At NO stage throughout a workout should any pain be experienced, and if it is, the activity should be ceased immediately.

But there’s a difference between the pain of injury and the burn you feel when challenging your body.

A great instructor once told a class I was participating in, “This is not pain. This is just necessary discomfort!”, and I think a life of looking and feeling fantastic is worth enduring a bit of “necessary discomfort.”

The barriers mentioned above are only a few of the ones that can prevent us from engaging in regular physical activity, and I have only offered several of the many ways you can overcome them.

The main idea is to work on changing your perspective to get the motivation you need.

Next time you are tempted to put off your workout regimen until tomorrow or next week, remember all the benefits of exercise awaiting you, pull on those trainers, and get yourself on the track towards achieving the optimal health, fitness and well-being you deserve!

 

Chris Sharp owns and operates rivvaPT at 4/5 266 Yarra St Warrandyte

A place to call home

There are numerous native animals that are dependent on naturally hollowed out sections of trees.

These cavities can occur within both living and dead trees, with an entrance to the outside environment where the animals can enter and exit from.

Natural hollows range in size from small cracks to large vertical hollowed out cavities similar to a chimney.

These hollows can occur in the trunk or horizontal limbs with the hollows and entrances at any height.   

Bush fire, lightning strikes or breaking branches can expose the trees to the elements and the cavities are then largely created by termites, beetle larvae and moth larvae which feed on the internal dead wood of the tree (heartwood).   

Fungus can also assist with rotting the timber and fire can further influence the enlargement of the cavities.

These cavities allow the animals to shelter and breed.

Most native trees in Greater Warrandyte are around one hundred years old and are regrowth from the last large scale mining ventures that ended around the beginning of WWI, in 1914.

Some of Warrandyte’s native animals such as gliders, phascogales, possums, parrots, ducks and owls are unable to create their own hollows.

Different animals have different nesting requirements, mainly due to their size.

Nest boxes provide an important supplement to the lack of naturally occurring hollows, in particular the larger ones.

Increasing in popularity is the creation of artificial hollows cut into the trunks of dead trees.

Throughout Melbourne I have seen a growing trend of large dead trees being trimmed of branches and cavities being cut into the upper trunk.

Most of these animals use multiple hollows and regularly change hollows.

This helps keep their hollows clean and free of parasites or disease.

It also helps them avoid predators such as owls which quickly learn which hollows are in use.

Because they rotate homes we need to provide multiple nest boxes to support each individual animal.

I aim to provide two to three nest boxes for each target animal.

Natural tree hollows provide excellent insulation against the cold/heat and last for a very long time.

It is very important to use thick timber or materials that are strong, rot/rust proof and have adequate insulation properties for animal comfort.

I use treated pine that is at least 25mm in thickness as this will begin to provide enough thermal insulation for wildlife.

I also use screws and hinges that are corrosion free and paint the interior and exterior for aesthetics and longevity.

I fasten internal ladders for both marsupials and birds.

They will also provide grip for the young animals that might struggle with climbing.

I also cut external grooves entirely around the entrances for possums to grip on.

I have studied possums exiting the nests at night and they tend to immediately climb upwards so it is important to have grip around the entirety of the entrance.

When installing the nest box I will select a location away from general disturbance and bright lights.

I like to orient the nest box on the side of larger trees and on the south side of the trunks away from the hot afternoon sun.

As most animals will use boxes at about four metres high I usually install the box using a large ladder such as an extension ladder.

Ensure the ladder is tied to the tree for safety and remember that you will want to access your box to inspect it later.

The higher the installation the further away from disturbance the animals will be.

I usually fasten the boxes using plastic coated wire.

As the growing tree trunk expands this may require adjustment over time as it gets tighter.

Spring-wire can assist with allowing the attachments to expand and require fewer adjustments over time.

Generally, you do not need to clean your box.

I will deposit fine mulch in the base for comfort and further insulation.

Most wildlife keep their nests clean.

A few species, such as the phascogale, will soil the inside of their boxes.

That is their normal behaviour.

Cleaning your boxes may stress the animal and cause the animals to temporarily desert the box.

