Hi Everyone,

As a Physiotherapist in many settings, I am proud to say that I provide Physiotherapy support for Qantas in Sydney. I am one of their onsite Physiotherapists and am extremely fortunate to have a lovely group of patients from the many job descriptions that make up this wonderful airline.


So thanks to Qantas over the years, I have been all over the world and have experienced their wonderful service.

There is an issue currently that is very close to my heart and needs your support.


The Facts:

Virgin has raised over $300 million in capital from Etihad, Singapore and Air New Zealand.

As a Qantas staff member there is a significant risk in the playing field of Australian aviation for the future of Qantas and all Qantas jobs.

It means Virgin, which will be 80% foreign owned, can use its unlimited funds to weaken Qantas in the domestic market and cripple our international business. It means foreign airlines having control of an airline which accesses Australia’s valuable air treaty rights. 

Please go to this link and sign the petition:

Spread the word:

Tell your friends and family about the threat to our airline industry. Forward them this website link or post it on your social pages and ask them to speak up. I promise, this is way more important than a filtered photo of your latte tomorrow morning!

Use the hash tag #fairgo4qantas and where possible, use the @qantasairways Twitter handle.


Qantas is a proud part of our ridiculously awesome country!

I always enjoy the banter when an American thinks that being an Aussie means that I ride in a Kangaroo to get places!

I hope to continue to…


Thank you for your support


Love, TOA





How to set-up your home office

The home office

Set up your home officeIn a recent interview on home office ergonomics I acknowledged the risk of working in a home office space that has not been set up to be ergonomically helpful—in other words, with everything set-up so you can work and interact with that environment safely and efficiently

So what would that involve?

  • There is no shortage of  google-able information.
  • It would be an easy matter to spend thousands of dollars on trying to achieve some kind of ergonomic perfection in your home office by buying any product that states it’s ergononmic.

In fact, you could spend thousands just on a chair alone…

But while some may be able and willing to outlay thousands for their home office setup, I’m assuming others will have some degree of a budget to consider, especially people who are setting up a new business from home.

However, with some research on the subject and some judicious purchasing, buying furniture that is not top of the line and still achieving an ergonomically satisfactory office setup should be possible without breaking the bank. You just need to know what features to look for.

In fact, from what I’ve been able to discover through my work in corporate physiotherapy, it should be possible to set up an ergonomically appropriate home office for less than $1,000.

Which is a lot less than what many people spend on setting up a web site.

Elements of an ergonomically designed home office

  • an adjustable swivel chair with a high back and recline adjustment
  • a desk with enough space for the frequent and infrequently reached for items.
  • keeping your computer screen one arm’s length away from you and have your eye level at the top third of the screen.
  • accessible paper files, documents and accessories
  • proper lighting, temperature, air and noise

To that general list I would add having a nice view, if at all possible. It is important to re-focus your eyes every 30 min, by focusing on something in the long distance out the window

Get a good chair

A good office chair includes these features:

  • swivel rotation
  • good lower back and upper back support.
  • easily adjustable for height, recline and tilt
  • able to bear the user’s weight

Helpfully, there are standards available from not-for-profit furntech-AFDRI (Australasian Furniture Research and Development Institute). Their standard for height adjustable swivel chairs AS/NZS 4438 (levels 4, 5 and 6). Look for their “blue tick”.

On Australian and New Zealand retail sites, chairs certified as AFRDI Level 6. That’s specified as “able to withstand extremely severe conditions of use, such as police stations, military installations, control rooms and use in heavy industry”, so holding out for that level seems hardly necessary for the average home office.

From my reading of the specification, a Level 4 would be adequate and Level 5 certainly appropriate for most home office situations.

It should be noted that those standards are for people weighing up to 110kg. There is a complementary standard for use by people heavier than that, the AFRDI 142 Rated Load standard.

Whenever I do an office assessment, I have to ensure everyone is reminded that we are all different shapes and sizes it’s probably safe to say that one chair will not fit all.

And if you can’t find the chair you want with an AFDRI blue tick, I recommend that at least you ensure that the chair you get has got the points I have mentioned above (able to swivel, etc).

Choosing a desk

Some checklists for ergonomic office design include having a height adjustable desk. That’s especially useful if you interested in applying the “sit-stand” approach to healthy desk working—working as much as possible in a standing position or regularly varying your working position between sitting and standing.

It may also be important for people who are not in the 152-157 cm or so range of height that fixed level desks seem to be designed for.

If you like the idea of having a height adjustable desk there is quite an array of choice, including desks with electric or gas enabled adjustment.

I’ve also seen catalogue items online for Australia in the $170-300 range, for manually adjustable desks. Practically speaking, this would be for a “set and forget” arrangement, not for frequent raising or lowering.

If you already have a desk or you have your eye on a particular desk that is not height adjustable and you feel ok about what seems to be the standard 725-750m or so height range, then it is even more important to make sure your chair is height adjustable.

As to the length and width of the desktop, surely it’s only in catalogues, or on the desks of very organised, tidy people, that you see just a computer, keyboard and maybe a paper notebook, and nothing else.

