Lachlan Soper is a dedicated medical professional based in Mosman, Sydney, Australia. As a doctor, he is committed to providing his patients with the best possible healthcare and advice. With a belief in the importance of prevention, Lachlan Soper takes the time necessary to not just treat medical problems but also to educate his patients on how to maintain a high quality of life.
As a caring general practitioner, Lachlan Soper is known for his compassionate and attentive approach to patient care. He understands the importance of building strong relationships with his patients and takes the time to listen to their concerns and needs. This patient-centered approach allows him to tailor his medical advice and treatment plans to suit each individual.
Beyond his professional life, Lachlan Soper has a passion for cycling. He is a committed cyclist and enjoys spending time with his biking companions. Cycling provides him with an outlet for relaxation and a way to maintain his own physical health and well-being.
However, Lachlan Soper's most significant role in life is that of a loving father. He is devoted to his three beautiful children and cherishes the time he spends with them. As a father, he prioritizes their happiness, health, and well-being and is actively involved in their lives.
Lachlan Soper's dedication to his patients, passion for cycling, and commitment to his family reflect his strong values and a balanced approach to life. Whether he is in the medical practice, cycling on the roads, or spending time with his children, Lachlan Soper brings the same level of dedication, compassion, and care to everything he does. His desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others is evident in both his professional and personal endeavors, making him an exceptional medical professional, cycling enthusiast, and father.
Avenue Road Medical Practice
Dr Lachlan Soper is a General Practitioner who graduated from the University of Sydney in 2000 and attained his FRACGP (Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) in 2006. In fact, he was a medical student in our practice in 1999.
Health Apps That Are Actually Helpful
People generally want a healthier lifestyle and a good, healthy body. However, not many people have the money to shell out for personal trainers that can tell you when to work out, what to eat, and what macros and how many calories you should eat. When looking to become healthier, a number of people become so overwhelmed as they’re inundated by diet culture that they give up before they ever start. One of the best ways that you can get your healthy lifestyle back on track is to use health apps. Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the most beneficial health apps to help take charge of your health.
If you’re looking for the best free app, look no further than MyFitnessPal. With over 50 million total downloads, this lifestyle app is designed to help track your daily food intake, giving its users a specific workout goal, calorie limit, and a great way to keep on track with your diet. While weight loss (or more appropriately fat loss, because we don’t want to loose muscle) can be quite complicated and nuanced, it is also in many ways quite simple. Energy in, energy out. For those who like maths – fat loss is simply a spreadsheet.
MyFitness Pal helps you understand your calories you intake (eat or drink) and those you burn (exercise) on top of your Basal Metabolic Rate (the rate at which you burn energy when doing pretty well nothing – the energy that your muscles and organs need on a daily basis.
If you input your sex, age, height and weight it pretty accurately estimates your Basal Metabolic Rate (although if you’re really serious getting a DEXA scan is the gold standard). A tip when setting up the App I’d recommend is not to select a goal weight loss or weight gain, but to “maintain weight”, otherwise MyFitnessPal will set a basal energy level below (to loose weight) or above (to gain weight) your basal metabolic rate.
Lets say you’re a 70kg male, your basal metabolic rate will be about 1700kcal / day. If you walk for an hour, you’ve burnt say 400kcal, and if you do half an hour of hard weights you’ve burnt another 300kcal. Lets say it was an adventurous day and you rode a bike for an hour, then you’ve burnt approximately another 700kcal. That means to stay in energy balance you would eat 3100kcal. However, if that is a day that you want to loose some fat, then you could choose to have a 1000kcal deficit (noting that 1kg of fat is approximately 7000kcal of energy).
MyFitnessPal is really useful to understand the energy density of food. Lets say for that 70kg male they did no exercise on a particular day, but they had a triple scoop chocolate ice cream for a treat at lunch. That ice cream alone would be in the vicinity of 750kcal – nearly half of all the energy budget for the day! MyFitnessPal can scan the barcode on your food and if you know the portion size you’re having you can very accurately understand the calories and portions of carbohydrates, protein and fat (“macros”) you’ve ingested. This is such a widely used app, its index of food and portion sizes is unmatched, with a database of over 11 million foods and even a recipe importer that can track recipes that you use on the web.
This App is a great way to understand energy in, energy out, how to better control or modulate your eating habits and the benefits of exercise to burning fat. It’s a fantastic starter to the journey of fat loss and weight maintenance.
If your lifestyle changes are more focused on outdoor activities such as running, walking, hiking, cycling, or swimming, then Strava is the app for you. This free app used by 48 million people connects to a number of different wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, Samsung’s Galaxy Watches, and Google’s Wear OS watches. If you don’t have a wearable device, Strava also allows you to use your phone or a cycle computer. Strava’s main purpose is to act as a GPS, tracking your exercise journey as you go out cycling, swimming, running, or hiking. For an extra fee of $7.99 a month, you can get more features, such as real-time location sharing, route planning, goal setting, training logs, as well as maps of popular routes in your area. There’s also an extensive social media network connected to it where people can join challenges, connect with people on a similar workout journey, or even share photos of daily activities.