A few small holes or gaps in the base of the box can help drain any water and keep it dry.

It may only take days or weeks before animals such as possums move in whereas others that are seasonal, such as birds, you may have results during the breeding seasons, usually in spring.

Also remember that wildlife move between hollows (and nest boxes) on a regular basis so some of the boxes will be vacant at any given time.

You will often find signs that your box has been used (feathers, scats or nest material including bark or leaves) even though the animal is not at home.

I usually incorporate folding lids that are the easiest way to check inside boxes.

Increasingly popular is the installation of cameras either inside the box or by installing an automated wildlife camera on a nearby tree.

This will monitor what comes in and out of the box.

These pictures are a sample of some of the recent success I have had with providing homes to our local animals in Warrandyte.

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The lingering infection of terra niullius

By JIM POULTER

EVERYBODY is familiar with the term “terra nullius”.

Australia was purportedly owned by no-one and the British used the term to justify colonisation.

Nowadays, almost everyone rejects the validity of this notion, but very few of us really understand its full implications.

We remain essentially unaware of how terra nullius still insidiously and unconsciously influences our thinking.

Aboriginal people hate the term terra nullius with a passion, and rightly so, because it strongly implies that Aboriginal people had a vacuous culture and achieved nothing.

After all, they were just a primitive bunch of people wandering around bumping into trees.

They did not use the land, had not even invented the wheel, and their only technological achievement was a bent stick that came back when you threw it.

Aboriginal people did of course cultivate the land, but not in the intensive, exploitative and unsustainable way that most other world cultures did.

All Aboriginal knowledge was integrated through the totem system to ultimately serve ecological purposes.

So whether it was knowledge related to science, art or religion, it was all focussed on ecological outcomes.

Even the nursery rhymes sung to little children had an ecological message.

Think of all the descriptors usually applied to traditional Aboriginal society.

Words like simple, primitive, pagan, uncivilized, nomadic, stone-age, hunter-gatherers.

These are all pejorative terms that put western civilisation at the highest level and Aboriginal society at the lowest level.

Never mind that western society has over the last 3000 years had a history of internecine war, conquest, rolling plagues, overpopulation, social inequality, gross disparities of wealth and poverty, plus religious and political persecution.

Aboriginal society had none of this, but ironically the sustained warfare of European and Asian history created the spur for technological achievement.

This technological advancement is then taken as a sign of a “higher” civilization.

Darwin put forward the idea of natural selection and this was immediately seen as a justification for western conquest and colonisation of others.

It was simply “survival of the fittest” in action. Many world cultures are so inured by their histories of warfare, that it is regarded as part of human nature. Many people therefore flatly refuse to believe there were never any wars of conquest or invasion in Aboriginal Australia.

The proof that there were no wars of conquest is simple.

Show me one myth, story, legend, dance or song from anywhere in Australia that depicts either the victories of a warrior king, the subjugation and enslavement of others, or an uprising against a despotic ruler. It just never happened.

The real problem is that spurious notions like this have seeped into our consciousness and we do not know how to challenge these received wisdoms.

This is the foundation of institutional racism, the process by which prejudicial ideas are ingrained into present day social perceptions.

However, this should not be interpreted as meaning that Australians are racist.

Australians are overwhelmingly fair minded people who meet and greet people as equals.

This is the cornerstone of our national culture. But what we fail to understand is how the prejudices of our forefathers continue to unwittingly shape our thinking.

The idea of terra nullius is in fact behind our inability to recognise a road or highway we are travelling on as an ancient songline.

It is behind our inability to recognise a river rapids area, like at Warrandyte township, as an original site for fish traps or a mussel farm.

It is also the reason why many historians make blatant errors when they try to interpret Aboriginal behaviours.

Their assumptions are often unconsciously based on ideas of European superiority.

Before giving a classic example of this fallacious thinking I will cite two facts.

First, Aboriginal people had ingrained cultural habits of listening and sound replication that made them gifted linguists. All Aboriginal children were brought up multilingual.

Second, Aboriginal people travelled extensively and safely through other tribal areas as long as they stuck to the designated songline and observed proper protocol.

