What happens when a group of trainers and allied health practitioners get together to discuss women's health? Inspiration, information and a whole lot of fun!
Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Women's Health and Fitness Summit in Melbourne. To be honest, this is the second year in a row I have attended and I would sell my left kidney to get there. But fortunately I had enough Flybuys Points to get me there and my sister put me up for two nights so no kidneys had to be sold.
The event opened with some inspiring guest speakers (all of which made me cry like a baby with heartache and happiness for their journeys). A real highlight was hearing Kerryn Harvey share her story of recovery after a minor bike accident in 2013 left her with an aggressive bacterial infection that resulted in the amputation of her arm and shoulder. Since then, she has rebuilt her body to achieve a silver medal in the amputees triathlon world championships. If that doesn't inspire you to overcome your barriers to exercise, I don't know what will.
We then got stuck into the sessions. There were a couple of real highlights for me. The first was a practical session by Kylieanne Farrell from The Movement Room entitled Moving with Prolapse. She talked about the impact that environmental factors such as sleep, nutrition and stress can have on a women's prolapse symptoms on any particular day. I think this is an important point, not only for women with prolapse but for all women. Training within our boundaries and being in touch with our bodies can have a great impact on the effectiveness of our exercise choices.
An eye opening session was conducted by Antony Lo from The Physio Detective entitled Stop Hurting Women with Exercise. Antony likes to challenge popular beliefs about exercise and encouraged us to challenge the status quo and think more broadly about how we train women. For example, he believes that physios and trainers "hurt" women with exercise by:
Over the weekend I also attended a much needed seminar on marketing (I much prefer to move than to market) but it was a great presentation and I promise to add the ideas to my long list of 'to dos'. I also attended a session on diastasis recti from a Melbourne physio. This a topic close to my heart (and stomach) and there was plenty I took away from this session. I also felt great admiration for the presenter as she kept her composure and diplomatically managed questions from accomplished physios in the audience that challenged her points.
Possibly the biggest difference to last year's event is that this time I was not in a room of strangers. Along with the connections I made in 2015, there was also a small contingent of Brisbane practitioners and trainers as well as other contacts I have made via social media in attendance. It was great to put a face to the names and we all enjoying talking at every opportunity we could get. Melbourne of course is never short of a good place to eat and we all braved the fashion police and went to dinner in our #activewear.
If you are a fitness professional that trains women, I strongly encourage you to attend this event. Feel free to drop me a line and I will connect with you there next year.
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