Strava links with MyFitnessPal and the exercise that you log on Strava can instantly upload to MyFitnessPal so that you have an accurate idea of your energy use during the day.
For those a little more competitive (either internally with yourself, or with mates or anyone out there), people set up ‘segments’ on Strava and you can see how you have gone on any segment on any road or trail you have been on. Lets say you have a favourite little hill on your ride home most days. If you give it a crack you can see how you compare with your previous results, your personal best, other people who have done it on the same day, your mates and in fact compared with the best times ever.
It’s an exercise logging app with a social and competitive element too!
This app does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s an incredible app that teaches you about weight loss, calories, and the importance of water intake, macros, and workouts. The app is an educational tool to tell you what kinds of food you should be buying on your diet and even goes so far as to recommend ingredients to buy from the grocery store. It even has a feature that allows you to scan food products to look at the pros and cons of purchasing the food. This allows you to make the best decision based on your health journey.
What Happens to Your Body When You Cycle Most Days of the Week?
Over the past couple of pandemic years, cycling has increased in popularity and bikes and home trainers have often sold faster than they can come into stock. More people have gone out of their way to cycle or even purchase at-home stationary bikes to work out with, making cycling increasingly accessible to people who’d like a new way to work out. Cycling daily can bring about a number of changes in your daily life, your body, and your mind. Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider cycling daily.
BUILDING STRENGTH IN YOUR MUSCLES
Cycling is a great cardio workout, yes, but it can also be a great way to increase your strength. When you’re cycling with more resistance (higher Watts), you force your muscles to develop stronger. If you cycle daily, you’ll notice a difference in your quads, hamstrings, gluts and calves. Not only that, you may find that your back extensor muscles develop in strength too, and your triceps in your arms develop extra strength and definition. This is because your body uses a number of muscles to stay atop your bike, and constant cycling leads to the strengthening of your muscles.
WEIGHT LOSS, CARDIOVASCULAR AND HEALTH BENEFITS
This is a great, albeit obvious, benefit. Cycling is a high-intensity but low-impact exercise, allowing you to exercise for longer periods of time without worrying about the stress that it may put on your joints. Because you are able to ride for a lot longer time (due to the low impact) than someone can typically run, you may find that you’re losing body fat and weight. It also allows you to lower your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
IMPROVING YOUR ENDURANCE
You don’t have to cycle for hours upon hours to improve your endurance. A 30-60-minute cycling session can have a number of benefits. The more often you exercise, the more your body gets used to working out. Keep changing the stimulus, from long, easy talking-pace endurance training rides, to shorter, high-intensity interval training to improve your strength, power and VO2 max (ability to uptake and utillise oxygen).
There are a number of health benefits to keep in mind when incorporating cycling into your daily workout schedule. Whether that’s building strength in your muscles, keeping your overall health in check, or improving your endurance, the benefits of regular cycling are endless.
The Benefits of Participating in Multiple Sports
When you’re looking to become more active, one of the best things that you can do is to play a number of different sports. Becoming an active participant in a number of sports has many benefits, including motor control, patience, teamwork, and an understanding of hard work. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the benefits of playing multiple sports.
When someone plays a number of different sports, it naturally improves their overall coordination and muscle control. As different sports, like soccer, athletics (track and field), and tennis, all use different skills, it can be an incredible outlet to help people gain the necessary skills to become better athletes. These skills that you acquire can even provide prevention against injury.
Playing multiple sports can lead to improved development of control throughout your neuromuscular system. This can include things such as endurance, power, strength, agility, speed, flexibility, and stability.
Kicking, running, jumping, even throwing and hitting all use your body’s muscles, allowing your muscles to become stronger. Ever notice that the more you practice your throwing and catching, the more powerful your throws become? Or how about going on a run. Keeping your endurance up can ensure that you blow everyone away at your next game.
OVERUSE OF MUSCLES
Playing different sports can actually ensure that you don’t overuse one muscle group. If you’re playing hockey, you’re using different muscles than when you’re playing football or baseball. If you were to focus on one aspect of one sport only you are more likely to develop an overuse injury. One way swimmers try to ‘balance’ their muscles out is competing and training in different strokes – freestyle develops your chest (as well as arms, legs etc), whereas training backstroke as well develops your back and compliments the strength in your chest from the freestyle and butterfly strokes.
You can rest certain muscles while playing one sport, and activate them when playing a different one. Think of baseball pitchers, the incredible forces they place through one shoulder and their risk of injury. It can be incredibly easy to wear out your arm when throwing a baseball day in and day out, but if you play soccer alongside baseball, you have the ability to get a nice workout and not have to worry about overusing your arms. This is incredibly important when looking at the potential for injury. Rest and diversification of muscle use and muscle stimulus is so important.