However, when Aboriginal people tried to communicate these protocols to early colonists, it was wrongly assumed that Aboriginal people were frightened to leave their own country.

In 2008, AFL historian Gillian Hibbins, dismissed the possibility of any connection between Marngrook and Australian Football with the comment, “Aborigines….lived within quite clearly defined tribal areas, speaking a language different from those of other tribal areas.

“Aboriginal tribal strangers were regarded with suspicion and did not trespass without being killed.”

This comment clearly painted Aboriginal people as a simple, primitive, xenophobic and violent bunch.

Its roots were clearly embedded in the notion of terra nullius.

The comment is a glowing example of institutional racism by a historian who claims for herself the highest standards of academic scholarship.

Unfortunately, it is just one of many examples of the lingering infection of terra nullius.

It’s a jungle in the garden

Caught in the act

IT WAS JUST on dusk.

The male blue banded bees were erratically flying near the stems where they usually roost.

They should have begun to settle by now.

Only one or two had settled near the end of a stem that seemed to have an unusual bit of bright green foliage further down the stem.

This foliage was swaying and it was not from the wind.

I realised I was seeing an adult false garden mantis, usually enchanting to me, but this one was preying on one of my male blue banded bees.

Was I ever torn!

Should I take photos and let nature take its course, or save my special bees?

Perhaps as a compromise I took a quick photo then gently grasped the mantis and removed it from the area to discourage it from becoming a serial bee killer.

I felt a bit guilty that I caused it to drop the bee in its grasp which was already dead.

I guess a mantis has to eat too.

Philosophically, I might think that near the end of the season for blue banded bees most of the females may already have mated.

So perhaps one could say that the males had served their life purpose and that feeding a mantis could be their last remaining service.

Just two days ago I was marvelling at the lovely sight of the roosting blue banded bees.

I photographed them quickly before the sun touched them with a magic wake up call.

They were like a string of precious beads to me.

I had seen scattered ones earlier in the season but on this day I counted 17.

Each used its yellow jaws to clasp an arching dried stem where it would spend the night.

Their wings and hair on their bodies appeared undamaged so I assumed they had recently emerged from their nests.

Near the same spot last season, I first watched males jostling for the best roosting position in my garden.

That year I never counted more than nine.

I believe the population is growing as my pollinator garden develops.

Females must be nesting nearby but so far I have searched for their nesting burrows in vain.

If anyone in the greater Warrandyte region has discovered the female blue banded bees’ nests on their patch, please tell me.

My first leaf-cutting bee

Before I leave the topic of native bees I want to announce I have at least one leaf-cutting bee species in my garden.

This one is almost as large and its buzz is nearly as loud as the blue banded bees.

It is unlikely to use my bee posts where, closely related, the resin bees are quite at home.

I now search the broad-leaf plants in my garden for the perfect circle these bees cut out to line the cells of their nests.

Of course this may be occurring in my neighbours’ gardens.

Rose bushes, not found in my garden are a favourite.

However, they must have used indigenous plants in the past.

So far, my photos of them aren’t good enough for the Diary.

Finding the nests and getting better photos are my next challenge.

Caught in the act number two

“What is this very colourful bug on my eucalyptus tree?”

I’m often asked this time of year.

Hearing, “It is yellow-orange with blue diamonds on its back”, I suspect a juvenile of the aptly named eucalyptus tip wilter bug, amorbus species, as seen in my photo.

The adult in the next photo is larger with impressive looking hind legs but a rather drab brown by comparison.

Many are in my garden but little harm has been done.

Yellow-spotted epicoma moth

These notodontid moth caterpillars are very hairy and may be processionary as they move from one place to another.

Their hairs can cause a painful allergic reaction in people.

The larvae feed on the foliage of casuarina, eucalyptus, leptospermum and melaleuca species.

They are dark grey and hairy, but the head capsule is white with red sides bordered with black.

Pupation takes place in a sparse elliptical cocoon amongst the leaves or leaf litter of the food plant.

Some of the irritating hairs are attached to the pupal case.

The adults are frequently seen in summer to early autumn around Melbourne.

