Category: News

Southbank Medical Centre

Best exercise for weight loss

Best exercise for weight loss

It’s essential to combine exercise with a healthy diet if you want to lose weight. But what type of exercise is best?

Aerobic and Resistance training

For many people exercise means activities such as walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.  However, these activities in fact mainly involve a type of exercise that’s called aerobic training. It involves using oxygen to burn glucose (sugar) or fat and create energy in your body. The longer you jog, the more you burn, which can help you lose weight.

Resistance training is a type of exercise that makes your muscles stronger. Muscles are made to work hard when they move a resistance force. Examples include lifting a heavy weight or doing a push up. It’s also called strength or weight training. 5 Additional benefits include increased tone and size of muscles, improved balance and it burns some energy.

What to do

* Aerobic training is best for weight loss if you’re overweight or obese. The current recommendation is 5 hours/week of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g brisk walking, gentle swimming) or 2.5 hours/week of vigorous-intensity exercise (e.g aerobics, jogging).

* Resistance training can improve glucose control (which may help with diabetes) and reduce blood pressure. But when compared to aerobic training, it’s less effective for weight loss.

* A combination of aerobic and resistance training can also help with weight loss. Indeed, recent studies have found it‘s more effective compared to aerobic training alone. But more research is needed to confirm these findings. An example of combination training is: 15 minutes of jogging and 15 minutes of muscle strengthening, 5 days/week.

More information: Speak to your GP, visit



Southgate Medical Centre
3 Southgate Ave
Southbank VIC 3006

Strong advice on bone health

Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening disease that affects 1.2 million Australians in their older age. However building healthy bones requires attention throughout our whole lives, beginning in childhood.

What is osteoporosis?

Your bones are made up of calcium, other minerals and collagen (protein). They are a living, constantly changing tissue, with certain bone cells creating new bone, while others destroy old bone. Creating new bone particularly thickens and strengthens the inner, mesh-like bone, which can be measured as bone mineral density (BMD).

Most bone thickening and strengthening occurs during childhood up until your mid-20s when bone growth dominates. Then from around the age of 35, bone loss slowly takes over as a normal part of ageing. However, when bone loss becomes excessive, osteoporosis can develop.

Bones weakened by osteoporosis are vulnerable to breaking (fractures), which may occur due to mild trauma such as putting out your hand when you fall. Breaks are most common in your wrists, hips and spine. Other symptoms may include muscle weakness, stooped posture and losing height

What to do

Osteoporosis may be prevented throughout your life with a combination of:

* Good calcium intake from dairy foods, canned fish, tofu, beans and green leafy vegetables.

* Sufficient level of vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium and is created in your body through brief sunlight exposure.

* Doing physical activities that stimulate bone growth such as jumping, running or walking sports, brisk walking, dancing and strengthening exercises like lifting weights.

If you’re diagnosed with osteoporosis after having a DEXA-scan (radiology) that finds your BMD is too low, in addition to the above measures, you may need to take medications, and calcium and vitamin D supplements. Reducing your risk of falling is also important.

For more information book an appointment with our Southbank doctor or visit Osteoporosis Australia 1800242181

Southgate Medical Centre
VIC 3006

Be Informed About Fertility

If you’re planning to only have children when you’re older, knowing how your age may affect your fertility can help you make better informed decisions.


The quality of each woman’s eggs decreases with age. So after a peak age for ability to conceive (make a baby) in your early 20s, then comes a slow decline at first, followed by a quick descent from the age of 35, which then gets even faster over the age of 40.


Age matters for men too. From 40 years onwards your fertility begins to decline as the quality of your sperm decreases and with it the ability to conceive.


For a couple in their early 20s at peak fertility age, the chance of conceiving each month is one in five. After trying for one year this becomes an 85% chance. But the conception rate after one year also decreases with age. For a couple when the woman is over 35, one third have fertility problems, doubling to two thirds when the woman is over 40.