Improving Communication With Your Kids
If you have kids, it’s only natural that you’re going to talk with them. Ask how their day was, how their friends are doing, how they like school, and so on. However, sometimes, you may find that something’s off with them, whether that’s something at school or just teenage angst. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a line of open communication with your kids, they won’t come to you. You may also feel powerless when wondering how and where to begin to craft a better line of communication. Below are some tips to keep in mind that will help improve your communication with your kids.
Listen fully– with your body as well as your hearing
Children take into account every part of a person’s state of being, and more often than not, they feel more loved if you’re listening to them fully. When a child comes to you to talk, put down your phone, or turn away from your computer. Give your child your full attention, whether that’s just turning to face them, sitting with them on the couch, or even just making eye contact. Helping your child feel heard is an important part of establishing a good line of communication.
Pay attention to unspoken emotions
Kids don’t necessarily have the words to express all of their feelings and emotions, but their body language can speak volumes. Instead of getting angry or frustrated that your child is either shutting down or getting upset, repeat back what they’re telling you. This shows that you value the emotions that they’re feeling because, more often than not, kids feel like their emotions aren’t being taken seriously. Reflective statements show that you’re paying attention to both what they’re saying as well as the emotions that they’re feeling, and it will open the door for further conversation.
Have empathy for your child’s feelings / validate their feelings
Empathy is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to craft a better relationship with your child. This allows you to not only try and understand your child but also validate their feelings. Acknowledging feelings of anger, frustration, or disappointment can help immensely when your child has a problem. Sometimes, all they need is a person who listens and validates their feelings. They just need to understand that they’re not alone.
What Happens After Getting the Covid Vaccine?
It’s finally happening. Vaccines for Covid-19 are steadily becoming more available to the general public. Pending any future vaccine rollout hiccoughs, one day soon there will come a time when most of society is vaccinated, and it may feel like the world is just a little bit safer from this virus.
As people prepare to get vaccinated, there are a few natural questions that come up. What should they expect immediately following their vaccination, what will be safe for them, and what they should continue to avoid, just to name a few of the primary concerns.
While it is tempting to consider oneself in the clear to go back to a normal routine, certain safety precautions should be kept in place. The Australian Government recommends that basic safety measures (testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation) all remain in place.
To look into it a bit further, the CDC explains how and when people are considered fully vaccinated. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose. The only exception to this would be for patients who received a single-dose vaccine (not yet approved in Australia), in which case they are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after.
It’s also important to remember that “fully vaccinated” does not mean in the clear with regards to risk. Some people do not seroconvert to vaccines (produce a sufficient immune response), and new variants of COVID-19 may not be very well protected by the vaccine. In fact many epidemiologists believe that we may well need annual COVID-19 vaccines for variants which mutate each year (I guess we’ll see in time).
One of the biggest concerns to the public is the possibility of reactions to the vaccine itself. All vaccines (all medicines) can cause side effects.
Common side effects from COVID-19 vaccines include:
pain, redness, and swelling around the injection area,
tiredness for a few days,
muscle or joint pain,
rever / chills
Expected and common side-effects are related to the immune system being activated by the injected antigen and from the action of injecting liquid into a muscle through a needle. Most side effects go by themselves and only last 1-2 days. An icepack wrapped in a teatowel can be used to manage pain. Paracetamol or ibuprofen are not routinely recommended to take post COVID-19 vaccination.
It’s important to note that while these side effects are considered common, there’s no guarantee that they will occur. Many have not experienced any negative side effects at all, after getting their vaccine. Conversely, some patients did report stronger variants of these listed side effects.
As with any vaccination or medication, reach out to your doctor or local hospital if more concerning or urgent side effects arise. More concerning symptoms can include shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, chest pain, abdominal pain, and a persistent headache not mostly relieved by paracetamol.
Remember the 2nd dose!
When you book (or have) your first vaccine dose, remember to book your second vaccine. The recommended minimum time from first to second dose is 3 weeks for the Pfizer vaccine and 4 weeks for the AstraZeneca vaccine (noting that the recommended interval between doses for Astra Zenica is 12 weeks).
Your second vaccine must be carried out with the same COVID-19 brand as the first dose.
Can you get COVID-19 from the vaccination?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contains live coronaviruses. Therefore, the virus is unable to replicate and grow to cause an infection. For example, the Astra Zeneca vaccine delivers genetic code instructions to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein only which is recognised by the immune system. There are no changes to the human DNA through this process. These are the same steps which occur when a virus invades normally, except that the spike proteins are reproduced instead of more viruses.
However, it is possible for a person to catch COVID-19 just before or after a vaccination and therefore return a positive test due to an active infection acquired before the vaccine was effective.
Some side-effects from COVID-19 vaccination might be similar to symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to still get a COVID-19 test performed at your local testing centre if you have any of the respiratory COVID-19 symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, even after you have been vaccinated.
Travel and What Can You Do When Fully Vaccinated
The list of restrictions will vary depending on the state and country, so it is important to look up local laws before considering travel (and make sure your travel plans allow cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances).
