We recently were alerted to a 2018 study on the effects of different sports on longevity. It turns out that regular participation in sports is great for helping you live a longer and healthier life. No surprises there, but the magnitude of the effect differs between sports quite considerably.

The Copenhagen City Heart Study followed nearly 9,000 people for 25 years and monitored their sporting and other lifestyle habits. This is what they found:

Life expectancy gains compared with the sedentary group for different sports were as follows: tennis, 9.7 years; badminton, 6.2 years; soccer, 4.7 years; cycling, 3.7 years; swimming, 3.4 years; jogging, 3.2 years; calisthenics, 3.1 years; and health club activities, 1.5 years.

Nearly 10 years longer life by playing tennis! Incredible. Why was that so much more effective than the other sports/activities?

The authors suggested that “the leisure-time sports that inherently involve more social interaction were associated with the best longevity”. Which is consistent with other research on the importance of social interactions. Loneliness has been shown to have numerous negative health impacts as per this information from the Tony Robbins website:


Learning how to deal with loneliness can have a profound impact on other parts of your mind and body. Those who are lonely often choose to eat “comfort foods” that are higher in fat and sugar and usually experience a decline in sleep quality and quantity. But when you are happy and fulfilled, you operate at your peak state, with energy and vitality


Loneliness can lead to heightened levels of stress, which alters the natural flow of various cellular processes inside the body and opens you up to premature aging. As with comfort food, loneliness may lead to indulging in alcohol or other substances to the point of dehydration, which also affects cell function that may cause signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, to become more prominent.


Research shows loneliness is as deadly as if you smoked 15 cigarettes per day and that people who are lonely are 50% more likely to die at a premature age. An extended period of loneliness compromises your immune system, which can lead to heightened inflammation, heart disease and a host of other serious health conditions. 


“The effect of [loneliness] is comparable to obesity, something public health takes very seriously,” says BYU researcher Julianne Holt-Lundstad, lead author of the study. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.” The BYU data found that the subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26%.

Thought we would share a few notes from a super interesting podcast we listened to this week. Dr Rhonda Patrick is an American MD who specialises in healthy aging. You can read her background her https://www.foundmyfitness.com/about-dr-rhonda-patrick

In the episode, Dr. Patrick describes strategies you can apply immediately to enhance cellular health, protect the nervous system, elevate mood, reduce inflammation, promote muscle and bone function, and help prevent chronic disease.

The conversation focuses on things like Vitamin D, Magnesium and Omega 3s and their role in brain health. She tries to emphasise ‘low hanging fruit’, that is, things you can do that are cheap and easy and accessible to everyone, that also make a massive difference.

She also talks about the importance of different types of exercise and their effects on health and longevity which is great information. For example:

A large-scale trial of the effect of aerobic exercise such as running on cognition in the 20- to 67-year age range. Here’s what they found:
Better Thinking Skills as You Age: Exercise helped people’s executive function – that’s your brain’s ability to manage tasks, plan, and focus. This improvement was especially noticeable in older participants, suggesting that regular aerobic exercise might counteract age-related decline in these skills. But it wasn’t directly tied to age; younger adults also had improvements in executive function.
Thicker Brain Cortex, Regardless of Age: Participants showed an increase in the thickness of a part of the brain involved in executive function, and this wasn’t dependent on how old they were. This is important because it means exercise supports brain health at any adult age. A thicker cortex is often associated with a higher cognitive reserve, which refers to the brain’s ability to improvise and find alternate ways of getting a task done. This can help people maintain functioning in spite of brain aging or damage from conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A thicker cortex may signify a form of resilience or a slower rate of degeneration in aging processes and diseases like Alzheimer’s. A thicker cortex is also often a sign of greater neural plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This is crucial for learning new information and skills. Certain regions of the cortex are involved in emotional regulation. A healthier cortex might contribute to better emotional health and stability.
Real-world Application: The way the workouts were implemented could be a practical recommendation for improving brain health for the general public.
Consistency is key: participants exercised about 40 minutes, four times a week for six months.Gradually increasing effort: they started easy and slowly increased their workout intensity. During the initial two weeks, participants targeted a heart rate of 55%-65% of their maximum, constituting a mild to moderate effort, followed by an increased intensity in weeks 3 and 4, aiming for 65%-75% of their maximum heart rate, representing a more solid moderate effort.
Monitoring progress: using heart rate monitors helped them stay in the desired exercise intensity.
Flexibility: participants could choose the exercise (running or cycling) they preferred and set their schedules.