The month ahead

Until we have good rain, remember to leave drinking water at ground level for a range of small animals as well as keeping the birdbaths clean and full.

Honey bees may also visit but native bees get the liquid they need from nectar.

March is still a good month to watch for interesting insects including butterflies.

Let us know what you observe in your area.

Son-of-Kev: The legend lives on

By KATRINA BENNETT

Nothing says Aussie summer more than a beer and a barbie on the deck, surrounded by gum trees and your mates.

If you’re lucky enough to live in our fair suburb bisected by the Yarra, then you can probably add a few snakes, a half-dozen cashed up hippies and a couple of kookaburras.

Yes, let’s discuss dacelo novaeguineae.

Our chortlelicious feathered friend. The laughing kookaburra, known also as the kingfisher.

I’ve lived on the banks of the Yarra for a few years now and not once have I seen these jokers of the bush fish a king out the river.

Although, if recent photos are accurate, our king in all but name, Prince Phillip, looks like he’s just been fished out of somewhere.

But my personal favourite name for these fiendish feathered rapscallions is the laughing jackass.

The name conjures up images of toothless locals from the dirt farm, Idaho or a schoolie returning from the Gold Coast.

Now, don’t go thinking of me as some sort of amateur ornithologist.

Of course, not to be confused with an orthodontist, although, like the damn kookaburras, they also laugh when they see me coming.

Think of me more as an overcooked snag that the local kookaburra population has their beady eyes on. They’ve always had their eyes on me.

Just three years ago, I credited Kev, the tame patriarch of my property’s bird population for saving my life.

Yes, you read correct.

Saved.

My.

Life.

Kev had seen a few summers I reckon.

He was a bit scrawny and missing a few feathers but my little friend faithfully followed me around whenever I cut the grass.

One day, when I was nearing the end of pushing my lawn mower around for six kilometres in 40 degrees, Kev wacked me clean in the ear with his beak and growled as he swooped past.

Startled, I looked down and froze with my foot approximately two centimetres above a coiled tiger snake.

Needless to say Kev didn’t have to follow me anymore, he got to sit on the handle of the lawnmower and casually flutter down to the ground whenever he spied a tasty morsel in the grass.

But like all living legends his time eventually came and he became a legend. Fast forward three years and the son of Kev is now a grown up.

With his cocky strut and punk hairdo, he heads up the local avian chapter now.

Like all younger generations he wants to do things differently.

Mums and dads are soooo lame.

The minutest click from the BBQ starter button sends a ripple through the trees as Son-of-Kev and his mates desert the skate park, leaving their West End fish and chips for the pigeons.

By the time we attempt to sit down and eat, we are surrounded on all sides.

One by one my brave family slink away with their dinner plate to the sanctuary of indoors, heads tucked in their t-shirts.

Until it’s just me, three chicken wings and a Greek salad left to defend the family name.

Before I know, I’m one chicken wing and an olive down.

That’s OK, Son-of-Kev’s reaction to the olive is not dissimilar to mine.

My mirth over watching him trying to spit the wretched thing out is short lived as one of his cronies’ swoops from the pool fence and I’m left nursing some fetta and the final chicken wing.

Time slows down as we eye each other off. My world recedes to just Son-of-Kev, myself, and a water sprayer.

Like an old time gunslinger, I’m onto that trigger and spraying my nemesis fair in the feathers.

Turns out birds aren’t like cats; they don’t recoil from the spray, no, not Son-of-Kev.

Son-of-Kev lifts his wings, pirouettes to get full coverage, angles his head and winks at me.

Stymied, I’m hungry and I’m losing my sense of humour. It’s become woman vs wild. What would Mrs Bear Grylls do?

Option one: Backflip out of a plane.

Pointless, Son-of- Kev flies for a living and would probably show me up by doing a 720 cork.

Option two: Drink your own urine.

Seems extreme, I still have my water sprayer.

Option three: Defend yourself.

My eyes slide across the deck to where we keep our sports equipment.

Nodding my head, I glide out of my chair.

Turns out some Kookaburras are made of willow.

And nothing says Aussie summer more than cricket.

 

   Photo: Thomas Hudec