Despite being vaccinated, the advice from the government is to take the same COVID-safe precautions that you have taken pre vaccination (such as wearing masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing). This may change with time and increasing vaccination, but it’s really a case of watch this space and be patient.
The University of Chicago was interviewed about what is safe to do after you’ve been vaccinated, and the link provides some interesting information.
Domestic travel will depend on local outbreaks and what quarantine measures governments take with these outbreaks. It is still not clear when we can expect international borders to open.
Many experts do not expect international travel to and from Australia to open up to what it was before the pandemic began until 2024, so this is a season for developing patience.
You can still get COVID-19 after vaccination, so think of others in the public
Research to current date shows that the vaccines prevent severe COVID-19 disease very well, but it may still be possible to be infected with, and to spread COVID-19 to other people. Therefore, it is important to be tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even after you have been vaccinated.
Even when vaccinated, masks may again become recommended or mandatory if and when there are future outbreaks. This is to protect those that have not received a vaccination yet (either due to lack of availability or medical reasons). Addiotionally, Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre advises to follow these practices for another reason: social pressure. Without knowing the vaccination status of those around, it is easier to feel safe when seeing masks in place.
When it comes to public health, it is better to err on the side of safety.
What to Pack for an Overnight Cycling Trip
Cycling is one of the best ways to find adventure. Sometimes, a cycling trip can take more than one day. For this type of adventure, it’s important to pack all the right essentials. While an overnight cycling trip can seem a bit intimidating, it can be one of the most exciting trips you’ll ever take. To make sure it goes smoothly, be sure to pack these items with you:
The Perfect Bag
Depending on how long your trip may be, it can call for a different type of bag to carry all of your essentials. The best bags to bring along with you are a handlebar bag, seat bag, or frame bag. If you are carrying a lot, these bags place less strain on your body than a backpack. The handlebar bag is great for the items you won’t need all day since it can be difficult to open and close. It’s great for keeping sleeping items or food you won’t eat until much later.
If you need your ride to be more lightweight, you can omit the handlebar bag and substitute it for a seat bag. A seat bag is perfect for storing everything from clothes, food, and sleepwear, which is perfect for longer trips. Grab a frame bag for heavy items such as tools or a water filter if you’re going off the beaten track.
Remember to get waterproof bike bags with zips that don’t let water through. More on that later.
Having your phone on hand and visible is super essential while riding in unknown territory. Your phone helps keep track of where you are and it’s great to have it out for emergencies. This is why a phone mount is essential for those long, overnight trips. Apart from easy navigation and emergency situations, having a phone mount for your bike is also great for access to music, podcasts, and a camera while cycling. I personally find the QuadLock case and mount really good.
Some people are more rugged than others, and happy to sleep out under the stars. If that’s you, then it’s a good idea to have a sleeping bag, tarp or tent in your bags. However, if you’re more like me, and like a shower and a firm bed at night, then plan your trips around motels. If you don’t want to pre-book hotels, it’s wise to plan your ride to end in a town or village that will have some accommodation options that you can turn up spontaneously for the night.
Essentials You Can Fit
On an overnight cycling adventure, it’s important to pack light. You are going to be riding all day and having too many items will easily weigh you down, making the ride less enjoyable. Always have essential bike tools, water bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, phone charger and a small toiletries bag. Remember that most of your days will be in cycling kit, so you don’t need much in terms of “civilian” clothes.
Also remember, rain can be unpredictable, so bring a roll of sturdy bin bags and even some large snap lock bags to put your spare clothes in, that way if it is a rainy ride your clothes are double plastic bagged (in your water-proof bike bag).
If you’re staying in a hotel or motel overnight, you can wash your cycling clothes from that day in the shower and leave them to dry overnight – that way you may choose only to have one set of cycling kit (although a spare is wise).
Safety Tips for Cycling Through the Rain
If you truly have a passion for cycling, sometimes not even bad weather can stop you from riding. While it is safer to cycle during clear skies, from time to time you can get stuck in unexpected showers. If you make the choice to purposely ride in the rain, there are certain safety precautions you would be wise to take.
The Right Clothing
When taking your bike out in the rain, always remember to wear the right clothing. It’s essential to wear layers that you can remove and choose reflective gear. If your clothing is reflective, it will make it much easier for others to see you through the rain.
A waterproof jacket and leg warmers should be included in your layers. No waterproof jacket is perfect. Those with breathability often let moisture through quicker. Those that don’t breathe result in you sweating and getting wet from your sweat (and then the water which eventually makes its way down your neck). That being said they keep you drier for longer, as well as warmer. Overshoes as well as waterproof (or water resistant) gloves also contribute to making cycling in the rain more comfortable.
Besides using reflective gear, it’s imperative to have bike lights when cycling in the rain. Not only does it help others see you from far distances, but it will also improve your view of the road ahead. Bad weather can tamper with roads and easily blow sticks and gravel into your bath. With bike lights, cyclists are able to keep an eye out for debris on the road which may cause punctures.