What to do

If you want to have a baby and you’re in a long term relationship, it may be good advice to have a conversation with your partner about the impact of age on fertility – and to do it sooner, rather than later.

And if you’ve been trying to conceive without success for a year and the woman is aged under 35, go see your doctor. This advice applies for women over 35 who have been trying for six months. It may mean you have a fertility problem that requires medical attention.

Fortunately in most cases, your fertility can be increased with treatments including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), medications or surgery.

For more information visit or contact our doctor in Southbank to discuss further

Southgate Medical Centre

Southbank Doctor Service
Southgate Medical Centre
Southbank, Melbourne

Sourced from:

The Cost of Alcohol to Health

Alcohol is the most widely used social drug in Australia. While most people don’t drink to excess, unfortunately two out of five Australians binge drink, with surveys showing this number may be increasing, and one in five of us drink at levels that cause long term health problems.

As a result, thousands of Australians die every year due to alcohol. The majority of them are related to road traffic accidents, self-inflicted injuries and suicide. Many others are due to liver damage and cancer. Drinking too much alcohol is also associated with increased tobacco and cannabis use, and heroin overdose.

Alcohol and the body

Alcohol is quickly absorbed through the stomach into the blood and distributed throughout the body. In the brain, alcohol can initially feel stimulating and reduce inhibitions, but in fact it slows down the brain. Short term changes can include poor judgement and memory lapses. In the long term, excessive alcohol intake can make brain cells (neurons) shrink and function less efficiently.

The liver is the main organ that removes alcohol from the body, but in the process produces toxins that harm itself. Other organs may also be negatively affected including the heart and pancreas.

Health impacts

Binge drinking is defined as consecutive drinks without allowing alcohol in your blood to go down to zero, in order to become intoxicated. The impacts may include a stroke (brain damage), irregular heartbeat, injuries and death due to accidents, alcohol poisoning (overdose), unprotected sex, stolen property and an increased risk of becoming addicted.

The long term health problems of regularly drinking excessive amounts of alcohol (addiction) include:

* Brain damage such as dementia

* Liver cancer, hepatitis (inflammation), cirrhosis

* Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure

* Diabetes

* Obesity

* Malnutrition

* Cancers

* Reduced sexual desire

What to do

The clear recommendation is either don’t drink or only drink in moderation. If the choice is moderation, start by learning how much is ‘one standard’ alcoholic drink, for example, 285 ml (one pot/middy/half-pint) of regular beer.

The guideline for drinking for adult men and women is no more than two standard drinks on any day. For women planning to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s safest not to drink. For under 18 year olds, it’s safest not to drink either, but if over 15 year olds do drink, it should be under adult supervision and the same amount as adults.

A doctor can often help. Speak to one of our doctors at Southgate Medical Centre in Southbank, Melbourne, visit or ring Alcoholics Anonymous 1300 222222


1. Better Health Channel. Alcohol.$File/Alcohol.pdf

Accessed March 24 2014

2. ABS. 4338.0 – Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13: Alcohol consumption.

Accessed March 24 2014

3.  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on your Health.

Accessed March 24 2014

4. NDARC. Alcohol. Accessed March 24 2014

5. Tackling Binge Drinking. Under the influence.

Accessed March 24 2014

6. AIHW. 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no. 25. Cat. no. PHE 145.

Accessed March 24 2014

7. Australia: the healthiest country by 2020. Technical Report No 3. Preventing alcohol–related harm in Australia: a window of opportunity. 2009. Accessed April 19 2014

Southbank Dotor Service
Southgate Medical Centre
Southbank, Melbourne

Sourced from:

Touch and massage as therapy

Touch and massage are much more than just a feel-good way to be nice to people and pamper yourself. There is a body of research that shows they can achieve personal and health benefits.

Touch can be provided in different ways, such as a hand placed on the shoulder, reassuring pat on the back or a hug. The benefits include people shop and buy more when touched by staff who greet them at the door, strangers are more likely to help someone if touch accompanies a request and improved performance at work or in a team.