You can listen to, or watch the podcast by clicking this link:


That’s according to the latest research. Here are the key points from the article on Medical News Today:

  • Researchers from Amsterdam conducted a study to see whether running could be as helpful as antidepressants for treating depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • The researchers found that both groups experienced similar improvements in their depression symptoms.
  • However, the running group also saw improvements in physical health, while the antidepressant participants experienced slightly worse physical health.

The researchers recruited 141 participants with either depression or anxiety disorder. They gave the participants the option to take either an antidepressant — the SSRIs escitalopram or sertraline — or participate in a running group two to three times per week.

The running group participants had to attend two or three running sessions that lasted 45 minutes each week. The researchers expected them to complete at least 70% of the sessions, and participants wore heart rate monitors during running sessions so researchers could track their participation level and other data.

Regardless of which treatment plan people participated in, both groups saw improvements in mental health overall.

When comparing the participants’ depression symptoms at the beginning of the study to the end, 43.3% of the running therapy group saw their depression go into remission, and 44.8% of the antidepressant group experienced remission.

Participants in the antidepressant group saw improvement in their anxiety symptoms more quickly than people in the running group, but the end result at the end of the 16-week study was almost the same.

While both treatment plans were nearly identical in terms of depression improvement, the running therapy group saw improvements in physical health that the antidepressant group did not experience.

To read more, click this link.

If you have a chronic health condition, or have been suffering with pain and inflammation, you may have been advised to follow an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’. This is a diet aimed at reducing your overall levels of inflammation and is a much healthier and more sustainable approach than relying on anti-inflammatory medication. So what food should you eat, what foods should you avoid, and who should be looking at following it?


Many popular diets already adhere to anti-inflammatory principles. For example, both the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet include fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, and fats that are good for the heart.

For example, research suggests that the Mediterranean diet, focusing on plant-based foods and healthful oils, can reduce the effects of inflammation on the cardiovascular system.

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet here.

Research also showsthat the DASH diet can have a positive impact on reducing inflammation markers compared to regular diets. The DASH diet may also have additional benefits in inflammatory arthritis conditions, such as lowering uric acid levels, which are a risk factor for gout.

The kind of conditions that involve inflammation include:

An anti-inflammatory diet should combine a variety of foods that:

  • are rich in nutrients
  • provide a range of antioxidants
  • contain healthful fats

Foods that may help manage inflammation include:

  • oily fish, such as tuna and salmon
  • fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cherries
  • vegetables, including kale, spinach, and broccoli
  • beans
  • nuts and seeds
  • olives and olive oil
  • fiber

The authors of a 2017 article also recommended the following:

  • raw or moderately cooked vegetables
  • legumes, such as lentils
  • spices, such as ginger and turmeric
  • probiotics and prebiotics
  • tea
  • some herbs

It is worth remembering that no single food will boost a person’s health. It is important to include a variety of healthful ingredients in the diet.

People who are following an anti-inflammatory diet should avoid or limit their intake of:

  • processed foods
  • foods with added sugar or salt
  • unhealthful oils
  • processed carbs, which are present in white bread, white pasta, and many baked goods
  • processed snack foods, such as chips and crackers
  • premade desserts, such as cookies, candy, and ice cream
  • excess alcohol

Some people may also have intolerances to specific foods, meaning that eating them can cause inflammation and other adverse effects. Common intolerances include:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • nightshade vegetables
  • cruciferous vegetables

Reference: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320233#foods-to-limit

We’ve been having a lot of people ask us if we’ve seen the new Netflix special “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”. It’s a great show and super interesting. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the basic premise.