It is also worth considering carrying a spare front and rear light in case the battery goes flat or they fail.
Riding your bike in the rain is obviously going to be more dangerous than riding with clear skies. This is why it is so important to take your ride more slowly. Even with reflective gear and bike light, always take precaution with riding down a wet and slippery road. Make sure to ride slower than usual, particularly around corners.
It’s also especially important to allow more distance to break and break slower as well. As there is less grip on the brakes while wet and less grip for the tyres on the road, breaking can be more difficult and take longer to stop. It’s best to take it slow and break sooner than usual when coming to a stop (particularly if you have carbon rims and rim brakes).
Bring the Right Gear
To protect yourself from the rain while cycling, the best way to stay safe is by bringing the right gear. It’s certainly helpful to make sure you can fully see where you are going, so consider getting yourself cycling glasses with clear lenses to shield your eyes from the rain. Another item to consider on a rainy cycling day is mudguards to protect from road spray from the wheels up your back. Finally ride with durable tyres rather than race tyres. This could save you from getting a flat in the middle of the rain!
How Parenting Expectations Can Be Damaging
Children don’t come out of Mummy’s tummy with a step-by-step instruction manual. As parents we all learn on the job, every day. We make mistakes and God-willing we learn, adapt and improve. Every parent is going to have their own way of raising their child. When it comes down to it, there is no ultimate right or wrong way to raise your children. However, thanks to social media and many parents sharing their own experiences and life as a family, there is more often than not someone telling them that they’re doing it all wrong, negatively judging their parenting style, and giving advice no one asked for. Setting your own high expectations of other parents can be damaging.
While giving some tips and advice can be helpful, if not delivered in the right way it can also be quite harmful to the parent and subsequently, the child. Whether someone is judging a parent for spoiling their child, being too harsh, or too protective, this type of judgment causes more stress and makes it harder to parent their child, not easier.
What Works For One Child May Not Work for Another
Before placing harsh judgment on another parent, it’s imperative to remember that every child is different. Even siblings require different parenting styles. What works for one child might not be effective for another. For example, many parents have their own opinion on whether to “cry-it-out” or choose the co-sleeping method. Some view the cry-it-out method as cruel abandonment while others see co-sleeping as smothering and spoiling your child. The fact is, both of these methods work in different circumstances. It all depends on the child.
The Consequences of Parental Expectations
Those who give their unsolicited advice to parents often think they are doing the right thing for the sake of the child. On the contrary, their judgments and expectations can have consequences such on both the parent and the child. This type of judgment can make a parent feel incompetent which could make them act more harshly towards their children. Their children could then feel ashamed and bad which then leads to even more bad behaviour. In the end, no one wins.
How to Not Be Judgemental to Other Parents
To stop the endless tirade of judging other parenting, take a step back and let go of the ego. The fact of the matter is, no one has the ultimate way of parenting and there’s no way to know everything. It’s imperative to focus on what matters. Is the child happy? Does the child feel secure and nurtured? Has any harm come to the child? If their child is safe, happy, and thriving, then there is no reason to give parenting advice unless asked for. Not only will this benefit the parent, but the child as well.
For those “receiving” external expectations or “advice” regarding parenting, it may be wise to keep the circle of advisors small, and consisting of people whose experience and care for you and your children you trust.
Lachlan Soper on The Art of Saying No to Your Child
When a parent tells their child they can’t do something it’s because they have a reason behind it. Whether you tell them they can’t go to the park to play or hang out with a friend after school, the word ‘no’ has to be said every once in a while (and sometimes quite often, depending on the personality of your child).
If you don’t set boundaries with your child from a young age, they will grow up and assume they don’t have to ask for permission once a teenager. Some ways of saying no are more effective than others and can help you show your children that you care for them. Here are some ways you can say no to your child and show that you mean it.
Give a Definite Answer
It’s normal for children to get upset when they ask for something and receive a “We’ll see…” or “It depends…” as the answer. If you want to say no, then just say it clearly. To show them that you’re serious, be sure to say it in a firm, yet caring tone. There could be times when your answer is ‘maybe’ because of other factors but make that clear to the children. This is a situation where the “When … then” technique could be helpful. Eg: “When you have unpacked your bags, put them away, emptied the dishwasher and tidied your room, then, you can have 30 minutes of screen time”. One thing about children is that they don’t forget when a promise is made to them.
After the whining and begging, many children want to know why they were told no in the first place. Offer a short explanation to help your child understand your decision. This could help them see why you said this and steer them away from thinking you’re just being a mean parent. For example, if they ask to go to the pool with some friends and you don’t think it’s too good of an idea because of their swimming skills, then just be clear about it. Without explanations, children can become angry and make decisions they shouldn’t on their own.
