Con­nec­tion of mind-body key

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Business - By SARA FITZ­PATRICK

ENGLISH proverb ‘ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion’ rings par­tic­u­larly true for Katie Stewart.

For sev­eral years, the for­mer Cottes­loe gym owner watched clients fail to achieve health and weight loss goals.

Trapped in a cy­cle of weight loss and gain, as well as con­stant in­jury, they were lack­ing a mind-body con­nec­tion.

De­ter­mined to cre­ate a new and ef­fec­tive regime, she joined forces with busi­ness part­ner Lisa Row­ley.

To­gether they de­vised Mind­ful Move­ment, a ba­sic ex­er­cise pro­gram of repet­i­tive low-im­pact ac­tions, de­signed to build sel­f­re­spect and body aware­ness, in­duce weight loss and treat mild anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

“Suc­cess shouldn’t come down to a num­ber or an ex­ter­nal force telling you what is your ver­sion of healthy or happy,” Stewart, an ac­cred­ited ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist, said.

“It has got to come from your own trust in your own body.”

The pair, known as The Ex­er­cise Ther­a­pist, have of­fered the pro­gram in a se­ries of work­shops across Perth.

“A client was in a con­stant cy­cle of 20kg on, 20kg off and be­ing men­tally un­happy and there­fore di­ag­nosed as hav­ing de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, which was be­ing man­aged with med­i­ca­tion that changed all the time,” Stewart said.

“I didn’t give her any diet; we just started our daily 12-minute prac­tices and she lost eight ki­los over about six weeks. It was be­cause of the sub­lim­i­nal in­crease in her per­sonal con­fi­dence. You start hav­ing a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with your body be­cause you’re spend­ing more time with it and un­der­stand­ing it and you are think­ing about how you move. So through no other means other than chang­ing the way she thought about her self and body, she em­pow­ered her­self with mak­ing sub­con­scious de­ci­sions.

“Be­cause it’s sub­con­scious, you don’t have to change any­thing: you don’t have to clean out the pantry or in­vest in hours of cook­ing – that comes nat­u­rally be­cause you start to want to eat dif­fer­ent things and you be­come cu­ri­ous about how to look af­ter your body bet­ter.”

Stewart said the pro­gram was par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial to those aged 45-plus be­cause of the high risk of de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s.

“As we get older our brain ac­tiv­ity re­gresses and we stop push­ing our­selves out­side our com­fort zone,” she said.

“We stop nat­u­rally grow­ing from a neu­ral point of view and stim­u­lat­ing the brain, so the brain starts to shut down other ar­eas that aren’t con­stantly used.”

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Katie Stewart. Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son

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