Women’s Health Week: simple tips to improve your wellbeing
In celebration of Women’s Health Week, we asked some of our leading female researchers to share their best women’s health tip in their field of expertise.
In celebration of Women’s Health Week (2–6 September), we lined up some of our leading female researchers from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), and asked them to share their best women’s health tip in their field of expertise. Luckily, most of these can also be applied to men too!
Professor Jo Salmon
Jo is the Co-founder and Co-director of IPAN. She has made a significant contribution to public health physical activity initiatives in Australia and around the world, securing about $20 million to further her research. Her research expertise is in child and youth physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and she has developed effective strategies to reduce children and adolescents’ sitting, and promote physical activity in the school and home settings.
Jo’s top tip:
“No matter what your day looks like, try to find opportunities to move around – it all counts! Walking every day with your children (and/or dog!) is a great way to find out what’s happening in their world.”
Dr Lauren Arundell
Lauren is passionate about research into children and adolescents’ physical activity and sedentary behaviours, and screen time in school and home environments. For her Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, she is developing a pilot intervention to reduce home-based sedentary behaviours among these two groups.
Lauren’s top tip:
“Make a daily appointment to move in a way you enjoy – run, dance, walk, ride, lift, flow or play. Block out 30 minutes in your diary each day to reap the benefits to your body, mind and wellbeing. Ask a friend or the kids to join in too. They can help keep you accountable, keep you company and also enjoy the benefits!”
Dr Nicole Kiss
Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, Nicole aims to make a difference to people affected by cancer. Understanding the role of nutrition in the ability to cope with treatment, Nicole is trying to understand how to optimise nutritional and functional outcomes during cancer treatment.
Nicole’s top tip:
“Foods high in fibre are essential for gut health and long-term protection against chronic disease, including bowel cancer. Wholegrains and other fibre containing food such as fruit and vegetables are associated with a protective effect, so always aim to consume the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. Try to include at least one food containing fibre (wholegrains, vegetable, fruit or nuts) at each meal and snack. If this is a struggle, an Accredited Practising Dietitian or Nutritionist can help you with a meal plan that suits your lifestyle.”
Professor Karen Campbell
Professor Karen Campbell is a renowned expert in nutrition, diet and obesity prevention in pregnancy and the first five years of life. Her research seeks to improve child and family health outcomes through improving parents and children’s nutrition.
Karen’s top tip:
“The latest research is telling us that a mother’s dietary intake at the time of conception is an indicator of her future baby’s health. Making sure you stick to a healthy diet will not only have fertility benefits, but it will give your growing bub a great start in life!”
Associate Professor Michelle Keske
Michelle is a leading researcher in the field of metabolism, having researched type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health for more than 20 years. She is internationally recognised for her contribution in the field of skeletal muscle microvascular blood flow, and her expertise in the development and use of the contrast enhanced ultrasound technique for skeletal muscle.
Michelle’s top tip:
“Don’t worry about how you look in the mirror, just get moving. Being physically active is great for your cardiovascular system and for controlling blood sugar levels.”
Dr Susie Cartledge
Susie is a registered nurse specialising in coronary care and cardiothoracics. The goal of Susie’s fellowship work is to increase the continuity of care and education for cardiac patients and their family members from hospital discharge through to attending a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Susie’s top tip:
“Need to make a change to your diet or increase your exercise? Consider working with a health care professional – for example, your GP – to set a long term achievable goal, and then break that large goal into achievable milestones to celebrate along the way. Consider how these changes are going to fit into your long term future.”
Associate Professor Susan Torres
Susan is on a mission to understand how lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and exercise can improve our mental health, and has investigated the interaction between diet, obesity and mood to stress response. She has found that even a modest weight loss improved blood pressure response to stress, which may have a favourable effect on cardiovascular disease risk.
Susan’s top tip:
“MIND over matter. The MIND diet, rich in brain healthy foods (green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole-grains, fish, poultry, olive and wine) can reduce your risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.”
Dr Megan Teychenne
A behavioural epidemiologist, Megan’s research interests lie in investigating the associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviours and mental health, particularly amongst women (including pregnant and postpartum), and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. She also focuses on developing evidence-based strategies to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviours.
Megan’s top tip:
“Go for a walk before the kids wake up in the morning, swap your car ride for a bicycle ride (or walk), or buy a workout DVD and have fun trying to keep up with it. Being active for just a few times per week has been shown to prevent onset of depression and lower anxiety symptoms. If you struggle to find time in your day to be active, try parking the car 10 minutes away from your destination and walking the rest.”
Dr Helen Macpherson
Helen’s research looks at healthy brain ageing, with a focus on dementia prevention. She aims to understand the impact that lifestyle, including making changes to diet and increasing physical activity, has on dementia risk factors, cognition and brain health in older people.
Helen’s top tip:
“Looking after your heart health is a great way to help promote a healthy brain and it’s never too early to start.”