But this can also be a fine line, because it can be tempting for children to not respect your answer if they feel that your “reason” isn’t good enough. So then perhaps reassurance is helpful eg: “You know that I love you, that I care for you and want the best for you, and wherever possible do all I can to facilitate you having a fun time. You need to trust that there are times that where I am making what I believe to be the best decision for you and the family”
Make Yourself Clear
No means no and let that be clear. If your child is begging and pleading a case the last thing you should do is change your no to a yes. After doing that your child will take anything you say with a grain of salt and assume that they can change your mind on other occasions. You’re the adult so you should be firm in this situation. There may be times when you change your mind but also be clear as to why it happened so that the kids don’t assume that you’re a pushover to change your mind.
Lachlan Soper on Getting Fit and Healthy as a Family
If you’re like a lot of families in 2020, you probably realize that your family could use some work on their overall fitness and health. Take a look at a few simple ways you can help your family get into better shape!
Exercise That Doesn’t Feel Like Exercise
When you hear the word exercise, what’s the first thing that jumps into your mind? You may think of a very unenjoyable, strenuous activity that leaves you completely out of breath and sweating profusely. But exercising as a family doesn’t have to be that way. “Incidental exercise”, try to do things that ‘move’ rather than be moved. Walk to the shops if possible, rather than drive, ride bikes to the playground rather than drive. Walk the dog around the block and chat as a family. Have a Family bike ride a few times a week. The event doesn’t have to be a race. For most of us, we really need to just get up and get moving to get into better health.
Be intentional with your food shopping
Plan your meals for the week / fortnight and set aside time to both do the shopping and prepare the meals. This way it doesn’t feel squeezed in and the temptation to be lazy and get take away creep in too often.
Include the children in the shopping. Get them help you purchase the ingredients. And, include them (in a safe and supervised way) in the cooking. If you’re making a bolognese for example you may get the kids to help break up the mince, grate the vegetables, chop some other vegetables (under supervision), pour some olive oil or spices into the pan / pot… you get the picture. Children can enjoy “creating” their meal (particularly if they get to drop a token pinch of sugar into it).
Replace cordial / juice / soft drinks with water
Did you know that most juices / soft drinks are 10% sugar (carbohydrate)? And unlike solid foods, it’s actually very easy to squeeze an extra drink down, which can significantly increase your caloric intake (extra energy which is converted into fat). .As a family try to consciously reduce your intake of juice and soft drinks and simply have water with meals. Soft drinks and juices taste nice, so reserve them for more special occasions where possible, and really enjoy them rather than have them routinely.
Even in these unprecedented times, getting your family fit and healthy is only a few easy adjustments away.
Lachlan Soper on Travel Destinations for Beginner Cyclists
Travelling the world is an amazing experience––travelling the world by bike is an incredible adventure. From country to country are trails, paths, and roads that you can take by bike to find breathtaking views and immerse yourself into a whole new world. While biking around the world can seem like a difficult feat, there are plenty of destinations for beginner and intermediate cyclists to venture to.
Causeway Coastal Route
Northern Ireland has always been known for its stunning beauty and gorgeous views. In Northern Ireland, cyclists can ride along the Causeway Coastal Route (also see to gaze upon the restless Irish Sea, mountains, glens, cliffs, intricate rock formations, and even castles. Since this route is right next to the sea, it is mostly flat and perfect for beginners. Along the way, riders will also find many a small town of friendly locals and stop by the pub for a quick break on their journey.
Danube Cycling Path
Europe is a wonderful destination for cyclists of all skill levels. For beginners, they’ll be able to experience the Danube Cycling Path that runs through Germany and Austria––the best-known cycle route in Europe. The incredible path is a well-signposted bike route with amazing views. It follows along the River Danube all the way from its source in Germany, travelling through 10 countries to the Black Sea. This route offers many places to see with easy terrain and almost no traffic.
Amakusa Islands in Kyushu
For a safe destination to travel to, Japan is one safest of the countries to go on an adventure. Although Japan can get quite hilly along bike paths, making it difficult for most beginners, the Amakusa Islands in Kyushu offers a much different route. On these islands, the ride is short and easy but isn’t without breathtaking scenery.
The Visayas Islands
Another common destination for cyclists of all skill level is the Philippines. The Visayas islands of Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Guimaraes, and Panay are great for bicycle touring for beginners. The roads are pretty flat while following the coastline and paved with little to no traffic for an easy ride. What makes this easy path even better is being so close to the shore. Cyclists can easily hop off their bike and go into the water for a cool and refreshing dip after a long ride.
Lachlan Soper on Tips for a Safe Ride While Cycling
Cycling is a great way to get some exercise, explore new places, have adventures, or simply to have some fun outside. Zooming through roads and trails is exhilarating and an incredible experience. However, it can be quite dangerous if you are not taking the proper safety measures. It’s essential to be as safe as possible while cycling or else a mistake could result in serious injury. Check out these tips for a safe ride while cycling:
Wear a Helmet
The number one rule everyone needs to follow at all times is wearing a helmet. A head injury, especially when speeding down a road or trail, could be catastrophic or even fatal. According to studies, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious injury by 70%. Simply put, wearing a helmet can ultimately save your life in a biking accident.
