Sir Sean Connery, Forest Whittaker, Guy Ritchie are all black belts in martial arts as is Tom Hardy and tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and it’s becoming more popular in the media too. Mixed martial arts (MMA) is the fastest growing sport in the world, selling out arenas across the globe – and rival broadcasters are chomping at the bit to sign up programmes.
As an entrepreneur, mother, media professional and a dedicated practitioner of the martial art of karate, my journey to achieving a black belt has been transformative; the lessons I’ve learned on the mat have transcended the boundaries of the dojo and provided invaluable insights which guide me in all aspects of my life.
One of the most fundamental lessons I’ve learned in karate is the power of incremental progress. The journey from a white belt to an advanced one taught me that what seems impossible at first can become achievable through consistent effort and determination.
Karate has taught me the importance of emotional control. In the heat of contact sparring, it’s easy to let anger or frustration cloud your judgment. I’ve learned to process my emotions rather than suppress them, ensuring they don’t dictate my actions or demeanour and help maintain composure.
I discovered that success often requires adaptation and persistence. Just like martial artists adjust their techniques in sparring, I’ve learned to be flexible and willing to modify my approach in various situations in business. It’s not about finding a one-size-fits-all solution but about continuously refining and trying different strategies.
I also realised the importance of focusing on my strengths rather than fixating on others’ abilities. This lesson has translated into my professional life, reminding me not to engage in the damaging habit of constant comparison which is a minefield for our mental health.
Karate has shown me the profound connection between the mind and the body. The mental motivation that I receive from my teachers is a vivid illustration of how the mind dictates the body’s actions. This understanding helps me find motivation and inspiration even on the most challenging days.
Breaking through the barriers of self-doubt and difficulty is a core aspect of martial arts training. The experience of persistently working toward breaking boards to earn my black belt has instilled in me the unwavering belief that tenacity is one of the fundamental keys to success. It took several attempts and countless hours of practice, but the feeling of accomplishment and newfound confidence were immeasurable.
My journey to a black belt taught me that commitment and unwavering belief in oneself are often more critical than innate ability. It’s not about being the strongest or most talented but about having the discipline, indomitable spirit, and perseverance to overcome challenges. These attributes are equally applicable to my professional life in the competitive world of media and entertainment.
Achieving a black belt in karate is not merely a testament to physical prowess; it is a symbol of internal growth, discipline, emotional control, and a core inner confidence. Just as a black belt represents the highest level of skill and dedication in martial arts, it stands as a reminder that these qualities are the true ingredients of personal and professional achievement.
Competition to be held in Asia for the first time in history with around 600 athletes set to compete at the world-class OCBC Aquatic Centre within the Singapore Sports Hub from 3 to 9 October 2025.
Singapore’s top Para swimmers joined an event in the host city to mark the announcement of the 2025 World Para Swimming Championships ⒸAndy Chua/SDSC
World Para Swimming and the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) unveiled on Monday (5 February) Singapore as the host city for the 12th edition of the World Para Swimming Championships. The Championships will unfold at the world-class OCBC Aquatic Centre within the Singapore Sports Hub, from 3 to 9 October 2025.
Aligned with Singapore’s 60th birthday celebration, the World Para Swimming Championships will serve as a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity. Significantly, this milestone event marks the inaugural occasion of the World Para Swimming Championships being hosted in Asia. It also presents a rare opportunity for swimmers, both with and without disabilities, to vie for victory as the 2025 World Aquatics Championships is also going to be held in Singapore.
Craig Nicholson, Head of World Para Swimming, said: “We are delighted to announce that next year’s World Championships will take place in Singapore, marking the first time the competition is held in Asia. This is a major milestone for our sport and is also evidence of the growth of Para swimming in the country and the region. Singapore hosted the Citi Para Swimming World Series for the first time in 2019 and since then we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the great work of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, providing opportunities and breaking barriers for persons with disabilities in society. We look forward to working together with the SDSC and their partners to welcome the world’s best Para swimmers to the OCBC Aquatic Centre in 2025.”
Para swimming has been a consistent stronghold for Team Singapore, producing Paralympic medallists and world record holders such as Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh Rui Si. Additionally, Asian Para Games medallist Toh Wei Soong, Asian record holder Sophie Soon and numerous ASEAN Para Games medallists have contributed to the nation’s rich Para swimming legacy. Beyond elite competition, the SDSC also welcomes nearly 100 individuals with physical, visual and intellectual disabilities to its national championships annually.
Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of the SDSC, expressed, “We envision this landmark event propelling Singapore onto the global stage as a country that commits to empower individuals of all abilities. With the generous support of Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, we aim to reach out to more Singaporeans through the awareness and partnerships that will be fostered by this event.”
“There remains a large number of Singaporeans with disabilities who can find inspiration, success and achievement in Para swimming and Para sport. We would like everyone to be able to gain inspiration and confidence from the exceptional Para swimmers that they will witness at this event. We implore supportive partners and sponsors to collaborate with us in forging a lasting legacy for persons with disabilities and the broader Singaporean community.”
“The 2025 World Para Swimming Championships promise to be an unforgettable celebration of diversity, athleticism, and community.”
Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, who graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour, said, “Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships is a significant milestone for the disability sport community in Singapore. It will enable our Team Singapore athletes to compete against the world’s top Para swimmers on home ground, and inspire Singaporeans, as they witness the competition up close.”
Community activations featuring various Para sports in Singapore are in the plans to raise awareness and reach more persons with disabilities.
“SportSG fully supports efforts to uplift the lives of persons with disabilities through sport, through initiatives such as our Para Sport Academies, SportCares programmes, and inclusive ActiveSG facilities. Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships will enable us to build on these efforts in the same year that Singapore will also host the World Aquatics Championships and celebrate SG60. The organising committee seeks to co-create this event with our partners and deliver a memorable experience for all athletes, officials and members of our community. We look forward to everyone’s active participation in cheering for the world’s best aquatics athletes and immersing in the event festivities,” said Alan Goh, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Singapore 2025 World Para Swimming Championships.
Five-time Paralympic champion swimmer Yip Pin Xiu added, “I never imagined that we would one day get to showcase Para swimming to this level in Singapore. To know that it would happen at a world-class pool, with the top Para swimmers in the world competing right here on our little island, feels truly surreal. It not only shows that Singapore has taken concrete strides towards promoting inclusivity over the years but has received the confidence to play a leading role in the global landscape. I hope that more Singaporeans and organisations will take up the opportunity to watch the Para swimmers at the World Championships and find ways to be a part of this. Together we can understand how sports, and respect, can help to transform our stories as individuals and as a community.”
Emphasising the sense of community, Para swimmers, athletes from diverse sports, coaches, officials, and parents joyously marked the announcement with a traditional ‘lo hei’—a cherished Singaporean dish during the Lunar New Year that symbolises the act of “tossing for good fortune.” This heart-warming gesture was a collective wish for success in the upcoming World Championships.
Singapore has successfully hosted international Para swimming events in recent years, in particular the Citi Para Swimming World Series in both 2019 and 2023. It remains the sole Asian destination on the tour in 2024. The biennial World Para Swimming Championships, most recently hosted in 2023 in Manchester, Great Britain is anticipated to draw approximately 600 elite Para swimmers from over 60 nations to the vibrant garden city.
As part of the leadup to the Championships, a new Para swimming learn-to-swim programme, called Swim Together, was also introduced by the SDSC on Monday.
Developed by World Para Swimming, Singapore will be one of the first countries globally to launch the programme, with workshops commencing in May 2024 alongside the Citi Para Swimming World Series Singapore. The SDSC aims to equip more local swim coaches with the skills and confidence to welcome individuals with disabilities into the world of swimming.
Welcome to the journey of vibrant health, where we navigate the maze of wellness with a focus on a crucial aspect often overlooked – protein. As a seasoned pharmacist and health coach with over 24 years of experience, I’ve witnessed the impact of chronic diseases, muscle wasting, and sarcopenia. It’s this wealth of experience that fuels my passion for disease prevention and the critical role that PRIORITISING PROTEIN plays in the foundation of good health. It’s so crucial that I highlighted it as one of 3 strategies for foundational health in my keynote speech at the AFT International Sports Festival. You can watch it here.
What is protein and where are you getting it?
Protein Basics: Fueling Your Body’s Engine
Protein, alongside fats and carbohydrates, is an indispensable nutrient vital for optimal health. Imagine your body as a car; fats and carbs are the fuel, but protein is the actual car itself. Beyond structural support for bones, teeth, hair, and nails, protein acts as the building block for muscles, organ tissues, blood, and more. It plays a pivotal role in various bodily functions, from regulating hormones to creating immune cells, repairing tissues, and producing essential enzymes.
