Health Effect of Climate Change

JC is doing an online course with Harvard’s extended online degrees called ‘Health Effects of Climate Change’. As we are in Spring in the Southern hemisphere, I see it as timely as we experience our seasons are changing dramatically. In Victoria we have experienced seasonal changes where usually spring is still cool we’ve had hot weather, fires, floods and then plunge back into cold – this is not how we remember our childhood springs – enjoy JC’s article.

The climate in here is so hot, even our treadmills are sweating. Must be climate change – your workout is on fire!” 😄🔥.  Seriously though, since we are experiencing changes in our climate, greater fires, bigger rains, it has been on the back of my mind especially growing up surrounded by big trees at Lake Tahoe. So, I decide to take a course on ‘Health Effects of Climate Change’ through Harvard’s extended online degrees. 
Climate change has a wider range of health effects that impact us as individuals, and communities in various ways. These health effects are often indirect and can result from a complex interplay of environmental, social, and economic factors. One unfortunate example is with the recent events and the flash flood in Libya.

  1. Heat-Related Illnesses: Rising temperatures can lead to an increase in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions, are at greater risk.
  2. Respiratory Problems: Climate change can worsen air quality by increasing the concentration of pollutants like ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. This can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma and allergies and lead to more respiratory-related hospitalizations.
  3. Vector-Borne Diseases: Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can expand the geographic range of disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks. This can lead to the spread of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Lyme disease to new areas.
  4. Waterborne Diseases: Increased temperatures and altered precipitation patterns can affect water quality and the distribution of pathogens in water sources. This can lead to an increased risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and diarrhea.
  5. Food Insecurity: Climate change can disrupt food production, reduce crop yields, and impact the availability and nutritional quality of food. Food insecurity can lead to malnutrition and related health problems.
  6. Mental Health Impacts: Climate change can result in extreme weather events, natural disasters, and displacement of communities, which can cause psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  7. Infectious Disease Spread: Changes in climate can affect the ecology and distribution of infectious diseases. This includes the potential for the emergence of new infectious diseases and the alteration of disease transmission patterns.
  8. Cardiovascular Problems: Extreme heat and air pollution can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.
  9. Vulnerable Populations: Vulnerable populations such as low-income communities, marginalized groups, and those with limited access to healthcare are disproportionately affected by the health impacts of climate change.
  10. Forced Migration: Climate change-induced disasters, such as hurricanes and sea-level rise, can displace communities and result in health challenges for displaced populations, including inadequate access to healthcare and sanitation.
  11. Water Scarcity: Droughts and changes in precipitation patterns can lead to water scarcity, affecting hygiene and sanitation, which in turn can lead to a higher incidence of water-related diseases.

Increased heat, and air pollution, can indeed contribute to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and asthma and it’s important to take steps to protect your health and fitness in such conditions. Some recommendations are:

  1. Monitor Air Quality: Stay informed about local air quality levels. Many areas provide real-time air quality reports through websites and apps. Avoid outdoor activities, including going to the gym, when air quality is poor.
  2. Choose Off-Peak Hours: If you decide to go to the gym, try to go during off-peak hours when the air quality may be better. Mornings or late evenings are often cooler and have lower pollution levels.
  3. Indoor Workouts: Consider indoor exercise options on days with poor air quality. Gyms with proper air filtration systems can provide a more controlled environment.
  4. Modify Exercise Intensity: When exercising outdoors in hot and polluted conditions, reduce the intensity and duration of your workout. Listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially when it’s hot. Dehydration can increase the strain on your cardiovascular system.
  6. Use Protective Gear: If you must exercise outdoors in polluted areas, wear a mask designed to filter out pollutants. It won’t filter out all particles, but it can help reduce exposure.
  7. Diversify Your Exercise Routine: Incorporate a variety of physical activities into your routine. This can include indoor workouts, swimming, yoga, or other exercises that are less affected by outdoor conditions.
  8. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you have existing cardiovascular conditions or respiratory issues, consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in vigorous physical activity in challenging environmental conditions.
  9. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep. These factors can help mitigate the overall risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  10. Advocate for Cleaner Air: Support policies and initiatives that aim to reduce air pollution and combat climate change. Cleaner air benefits everyone’s health.