There are many types of massage provided as forms of treatment. They vary in terms of the amounts of pressure that can be applied to the skin, from light to heavy and also the associated reasoning behind them, such as Shiatsu, where the touch relates to energy flow.

Research shows that people with specific medical conditions can be helped with massage including;

* premature babies
* older-aged people with dementia (loss of memory)
* people with anxiety, depression, chronic pain
* immune system conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

How the benefits of touch and massage are achieved is still not fully understood. Massage for premature babies, for example, is believed to help with weight gain, by increasing metabolism and reducing stress. It’s also suggested that stress reduction may increase positive hormones such as oxytocin, the hormone that promotes bonding and improves mood.

What to do?

Speak to your GP, particularly to make sure massage is recommended for your specific condition and to help find a suitable massage therapist. But at the same time, there’s nothing stopping you from taking the initiative to incorporate touch such as a pat on the shoulder in casual or work situations. Just make sure you assess beforehand whether the touch is appropriate and will be welcomed.

For more information visit

Sourced from:

This post is part of the Southgate Medical Centre healthy lifestyles initiative for the Southbank community.

Put PMS behind you

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as symptoms that appear in the days leading up to the menstrual period (bleeding). With nine out of ten women experiencing symptoms, many accept PMS as a normal part of being female. This is unfortunate, because lifestyle changes and treatments are available that can help you reduce or manage your symptoms.

What is it?

PMS varies for each woman. Most only have a few symptoms out of a possible 200 symptoms that women can experience. The main ones are:

* Physical: fluid retention, breast swelling or discomfort, muscle aches, constipation or diarrhoea, pelvic pain, clumsiness, appetite changes/food cravings, acne, fatigue, insomnia

* Psychological: irritability, depression, poor concentration or judgement, tension or anxiety
aggression, mood swings, decreased feelings of wellbeing, social withdrawal, restlessness

A specific cause of PMS hasn’t been identified. However it’s known that normal ups and downs of hormones are associated with PMS and when these changes stop, such as during pregnancy or after menopause, symptoms disappear. In addition, PMS is more likely in women with depression, high stress and poor diet.


For mild cases, lifestyle changes are recommended, including:

* Eat small, frequent meals
* Increase low-GI (Glycaemic Index) foods, which digest more slowly
* Avoid salt, alcohol, caffeine
* Regular exercise
* Relaxation techniques
* Psychological treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Complementary treatments with good medical research include: calcium and vitex agnus-castus (herb). Others, such as evening primrose oil, are popular but there’s not enough research to support recommending them.

Conventional medications that may be recommended include: aspirin or anti-inflammatories for headache and muscle ache symptoms, anti-depressants (SSRIs) for severe PMS, and diuretics when lifestyle changes don’t reduce fluid retention and swelling. Oral contraceptive (the pill), despite widespread usage, in fact has little research evidence to support recommending it.

Sourced from:

This post is part of the Southgate Medical Centre healthy lifestyles initiative for the Southbank community.


Cholesterol and Fat – The good and bad


Cholesterol and fat are both essential for good health. However, if the balance of specific types of cholesterol and fat isn’t right, they can also lead to illness and disease.

Bad cholesterol

Your body naturally produces cholesterol, particularly in the liver. The body then uses the cholesterol to: 1) build the outer walls of cells; 2) make oestrogen and testosterone (female and male sex hormones), kidney hormones, vitamin D and other substances.

Cholesterol moves around your body in the blood. But because it is fat-based and blood is water-based, it can’t dissolve in the blood. The body’s solution is to package cholesterol with protein to make special transport substances called lipoproteins.

The two main types of lipoproteins are: 1) low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which transports cholesterol to cells, to be absorbed and used inside them; 2) high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which transports cholesterol from cells back to the liver to be recycled or destroyed.

However too much LDL and too little HDL in your body, causes cholesterol to be absorbed into the cells of arteries (blood vessels), which help form plaques that harden the artery walls. Hardened arteries cause diseases of the heart, kidneys, legs and brain such as heart attack and stroke.