The Risks of Protein Deficiency
Deficiency in protein can lead to severe consequences, with sarcopenia involving the loss of muscle mass, and the potential worst-case scenario would be losing heart muscle mass. Protein deficiency affects organs, from the developing brain to the immune system and gut mucosal function. Signs of deficiency include muscle wasting, fluid build-up, anemia, and slow growth, particularly alarming in children.
How much protein do we need?
Understanding Protein Requirements: Fueling the Body Adequately
To ensure optimal health, understanding protein requirements is crucial. The recommended minimum intake is 0.84-0.94 grams per kilogram of body weight depending on age and gender, established in 20061. However, this guideline might not account for the increased protein needs of today’s larger population, especially when relying on lower-quality protein sources like ultra-processed fast food.
Target 30 grams of protein per meal – photo supplied by PharmacistEdit.com
Protein helps manage appetite, food cravings, and food metabolism
Protein and Healthy Aging: The Science Behind It
Protein isn’t just about structure; it’s a multifaceted nutrient with profound effects on overall well-being. It manages appetite, food cravings, and food metabolism. When combined with regular resistance exercises, adequate dietary protein helps build and maintain lean body mass, strength, and facilitates healthy aging. Australia’s CSIRO(Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation) recommends 1.2-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram per day for healthy aging and muscle health.2
Strategies for Optimal Protein Intake: Quality Matters
When it comes to choosing protein sources, quality is paramount. Opt for unprocessed meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy as your primary sources. Not only do these options provide the necessary amount of protein, but they also offer an ideal amino acid makeup and high digestibility.
In essence, prioritising protein isn’t just a dietary choice; it’s a lifestyle commitment to ensuring your body receives the essential building blocks for longevity and vitality. Remember, the fountain of vitality awaits those who prioritise protein.
Stay tuned for the upcoming articles where I’ll delve into the other two strategies that are the foundations of good health (hint – we’ll talk about hydration and sleep).
For more tips on incorporating diverse foods to increase micronutrients in your diet, visit the PharmacistEdit.com website here.
National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government Departmentof Health and Ageing, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values forAustralia and New Zealand. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2006.
Noakes, M, (2018) Protein Balance: New Concepts forProtein in Weight Management; CSIRO, Australia.
This article was first published in https://pharmacistedit.com/protein/ and has been provided by Theresa Loo, specialist pharmacist, health coach, podcaster and cofounder of Pharmacist Edit.
This November, let’s delve deeper into the intricate link between type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and men’s intimate health
November is designated as Men’s Health Awareness Month and Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has taken the initiative to shed light on a pressing health concern that affects men at a higher rate than women – Diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are more likely to receive a diagnosis of diabetes than women. World Diabetes Day on 14 November is an opportune time to delve into the intricate link between Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and men’s health, with a specific focus on how diabetes can contribute to Erectile Dysfunction (ED), impacting men’s overall well-being.
Men and Diabetes: A Closer Look
This increased susceptibility of diabetes among men can be attributed to several key factors, including hormonal differences and body fat distribution. Hormonally, females have a more favourable effect on insulin sensitivity, with research suggesting that estrogen plays a role in enhancing it. Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) Consultant Endocrinologist and Internal Medicine Physician, Dr. Kim Piow Lim explains.
Testosterone enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and reduces inflammation, leading to improved beta cell health. However, research has shown that lower testosterone levels in men are associated with a greater risk of Type 2 Diabetes.Another contributing factor is body fat distribution. Men often carry excess weight around their abdomen, a pattern known as central obesity. Visceral fat distribution is associated with a higher risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.Low testosterone level in men can increase visceral fat leading to increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes compared to women.
Dr. Kim Piow Lim, Consultant Endocrinologist and Internal Medicine Physician
ED and Diabetes: an unspoken challenge
While the management of blood sugar is a central concern in diabetes care, it is crucial to recognise that diabetes is not limited to its physical manifestations. It can have far-reaching effects on a man’s overall well-being and quality of life, with one such consequence being Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) Consultant Urologist, Dr Cheng Hood Goh highlights the connection.
After the age of 40, 10% of men develop ED, and as age increases, so does the risk. With the presence of diabetes in men, the risk of developing ED increases 3.5 times compared to non-diabetic patients.