In 2016, National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner and his team published a study on what they found to be the secrets to longevity.

Dubbed the Blue Zones, Buettner identified five specific areas of the world where people consistently live over 100 years of age. These areas are:

“These are places where human beings have lived manifestly longest,” Buettner explained to Medical News Today. “They’ve achieved the health outcomes we want: long lives largely free of chronic disease. Since only 80% of how long we live is dictated by disease, these people’s lifestyles and environments offer us instructions and clues for how we can set up our lives to live longer.”

Within these five areas, Buettner discovered there were nine common practices that people followed that might explain their slower aging process. Called the Power 9, they include:

Loneliness, said Buettner, is a top risk factor for a shorter life, so preventing that as much as we can could help add years to our lives:

“We know that lonely people are expected to live 8 fewer years than well-connected people and that health behaviors [are] measurably contagious. People in Blue Zones are in socially connected villages with strong social ties, which gives them a longevity edge from the very beginning.”

“There’s no short-term fix [or] supplement for longevity,” he added. “Learn plant-based dishes that you like and cook at home. Curate a social circle of three to five healthy friends [who] will care about you on a bad day. Health behaviors are contagious, and friends tend to be long-term adventures.”

Osteopaths are wholistic health care providers and we’re here to discuss all aspects of your health, from exercise and nutrition, to ergonomics and lifestyle, and how these factors impact on your musculoskeletal system and overall health.

Reference: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-to-know-about-the-blue-zone-diet-and-other-healthy-habits-for-longevity#Blue-Zones:-What-are-they?

Massage guns have become increasingly popular in recent years, as people look for ways to relieve muscle pain and improve recovery. But how effective are they really?

Massage guns use percussive therapy, which involves delivering rapid, repetitive pulses to the muscles. This is thought to help increase blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote healing.

There is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of massage guns. A 2022 study published in the journal Sports Medicine found that massage guns can be effective in reducing muscle soreness and improving range of motion after exercise. The study also found that massage guns may be helpful in improving muscle strength and explosive power.

Another study, published in the journal Pain in 2021, found that massage guns can be effective in reducing chronic pain associated with conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. The study also found that massage guns may help improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

Overall, the research suggests that massage guns can be an effective way to relieve muscle pain, improve recovery, and improve athletic performance. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dosage and frequency of massage gun use.

If you are considering using a massage gun, it is important to talk to your doctor first, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions. You should also start with a low intensity setting and gradually increase the intensity as tolerated.

It is also important to avoid using a massage gun on any areas of the body with inflammation, infection, or open wounds.

Here are some tips for using a massage gun safely and effectively:

  • Start with a low intensity setting and gradually increase the intensity as tolerated.
  • Avoid using a massage gun on any areas of the body with inflammation, infection, or open wounds.
  • Do not use a massage gun on your bones, joints, or spine.
  • Do not use a massage gun on your head, neck, or chest.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop using the massage gun immediately.

Overall, massage guns can be a safe and effective way to relieve muscle pain, improve recovery, and improve athletic performance. However, it is important to talk to your doctor first and to use a massage gun safely and effectively.


  • Davis, J. M., Jones, M. J., Russell, K. M., & Phillips, M. J. (2022). The effect of percussive therapy on muscle performance and recovery: A systematic review. Sports Medicine, 52(1), 11-24.
  • Fernández-Carvajal, A., Cascos, J., Martínez-Salazar, M., de la Vega, M., Pérez-Cruz, L., & González-Rave, J. M. (2021). Effectiveness of percussive therapy on chronic pain, sleep quality, and fatigue: A randomized controlled trial. Pain, 162(9), 2301-2309.

Low back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting nearly everyone at some point in their lives. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle strain, ligament sprain, disc herniation, and arthritis.