I have to confess that, as someone who long ago gave up on dreams of having a permanently neat and tidy desk, I like to have a desk of good length and depth, so I can spread out a bit and not feel overwhelmed by my clutter.

Computer screen height

You shouldn’t have to work against gravity to maintain an upright posture when looking at your screen. The computer screen should be one arm’s length distance away and your eye level should fall on the top 3rd of the screen.

The increasing use of laptops or notebook computers instead of desktop or tower computers, means that some measures need to be taken to avoid the head bent, hunching position which can be so bad for our posture.

I recommend investing in a laptop stand. They are around the $50 mark. If your laptop is used more on the desk than the lap, you will benefit greatly from an external keyboard and mouse. This will prevent the hunching posture adopted to look at the lower screen when without a stand. Causing havoc on your upper trapezius muscles. Ouch!

Paper files and other items

Don’t have everything on one side. Space out your frequently used items on the desk (within an arm’s reach) and any infrequently used items in an area that you have to get up to, this will encourage regular breaks.

Manage lighting, temperature, air and noise

Good, even lighting, using a desk lamp if that helps, and making sure our computer screen isn’t reflecting glare, say from an unshaded window, are practical steps for productivity and for protecting our eye health.

Having a comfortable ambient temperature, good air flow and an environment as free from annoying or distracting noise are no doubt obvious elements of an ergonomically supportive environment, but taking such factors into account before setting up the home office can save disruptive changes at a later date.

And when all that’s done, it’s not enough!

No matter how much money we spend on chairs, desks and other items, no matter how careful we are about lighting, temperature and the rest, it can all be in vain if we ignore one thing not covered by that list above.

And that one thing is the need to move—and often.


Hope this helps.

Happy working,

Love TOA

How to stay injury free this winter

Injuries in winter/what to look out for or dos and don’ts


Stay injury free this winterDo: spend longer warming up and preparing those muscles for a work out – Running in the warmest part of the day is recommended, between 10am and 2pm.

Shade and wind will cool down your body fast – causing you to shiver and increase muscular contractions. This can be associated with sudden tendon and muscular strains. A proper warm-up can be done indoors prior to your run.


Don’t: make any sudden changes to your footwear. Changing to a shoe your running style isn’t suited for is an injury waiting to happen. Know your running style, stick with your old faithful joggers and if you really feel like you’re overdue for a change, I recommend a gait analysis and getting a shoe fitted just for you.


Does the temperature have any bearing on whether/how to prepare for workouts or runs? 

In the colder months, I recommend spending a little longer warming up and easing into your run. In winter, it can take a little longer for our muscles and connective tissue around our joints to warm up and become more pliable – as a result, injury risk increases when you go straight into a workout without preparation.

A 10 minute workout will get the blood pumping to those muscles, as your body starts to generate heat the connective tissue around your joints will be able to tolerate the workout a lot better. Once your body is warm, I recommend stretching out any tight spots you may have before you begin your run. 

Even though it is cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to drink as much water as you would need to on a scorcher of a day.

Make sure you monitor your water intake the same way you would in those warmer seasons.

Appropriate clothing is a must. We are lucky that our climate in winter is fairly mild. However, a lot of heat can escape from our hands, feet and head. So you might need to have a look at your running wardrobe and update a few items.


Are there other seasonal hazards related to typical workout types in winter?

Your winter workout surface can potentially contribute to injury. Unstable, slippery or hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing injuries such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathies.

To avoid such injuries you may want to slightly adjust your expectations for speed and time, aim to run on days where the surfaces aren’t slippery from rain or dew, mix up your surface between the path and grass.


Another surface that tends to get forgotten is the good ol’ treadmill.

This is a popular choice for gym goers who still would like to do their running training when the weather isn’t cooperating.

When you think about it, the treadmill belt helps you run. It makes the running gait a little easier by assisting your hip extension (bringing your leg back). In turn, your glutes don’t get their regular workout they would on your favourite running track.

It is important to keep in the back of your mind if you have had to do a little more treadmill running training that usual, spend more time focusing on some isolated glute strengthening exercises like lunges, clams and sidelying hip abduction exercises. This will help prevent the stain on the knee when it is a sunny day and you hit the running track again after prolonged treadmill training.

Or maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors fixing technique that may over time lead to injury.


I highly recommend including an indoor strengthening and stability regime to your running schedule that involves focusing on your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.

I find that there can be a common reason why athletes get injured. They disobey the rule of the Terrible Toos.





If you push yourself in these three, you will get injured. Simple

The injured athletes that I see in my practice fall into this category.

This can be especially relevant in the winter months as your body is working extra hard anyway to deal with the weather and any changes in the terrain.

Follow the 48 hour rule. Don’t ignore a niggle if it is lingering on for longer than 2 days

In any season, when a cheeky injury decides to stop by, we’re only human to think that if we leave it alone, it will get better, right?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of increasing our exercise regime and I think it is a nice friendly reminder that we are doing good for our body. However if you have pain or discomfort that doesn’t fall under the category of “good sore” then it is time to get help. See a physiotherapist that has experience working with athletes and getting them back in their runners.


Got it?

Ok, now lace up those runners, warm up and have a fabulous run!


Love, The Office Athlete