Even though you’re paying attention to the road, others may not be. This is really important to repeatedly teach your children. As parents know, their children can often get a false sense of confidence in their abilities when they still have a lot to learn. Reminding them that it is the other people to watch out for is a way of taking the ego out of saying to your children “be safe”, or rather “beware of other people on the roads and paths”.
Whether you’re cycling during day or night, it makes a big difference if you can wear bright or reflective clothing or materials to ensure drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists can see you. Many cyclists nowadays actually have their rear flashing light on during the day too, just to do all they can to be visible.
Know How to Use Signals
Unlike in cars, when you’re on a bike you don’t have a loud horn, turn signals, or brake lights. At most, you will have a bell to alert others. This is why it’s imperative to know your bike hand signals and how to use them. This allows you to communicate with drivers and other cyclists around you. By making your hand signals clear to others, you provide them with fair warning of what your intentions are (eg: turning left or right), and an accident is less likely to happen.
Riding With Young Children
When riding with your kids, if there is only one adult either ride behind the last child or on the “dangerous side” next to the last child (eg: if on a cycle-lane on the road, then ride between them and the cars). If you have two adults have one at the front (or next to the front child) and one at the back.
As an adult riding with kids you are constantly hypervigilant for cars coming out of driveways, car doors opening, random pedestrians, street corners, how to cross the roads etc… Where possible talk to them about what you are looking for, so that bit by bit they can become more actively engaged in their own safety. Where possible, involve your kids in these safety checks (obviously having already done them yourself).
Remember that kids can often get distracted when they see a playground or a lunch destination approaching, so it’s worth being more careful at these points so that they don’t hone in on their “target” and forget the dangers between them and the destination.
When it comes to crossing roads, use your parental discernment. There is no harm in walking the bikes across the roads if the roads are busy. Kids are irreplaceable assets, so safety always comes first before getting to your destination in a timely manner.
The Best Hiking Trails in Australia to Explore
Australia is well known for its oceans, open plains, rainforests, and mountains, making it one of the best places for hikers to spend their days. Here are a few of the best hiking trails to explore.
Overland Tracks, Tasmania
This trail takes up about 65km of Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. This beautiful trail has amazing views which include D’Alton and Ferguson falls. If you’re not comfortable with walking on your own you can book a guided walk with the park’s wildlife services. Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out to this trail because it is known to be very wet!
Binna Burra to Green Mountains, Queensland
This track passes through the Atlantic Beech Forest and subtropical rainforests giving hikers amazing views. If you stop at the Wanungara Lookout you’ll have a view of Limpwood Valley, Mount Warning, and sometimes even Byron Bay. This hike can take up most of the day so be sure to stay hydrated and dress accordingly.
Six Foot Track, New South Wales
Located in the Blue Mountains, this long-distance track from Katoomba to Jenolan is two meters wide. The trail was built over 100 years ago and is a great way to explore the beauty of the Blue Mountains and learn about the history behind it. Along the way, you’ll run into some challenging climbs but once you get into the caves it will be all worth it.
People usually bring a tent for the Six Foot Track, alternately with some planning, you can stay at some lodges along the way.
Cape to Cape Walk, Western Australia
Pack your bags properly because this seven-day walk will take you some time. The track follows the coast, with some stops at beaches and cliff-top views. The Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin lighthouse are both stops where you can get information about the trail or sign up for a guided tour.
Manly to the Spit Bridge
If you’ve never hiked in the middle of a city, then we’re about to change that. Sydney Harbor National Park is the perfect place to hike in peace (see articles to come about cycling through Sydney’s waterways). The trail has outlooks of Castle Rock beach where many people stop for a quiet lunch with a view. Enjoy the view out the heads and towards Manly from Tania Park (two different lookout points), and try to find the secret beach with the old shacks! Either take two cars and park one at Manly and the other at the Spit Bridge, or catch the 144 bus back to the start. Generally it’s nicest to finish in Manly and have an ice cream at one of the many great ice creameries.
Choosing the Right Primary Care Doctor for You
Believe it or not, your primary care doctor, or general practitioner (GP), should be one of the most important relationships when it comes to your health and well-being. It’s imperative to take the time to do your research and find the right doctor for you. They should not be chosen on a whim because they can have a major impact on your health and wellness. Take the time to find someone who is qualified and, more importantly, someone you can trust. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right primary care doctor for you:
Ask Friends and Family
While nowadays everything can be found on the internet, it’s also a good idea to ask around when looking for a primary care doctor. More often than not, your friends and family will have a doctor that they trust and like well enough to make a recommendation. However, it is also very important to keep in mind that although a doctor was perfect for your best friend or your parents, it doesn’t mean that he or she will be right for you. With that in mind, asking friends and family can help you get the search started.