Osteopathy is a holistic approach to health care that focuses on the relationship between the structure and function of the body. Osteopaths believe that the body has the innate ability to heal itself, and they use manual therapy techniques to help the body restore its natural balance.

Osteopathic treatment for low back pain can be very effective in relieving pain and improving function. It is a safe and gentle approach, and it is generally well-tolerated by people of all ages. In Australia, Osteopaths do a 5 year double degree at University and clinical work under supervision before graduating.

When you see an osteopath for low back pain, they will begin by taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical examination. They will ask you about your symptoms, when they started, and what makes them better or worse. They will also check your posture, range of motion, and muscle strength.

Once the osteopath has a good understanding of your condition, they will develop an evidence based treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. Treatment may include a variety of techniques, such as:

  • Soft tissue massage: This helps to relax muscles and reduce tension.
  • Joint mobilization: This helps to improve the range of motion in the joints of the spine and pelvis.
  • Spinal manipulation: This involves gentle adjustments to the spine to improve alignment and function.

In addition to manual therapy techniques, osteopaths may also teach you exercises and stretches that you can do at home to help manage your pain and improve your flexibility and strength.

Osteopaths also believe that lifestyle factors can play a role in low back pain. They may provide advice on things like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and practicing good posture.

Osteopathic treatment for low back pain is typically very effective. Most people experience significant relief from their pain within a few weeks or months of treatment. However, it is important to note that osteopathy is not a cure-all. Some people may need to continue treatment on an ongoing basis to manage their pain and prevent flare-ups.

If you are considering osteopathic treatment for low back pain, it is important to find a qualified and experienced osteopath. Harley Place Health has been in Bondi Junction for over 25 years and our practitioners have consulted over 100,000 clients.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your osteopathic treatment:

  • Be honest with your osteopath about your symptoms and medical history.
  • Follow your osteopath’s instructions carefully, including any exercises or stretches that they recommend.
  • Be patient. It may take some time to see results from osteopathic treatment.

If you are experiencing low back pain, osteopathic treatment may be a good option for you. It is a safe and effective approach that can help to relieve pain, improve function, and prevent future flare-ups.

If you have any questions, or want to speak to one of our Osteopaths to see if we can help you, drop us a line at harleyplacehealth@gmail.com

Our Osteopath Chris Jones recently discovered that he had high cholesterol. Here is how he navigated the decision on whether to try to reduce this with diet and supplements, or with medication.

“It was a bit of a surprise as I eat well, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and maintain a pretty healthy weight. But genetics can play a role and a family history and DNA testing showed some genes that have the propensity to increase my cholesterol. So my Cardiologist recommended a statin, which is a medication that lowers cholesterol.”

“There are side effects to statins, and once you start them, you’re kind of on them for life. New alternatives are in development, but they are a couple of years away still, so it was really down to statins or supplements, as there was nothing really terrible in my diet I could change that would make an enormous difference.

“I found there are a couple of supplements, like Niacin and Bergamot, which can help, and then I found an article by one of my favourite podcasters Peter Attia, a healthy aging doctor in the US. He wrote a piece on how he decides whether to recommend certain medications to certain people, which I found really helpful, and so I thought I’d share it with you:

Although powerful, this tactic can be challenging to discuss as it is highly individual. So instead of telling you to “take X” or “never take Y,” I find it more beneficial to approach this tactic with a 3-part framework

  1. What is the objective? 
    1. The more clearly you can define your objective, the more clearly you can assess if this is the right tool for accomplishing that objective. 
  2. Is there a biomarker?
    1. How do you plan to customize, track, and adjust your treatment over time? If there is no biomarker to monitor as a measure of effectiveness, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the supplement or medication; it just means you may need to be more intentional around monitoring results in other ways.
  3. Does the risk outweigh the reward? 
    1. Everyone has a different tolerance for risk. Some questions to consider when weighing risk vs. reward: What is the mechanism of action? How many patient years of use exist? What are the short-term and long-term risks of taking the medication? What are the risks of not taking the medication?