That’s why LDL is called ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL ‘good’ cholesterol.


Fat is essential to keep your body warm, protect organs and make hormones. Too much fat makes you overweight, which can be unhealthy. But also the different types of fat you eat can cause too much LDL and too little HDL.

The main types of fat are: saturated, trans, polyunsaturated and monosaturated. The ‘good’ fats are monosaturated and polyunsaturated such as olive, canola, sunflower and peanut oil. They can help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Saturated and trans fats are ‘bad’ fats, such as butter, beef fat, coconut and full-fat milk, which can increase LDL.

What to do?

In addition to doing regular exercise, losing weight, not smoking and avoiding excess alcohol, eat a diet that helps achieve the right balance of LDL and HDL:

* Large amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrain foods

* Low or reduced-fat dairy products

* More lean meats

* Fish (fresh or canned) 2-3 times a week

* Poly or monounsaturated margarines

* Soluble fibre-rich foods

* Fats such as nuts and seeds (though not too much)

More Information:  Phone 1300 362787

Sourced from:

This post is part of the Southgate Medical Centre healthy lifestyles initiative for the Southbank community.

Mercury in fish – keep to the limits

While seafood is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it does also contain mercury – and too much mercury can damage the body’s nerves and immune system. This is a particular concern for the baby during pregnancy, infants and children up to the age of six.

Mercury is found naturally in the air, water and soil, however most is produced by humans such as in coal-fired power stations. This mercury eventually settles in the ocean floor, where bacteria absorb it. These bacteria are then ingested by small seafood and they are eaten by larger fish – as a result, the larger the fish, the higher the amount of mercury per gram.

The recommended seafood intake to ensure safe mercury levels is:

Pregnant, breastfeeding women/planning pregnancy (1 serve = 150g):

* 2 – 3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed below or
* 1 serve per week of Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) or Catfish and no other fish that week or
* 1 serve per fortnight of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish / Broadbill and Marlin) and no other fish that fortnight.

Children up to 6 years old (1 serve = 75g):

As above.

For everyone else (1 serve = 150g):

* 2 – 3 serves per week of any fish and seafood or
* 1 serve per week of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish / Broadbill and Marlin) and no other fish that week.

More information:

Sourced from:

This post is part of the Southgate Medical Centre healthy lifestyles initiative for the Southbank community.

Sleep Myths | Let’s put to rest some common myths about sleep

What Is Anxiety

Sleep MythsLet’s put to rest some common myths about sleep.

Myth (1) – Your brain is inactive during sleep.

In fact, your brain is very busy. Among its activities is sorting and processing information on what happens each day, then consolidating it into your long term memory. This is essential for learning and memory.

Myth (2) – Sleeping in this weekend can prevent sleep loss effects next week.

Extra sleep helps catch up on lost sleep. But you can’t bank sleep in advance. Sleep loss will always be felt when it happens. To be at your best during the week, you need to keep having a restful night’s sleep.

Myth (3) – A restful night’s sleep requires sleep without waking up.

No, normal sleep is a cycle of deep sleep, light sleep and brief awakenings, repeated several times in the night. What counts is how quickly you go back to sleep after waking up. If you think waking up during the night is abnormal, you might get anxious about it and find it hard to fall back to sleep. Try to relax if you wake up and let sleepiness take over.

Myth (4) – Children who don’t sleep enough are sleepy during the day.

Lack of sleep may not cause a child to feel tired, but can cause other problems such as poor concentration, moodiness and behaving badly. This is a concern, because you might not realise that these problems are due to not sleeping enough.

how to manage insomniaMyth (5) – You need less sleep as you get older.

Certainly children need less sleep as they grow up. But once you’re a young adult, the amount of sleep you need will stay the same for the rest of your life.

For more information, talk to our doctors or visit,au

Sourced from:

This post is part of the Southgate Medical Centre healthy lifestyles initiative for the Southbank community.

Doctor Melbourne