Remember that the combination of heat and air pollution can be especially harmful to vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and individuals with pre-existing health conditions. It’s crucial to prioritize your health and take precautions to minimize your risk. If you’re concerned about exercising in your local environment, consult with a healthcare professional or a fitness trainer for personalized advice on how to maintain your fitness while minimizing health risks.
It is also important to note that these health effects are interconnected and can have cascading impacts on you, your family, on public health systems and infrastructure. Mitigating and adapting to climate change are crucial not only for protecting the environment but also for safeguarding human health and well-being. Public health strategies, policies, and international cooperation are essential components of addressing these health challenges in the face of climate change.

Luschkova D, Ludwig A, Traidl-Hoffmann C. Klimakrise und deren Auswirkungen auf die menschliche Gesundheit [Climate crisis and its impact on human health]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2021 Dec;146(24-25):1636-1641. German. doi: 10.1055/a-1560-7520. Epub 2021 Dec 8. PMID: 34879414.
Franchini M, Mannucci PM. Impact on human health of climate changes. Eur J Intern Med. 2015 Jan;26(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2014.12.008. Epub 2015 Jan 10. PMID: 25582074.
Patz JA, Grabow ML, Limaye VS. When it rains, it pours: future climate extremes and health. Ann Glob Health. 2014 Jul-Aug;80(4):332-44. doi: 10.1016/j.aogh.2014.09.007. Epub 2014 Nov 25. PMID: 25459335; PMCID: PMC6098711.

Improving Bone Health!

Improving Bone Health! is written by our team member Riley Anastasi.

Bone health has been a big topic over the past couple of years, with approximately 200 million people worldwide reported to have osteoporosis (Linhares et al., 2022). This predominantly (but not exclusively) affects woman over men, especially post-menopause. But ladies, it is not all doom and gloom! There is a lot of evidence emerging in this area and the great news is that by being part of the ALTA Fitness community you are already implementing a crucial element to your bone health – exercise! 

Resistance training and impact exercises are crucial to stimulate your bones to get stronger! 

Bones are obviously important for structural support and protection for our body, but they also provide a range of advantages for our muscles, immunity, and metabolism. Bones store the majority of our body’s calcium (approximately 98%), which is constantly being absorbed and replaced to ensure that our bones adapt to the demands we place on our bodies. Which is a really good thing, as we can use this to influence our body to prioritise our bone strength. We just need to provide our bodies, and our bone forming cells known as osteoblasts, with the right stimulus to prioritise bone building and strength. But how can we best do this? Through building up our working intensity over time!

An important study called the LIFTMOR Trial, explored the effect of exercise on bone mass in women (Watson et al., 2018). High bone mass generally equates to stronger bones, whilst bone mass below certain levels result in osteopenia or osteoporosis. The study compared a low-intensity program to a high intensity program over an 8-month period. 

They found that the high-intensity program, training twice per week, resulted in enhanced bone strength in the lower back and hips, improved functional performance and muscle strength. 

The high intensity program starting with low load exercises and built up to 85% of their one repetition maximum (1RM), for 5 sets of 5 repetitions. The participants performed exercises such as the back squat, deadlift, and overhead press; all of which we implement at ALTA Fitness in some form. Exercising at an 85% of 1RM is hard work and takes time to progress up to this intensity, but we at ALTA fitness are here to help you do it slowly and safely. This study shows that even those with low bone mass (ie. osteopenia) can still improve their bone health, we just need to progressively build up strength and intensity to remind our bone (our osteoblasts) that we want it to prioritise stronger bones. The best thing we can do for our bones is put them under load, we don’t want healthy people to avoid heavy weights because it is what our bones need!

The best way to do this is in a safe setting – such as ALTA! Performing sessions under supervision minimizes injury risk, whilst using our facility to safely utilise resistance and impact exercises to create stronger bones and a healthier you! 

If bone health is important to you, chat to your trainer about tailoring your program to increase intensity and bone health.  

Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week ‘Menopause & Age Well Masterclass Tues 5th Sept 1pm

Tuesday 5th September 2023, 1-3pm a registered event

Learn how to confidently take charge of your health and wellbeing and your changing body in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond to age well.If you are in perimenopause or menopause and you want to know more about how to confidently take charge or your health and wellbeing and your changing body then this Masterclass is for you. Here’s the simple truth, if you want to continue to live a long, healthy life what you worked on in your 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s, you will need to do some tweaking. Here is a little about what you will learn… 

  • How to take the confusion out of thriving during perimenopause and menopause. Including looking at the female brain and our hormones 
  • How to eat well – ensuring a diversity of foods, good proteins, vegetables, fruit, gut health and fibre, good fats and hydration 
  • As well as the importance of exercise, sleep and reducing stress
  • The secrets and, not so secrets, to ageing well
  • Ending with 10mins of guided relaxation to integrate the learnings of the each session 

Hosted by Linda Terlikar – Legras from Linda Legras Wellbeing Coaching and Owner & Award Winning Personal Trainer of ALTA Fitness 

When: Tuesday 5th September Time: 1pm – 3pm  Where: ALTA Fitness Studio 6 Hamilton St, Mont Albert Cost:  Free

Donations to Women’s Health Week are welcome

Donations: I’m happy to collect any donations or donate directly to Jean Hailes.

Perimenopause & Menopause Masterclass

Starts Monday 7th August for 6 weeks for $97. 

Now this is exciting unfortunately only if you are a Melbourne local! Canterbury Neighbourhood Centre, which recently moved into their beautiful new premises, were looking for exciting new initiatives.

And as a first for them, I am undertaking a 6 week Perimenopause, Menopause & Ageing Well Masterclass.  Just one hour a week on Monday evenings for 6 weeks.

Learn how to confidently take charge of your health and wellbeing and your changing body in your 40s. 50s and beyond. To age well we need to be filter, healthier and happier.

Here’s the simple truth, if you want to continue to live a long, healthy life, you will need to do some tweaking. In this masterclass we’ll talk about female hormones, nutrition, exercise, sleep and reducing stress for women’s health.

Hosted by myself, there is a limited number of seats at this Masterclass – don’t miss out!

Where: Canterbury Neighbourhood Centre – 2 Kendall St, Canterbury

For more information visit and you can also book here

We now offer Health & Wellness Coaching

As many of you know we have a strong sense to keep on learning and improving our services. That’s why I’m proud to say I am now a Qualified Health & Wellness Coach. So why did I do this and why is it important to me and possibly you, or someone you know. Because I want our nation to be fit, healthy and happy.Our health matters and generally the health of Australians is to be frank, poor. We are fast becoming one of the most obese nations in the world, most people don’t eat healthy food and most don’t exercise and rising inflammatory diseases, diabetes, cancer and other diseases are still on the rise.

Many are happy to spend their money on processed foods or take out which contain sugars, bad fats and chemicals. We’ll take our cars instead of walking and don’t exercise enough – sorry, only walking is not enough. (I know if you are with us, this isn’t you, but are you exercising enough, once a week is not enough either). So getting off from my banter, here’s a little more…

Health and Wellness Coaching is a relatively new, but a rapidly developing discipline. A definition I like is that it is a client-centred, collaborative intervention whose primary aim is to support others in sustainable lifestyle changes. Or maybe put more simply – a Health & Wellbeing Coach supports you in changing unhealthy habits that aren’t serving you for positive healthy habits that will serve you for the longer term.

How does it work? The change/s you want to make are selected by YOU, the client, who is positioned as the expert in your own life, with the coach bringing skills and knowledge to support the process of change. Encompassing the science of positive psychology to develop a deeper understanding of possibilities and pathways to achieve your goals.

It’s often a journey of self discovery that ultimately leads you to setting your own goals, accepting a level of self-responsibility and experiencing positive self-determination. It truly works, I’ve now seen and experienced it many times!Some common areas that people focus on are fitness, nutrition, body weight management, stress and improving sleep.  You maybe relatively “healthy” to begin with but not achieving what you want. Some other areas are cessation of smoking, alcohol cessation or reduction, reducing life’s clutter and improving stress levels by finding ways that work for you – as each of us is different.
If you have an area in your health and wellbeing that you’d like to change then this is where I maybe able to help you, a family member or friend.
For ALTA Clients only I’m offering a 30% discount for my 3 month program. 