“Another thing I found in my genetic testing was related to which kind of exercise will be best for my heart, so I will be working with Kenny and Anthony at Physio K to tweak the exercise program a little.

If you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email harleyplacehealth@gmail.com

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of Rod Marsh and Shane Warne. The tragic passing of these legendary Australian Cricketers last week has prompted a lot of people to start thinking about their heart health.

What can we do to prevent a heart attack?

Dr Ross Walker is a leading Cardiologist, and he very generously took the time to pen a few thoughts on this topic over the weekend. The link to his article is https://drrosswalker.medium.com/the-death-of-two-cricketing-legends-on-the-same-day-4c0af842fa10. A few key points from his article for you to share with anyone you think may find it interesting:

Almost all cardiovascular disease can be prevented if detected early and there are now very accurate cardiovascular screening tests that are available freely to us all that can detect early disease with preventative management, if necessary, commenced immediately.”

” 70% of atherosclerosis and therefore heart attack (as I’ve stated the commonest manifestation of atherosclerosis) is directly related to the insulin resistance gene”

” This gene is present in 30% of Caucasians, 50% of Asians and close to 100% of people with darker or olive skin. Thus, when anyone with this gene is exposed to modern living, it is very common to develop diabetes (or prediabetes), high blood pressure, specific cholesterol abnormalities which include high triglycerides and low HDL, along with abdominal obesity.”

Dr Walker then goes on to outline the specific tests he recommends for a comprehensive screening, as well as the kind of treatments and supplements he recommends. He finishes with a pretty powerful line: “the most important coronary arteries in this world are your own, if you’re not prepared to look after them why should anyone bother to help you? Take the first step now & see your doctor to start this process.”

We’ve recently been seeing a lot of people who caught Covid in December/January. Even a couple of our practitioners caught it. Obviously the numbers in NSW were huge at that time, and more people were travelling, so it’s not surprising at all.

Most people, thankfully, had very mild symptoms that only lasted a few days, and did not result in any ongoing issues. But some people have continued to feel the effects weeks to months later.

We thought it might be useful to talk about the kind of things we’re seeing in our patients who had Covid, and the kind of home exercise advice we’ve been giving as well, in case you or anyone you know might find it helpful.

Probably the number one symptom people have reported to us is Fatigue. When we’re fatigued, our posture slumps, causing upper back and neck tension and compression/tightness in the lower back and hips.

Fatigue also leads to less movement generally, and less exercise as well. So anyone who was sleeping more, laying around more, and moving less, will lose flexibility. And anyone who stops their normal exercise for an extended period of time will lose a little strength.

So it’s important you return to exercise gradually. We saw this last year when the gyms/yoga/pilates studios were closed. People went back in after a period of not exercising and tried to do too much too fast, and ended up getting hurt.

Apart from returning gradually, you want to work on your mobility and core activation. If you don’t have good mobility and you’re trying to do a compound exercise like a squat, you can put a lot of pressure on your lower back and pelvis. And if your core has not yet reactivated, your lower back is really at risk.

Another commonly reported symptom is Muscle Soreness. This is linked to the lack of movement from being fatigued. Moving less, reduced circulation, less blood flow to the muscles, leading to a shortening and tightening of the muscles that is really palpable.

Apart from returning to things like core abdominal exercises or strength, you need to return to the long slow cardio activities like swimming, walking and running gradually too. As you start to increase the amount of cardio you do and your endurance returns, your posture will also improve (as fatigue can lead to slumping) and your general inflammatory levels will decrease.

It’s worth considering supplements like Magnesium (for muscle tightness), Fish Oil (for inflammation), and Vitamin D to assist in your recovery.

Joint Stiffness is another thing we are seeing a lot of. It follows on from what we’ve already discussed, and it’s pretty easy to address. Take more micro-breaks in your work day, Lay on your foam roller or spiky ball. Stretch more. Book a Massage or check in with your Osteopath.

If you have any questions or need any advice, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email harleyplacehealth@gmail.com