Think of Your GP like the hub of a wheel
In a bicycle wheel everything communicates back to the hub. Your GP is the hub. They need to know as much as possible to either deal with the problem you present with themselves, or to know the right people to send you to. If it is a musculoskeletal problem, their job may be to find you the most appropriate physiotherapist. They then refer you to that physio, and the physio then communicates back with your GP. Similarly if you are, for example, short of breath, it could be many things, but two systems that are common are the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The GP’s job, if it is a complicated issue, is to find the most appropriate specialist in that area, who will then treat you and communicate with your GP. Your GP should always be at the centre of the loop, so that they can know as much as possible about your medical needs, and therefore facilitate the best treatment possible. They are both your treating physician, and your advocate within the health field.
Keep Location in Mind
Your GP is typically for everyday health needs, which is why it is essential that they are located somewhere convenient for you. By sticking with a doctor who is close by, you won’t need to travel far and wide when you’re not feeling good. What’s more, if your doctor’s office is conveniently located, it’ll be much easier to keep your appointments and be more capable of coming in last minute if there is an emergency.
Give the Doctor a Visit
Once you feel you’ve found the right doctor for you, schedule a visit. A face-to-face meeting will help you make certain that you’ve made the right choice. In the visit, make sure you feel comfortable in the office, with the doctor, and even the nurses. If you feel you’ve found a GP you trust, then they’re the right person to rely on and help manage your healthcare. Use the visit as an opportunity to discuss your past medical history, any current medications you take, or any chronic conditions you’re managing.
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Lachlan Soper on the Most Beautiful and Walkable Cities in the World
One of the best ways to explore a new city is by walking it. Thankfully, some of the most beautiful and iconic cities around the world are easily walkable and great for exploring. For those who don’t want to grab a taxi or hop on the bus to visit monument after monument, check out these walkable cities:
An incredible city in Europe is Paris, France. It’s a city full of treasures that are best seen strolling by at your leisure like the Sacre Coeur, the Opera and the cobbled laneways of the Latin Quarter. A riverside stroll along the Seine to take in the breathtaking Jardin des Tuileries and The Louvre is the perfect walk before heading over to Île de la Cité and Notre Dame. When your legs and feet tire from all the walking, take a rest at the amazing bistros and bars in the trendy Marais Head into the less touristy arrondissements like the 17th and see how the real Parisians live. Wander around the fresh produce markets in the Rue de Levis and pick up a crusty baguette and some cheese and picnic in the nearby Parc Monceau.
A great way to initially survey London is to get on the open-top busses and get your bearings before you tackle the city walking. For a wonderful day(s) out pick any part of this route. Start at Borough Market for some breakfast, go over Tower Bridge and then to the Tower of London, to St Paul’s Cathedral and then over the Millennium Bridge to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and on to a ride on the London Eye where you can get a fabulous view over London. From there walk over Westminster Bridge to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, head up past 10 Downing St to Trafalgar Square and on to Covent Garden for another bite to eat. On the way to Buckingham Palace, take a little detour to Hamley’s Toy Store. Then make your way to Harrods in Knightsbridge, get some scrumptious food from the food hall (after looking at $100-000 handbags) and head over to Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens to rest your legs after an adventurous walk! Like Paris, you can check out the museums another day.
Munich’s historical centre is a fortified city that is pedestrian access only. Most of the walking revolves around Marienplatz (the main square). There are free walking tours from there that meet under Mary’s Column. Be there at 11, 12 or 5 for the Rathaus-Glockenspiel which plays music like a cuckoo clock with little dancing figurines. Whilst it is quite interesting and kids will love it, I recollect it was rated the 2nd most overrated tourist attraction in Europe by Lonely Planet (but still worth going to). Climb the towers of Frauenkirche (“cathedral of our dear lady”) for great views of the city and towards the Alps. Also the towers of St Peter’s Cathedral (Peterskirche) offer similar spectacular views as does the New Town Hall – pick one of them. Go to Viktualienmarkt – a fresh food market for lunch or takeaway and eat by the Isar river and have a midday nap on the riverbank. Alternately check out Wiener platz market (smaller and less touristy). Walk along Maximillianstrasse – a lively street like Champs Elysees Paris or Oxford St London. Make your way to Deutches Museum – the German museum of masterpieces of engineering, science and technology. On your way to the beautiful gardens of the Englisher Garten, stop in via the Hofbrauhaus, one of the largest beer halls in Germany, for a beer or a meal.
Sydney is a city famous for its Harbour, so one of the best ways to explore Sydney on foot is walks based around the Harbour. Many sections of the Lower North Shore, including Cremorne Point and from Taronga Zoo to Bradley’s Head give a stunning view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and the walk to Bradley’s Head gets you into great Australian bushland. While there, it’s worth going to Taronga Zoo which both has spectacular views of the Harbour, and an amazing zoo full of Australian and world-wide animals. Walk from Luna Park, over the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay (or even pay to do Bridge Climb) and catch a Manly Ferry to Manly and walk from Manly Wharf via many great ice-creameries to the famous Manly surf beach and on to the protected Shelly Beach. In contrast to the built-history of the other cities, this is the natural-history of the ocean.