Why 3 months? This period of time is to enable you to set yourself a vision of what you’d like to achieve, setting goals and then breaking down those goals with easy weekly tasks.

I start with an initial 90min session then 6-12 weekly 30min sessions to touch base each week to see how you are going with your weekly tasks and keep you on track to achieve your goals.

If this sounds like something you’d like to find out more about then you can contact me directly on 0410 544 759, it would be my pleasure to help you change your health or wellbeing.

Linda Terlikar-Legras

Cardiac health

Nobody needs to be told how important heart health is. Maintaining proper cardiac health throughout your life is one of/ if not the best predictor of health outcomes later in life. Inactivity and sedentary behaviour, low fitness and poor exercise tolerance are the big red flags we look for at the clinical exercise centre at Deakin University.

Research shows that poor tolerance to exercise, given that it is related to sedentary behaviour increases the risk of almost every poor health outcome under the sun. Even though this risk is small, it’s still worth trying to avoid by maintaining our cardiac health!

So how do you maintain cardiac health? What are the limits?

There are none. Exercise of any mode, anywhere, anytime at any intensity above resting will do. We recently had a patient come into the clinic with a referral list longer than a dictionary. HOCM (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy), Hypertension, a Pacemaker, 2 Stents, Atrial Fibrillation and more.

Now you’d think; “okay this person is on the verge, we have to be careful”. But that’s not the case at all, we had her doing HIIT intervals on the stationary bike while monitoring their heart and we saw no adverse events, even her ST segment (a diagnostic tool for heart attacks and tissue oxygenation) remained a safe and stable level. 

The point being, that to maintain your heart, all you need to do is get up and go, go for a walk every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes, anything will do. While there might be no recipe to have the perfect heart, it’s just like a fruit salad. No matter how you slice it, it’s still a fruit salad. Just do your best to get out there and you’ll doing yourself and your heart a favour!

By Christopher Burns PT ALTA Fitness

Fitness Matters

Guest writer and journalist Ann Pilmer Imrie (also a client and much regarded member of our Super Senior Ladies Group)

As you get older, stuff happens to your body.
That familiar set of arms, legs and joints starts to betray you.
Those fingers can’t open a jar, a wine bottle or anything childproof.
Kitchen scissors and pointy knives or a strong-fingered relative are your new best friends.
You might trip over a step, a crack in the footpath, the dog, your own feet or nothing at all.
You feel yourself falling, falling and there’s nothing you can do. 
It’s not the fall that matters. It’s how you land and where.
If you’re lucky you might just bruise your pride, arm, bum or chin.
If you’re really unlucky, like me, you break something.
A crash down a set of stairs about 18 months ago resulted in a broken wrist.
It’s not until you can’t use it that you realise how necessary a wrist is.
For a start it’s attached to your hand which means you can’t easily use that.
It’s hellish trying to tie shoes, do up your bra, drive or even wield a knife and fork.
But being fit can help.
It may not stop it happening but it can help you move and heal.
I’m part of a group of ‘older’ women (definitely not ‘elderly’) who exercise weekly through ALTA’s Super Senior’s classes.
In hourly classes on a Tuesday morning with our supple and patient trainer, Estelle, or the equally tolerant JC, we do a circuit and floor workout.
(And for some of us, getting on and off the floor is a workout in itself).
We bounce balls on one leg, mount the exercise bike, treadmill, rowing machine, stretch and strengthen arms, legs, fingers and core.
And we talk – and we laugh – mostly to the background music of Abba.
But you certainly notice the difference when you walk up a hill, climb stairs or even drop something in a hard-to-get-to spot.
They all seem easier, bearing out the old move it or lose it adage.
Exercise also helps your mood and outlook.
If you feel fitter, you move more, ache less and you’re more positive about yourself.
I thoroughly recommend it.

Men’s Health – Are you paying attention & exercising?

The average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Compared to women, men are more likely to

  • drink alcohol and use tobacco
  • make risky choices
  • not see a doctor for regular checkups

Men are assailed by the diseases that can affect anyone—heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression… But they also have unique issues such as prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement.

Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle: 

  • regular exercise
  • a healthy diet
  • not smoking
  • stress reduction
  • and alcohol consumption in the moderate range (no more than two drinks a day) if at all.

So why is exercise important for men’s health?

Men have a lower life expectancy than women. In Australia, men have an average life expectancy of 79 years, compared to 84 years for women. Men also suffer more illness than their female counterparts.

Exercise plays a vital role in keeping Aussie blokes healthier, happier and alive for longer.


Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of many chronic conditions and injuries. 

Despite the benefits, less than half of men aged 18–64 are sufficiently active. This number drops to 1 in 4 for men aged over 65. In addition, 7 in 10 Australian males are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

But it isn’t just your physical health that benefits from regular exercise.Regular checkups and screening tests can spot disease early, when it is easiest to treat.

So don’t be an average man — get on board with protecting your health today.

Keeping going even when you have an injury…

I’m bringing this up this month as it’s been really interesting to note that those who keep up their exercise when they experience, say a bad knee or a shoulder pain, fair better than those who don’t. So why is that?

Exercise is not just for one body part – you know that! And it is not just about gaining muscle or losing a couple of kilo’s, you know that too! We have a saying that everyone who walks in, should walk out happier – well at least with a buoyed mood space, that being one example that exercise boosts your mood. But it is not only that, if you stop exercising completely then you start losing the gains you made. And on top of that you start to lose muscle mass. 

Injuries are inevitable, we are human. We often become reluctant as we don’t won’t to hurt ourselves further or reactivate an injury. However the longer you stay away, the more reluctant you become and inertia sets in. However frequent and low intensity exercise is important be it walking, cycling, swimming or coming to the studio for some light mobility, stretching or strength work.

Key is always seeking professional support and we have a wonderful network of allied health professionals and likely you already have someone you like. And discussing variations or alternatives so as not to affect the injured area. Strength training with weights is one of them – What?? But it does keep up strength and our endurance.

A good example is an injured knee or ankle. So as long as you can make it through the door, we’d be having a seated session with you. Possibly doing rows, lifting weights, utilising bands or balls. And key to all this is to not rush the process, do your homework given to your allied health if that is the case, keep motivated and stay focussed on recovery.

What are the key points to consider?

Keep communication lines open with your trainer. The first step to take is to redesign your current program until able to resume. Research has shown that those who stay positive throughout their rehabilitation will increase the rate of recovery. Therefore, instead of using it as an excuse or as an obstacle, use this time to focus on any weaknesses you may have.

If you have an injury now, or one in the future, don’t give up, keep going. We see the benefits of those who keep going vs those who don’t and the road to recovery is longer. Keep on exercising!

5 Nature and Exercise Activities for Easter

You may not always appreciate nature each and every day but Mother Nature is our connection to all things on earth and research has shown that being in nature has huge benefits, one big one being our mental and physical health.

I recently finished reading Lost Connections by Johann Hari (it will be in my Top 10 this year). And there is a direct correlation that those who experience more greenery/nature, where they live, are happier people. And then exercise lifts our mood let alone all the benefits of a strong, healthy body.

No surprise there right, being outdoors and exercising it almost a perfect match! And it is where we get the most joy. What about you?

How good does it feel to be outside with trees, flowers, birds, animals, insects, blue or grey sky, clouds, rain, wind, snow, the sun on your skin or fresh cold air to breath in. And then adding in exercising at the same time it couldn’t be better.

So here are our Top 5 things to do that conquer all 3 of our wishes for you – Fitness, Health & Happiness. Happy Easter…

  1. Taking a walk or hike – along a river, on the beach, in a park with lots of trees, up a mountain, over rocks, wild grasses
  2. Ride a bike – along a river, on a bike path like Merri Creek, up a mountain – alone or with friends
  3. Go for a swim – in a river, at the beach or at an outdoor pool
  4. Go for a run – along a river, around an oval, around the streets or a park. The tan around Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to run.
  5. A picnic lunch with a ball or frisbee – unpack the blanket on the grass and a group of friends – so much fun.