Getting an erection involves increased blood flow in arteries and reduced blood flow out of veins. Diabetes disrupts this process due to neuropathy, decreased nitric oxide (NO) levels, and increased prothrombin factor, causing reduced blood flow and blood vessel clotting.
Diabetes can lead to ED through two primary mechanisms: vascular damage and nerve damage.
Vessel diseases, dysfunction, and the accumulation of advanced glycation end products result from hyperglycemia. This impairs the relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle of the penis and ultimately leading to ED.
Besides the physical impact, the emotional consequences of ED are often underestimated. It can strain intimate relationships leading to communication issues and emotional distance between partners.
For many men, their sense of masculinity and self-esteem is closely tied to their sexual performance, and this is why ED can have a profound impact on self-confidence and self-worth.
However, this should not deter men from seeking professional help before their condition progresses into a severe form.
21% of male patients with ED experience severe dysfunction. Beyond its impact on the quality of life, ED can also lead to psychological challenges, such as the development of severe depression disorders. Thus, he strongly highlights the importance of early medical attention.
Dr Cheng Hood Goh, Consultant Urologist
The Role of Nutrition
Effective diabetes management involves nutrition. To support this, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) introduces the Better Days Recipe Booklet. It features delicious yet healthy and diabetes-friendly recipes that focus on controlling the “3 Highs”: High Blood Sugar, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol. These recipes help manage diabetes and contribute to overall well-being by stabilising blood sugar levels and potentially positively affecting ED.
Dr Lim strongly agrees the critical role that nutrition plays in managing diabetes and overall health. He recommends a well-balanced diet that is low in carbohydrates, sugars, and trans fats while being rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. “This diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. It is also advisable to reduce the consumption of processed foods and high glycemic index (GI) items like white bread, instant noodles, processed meats, and sugary or salty snacks.”
However, maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or variety. There are numerous healthy and fresh options available in the market, such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, legumes, nuts, and fruits, providing ample room for dietary preferences and customisation.
87% of Singaporean travelers have reported they feel proud about the rising popularity of their country of origin as a travel destination.
Nearly four in five (79%) Singaporean travelers are seeking to better understand their own heritage through travel.
Singaporeans rank exploring local and traditional food and beverage as the most important consideration when it comes to planning travel for 2024, highlighting the intrinsic connection between culture and cuisine.
This research comes as Hilton releases its global 2024 Trends Report, which uncovers four themes expected to be the catalysts of change and innovation for travel in 2024 and beyond.
As Hilton releases its 2024 Trends Report, the leading global hospitality company has discovered an emerging generation of Asian travelers who are pursuing travel that will enable them to better understand their identity. Dubbed as the ‘GenerAsian traveler’ are Asians who are inspired by self-discovery and have a desire for a deeper understanding of their own cultural and ancestral heritage through travel.
In a global survey conducted in collaboration with Ipsos, a resounding chorus of travelers across Asia have expressed a growing confidence for self-exploration. In Singapore, a staggering 87% of respondents reported they feel proud about the rising popularity of their country of origin as a coveted travel destination, with 92% feeling honored about the international popularity and appreciation for Asian food, design, and culture.
This shift in global taste can be attributed to globalisation1, where international audiences have better accessibility and insight into Asia through pop culture and social media. From the island city serving as the backdrop of top-grossing Hollywood films, to its restaurants receiving internationally renowned recognition, Singapore has maintained itself as one of the top travel destinations for global travelers, welcoming an estimated 2.9 million international visitors in just the first quarter of 20232.
“We’re constantly monitoring the travel preferences of different generations to create tailored experiences that cater to their unique needs and desires. Fueled by a sense of pride that Asian food, design, and culture are gaining popularity globally, we know this will hold even greater significance and interest for travelers in the upcoming year,” Ben George, senior vice president and commercial director, Asia Pacific, Hilton commented.
“In fact, our research found that 79% of Singaporean travelers are seeking to better understand their own heritage through travel, with 85% looking to learn more about other Asian cultures. We believe that the heart of a great trip is a great stay, and so we remain committed to delivering innovative solutions to ensure our guests can fully immerse themselves in both our hotels and their communities,” he added.
Access to Local, Gastronomic Experiences are a Priority for Singaporeans
Priorities differ among travelers when it comes to selecting their accommodation. For some, convenience might be key, but for others, price remains at top of mind. In line with their travel motivations, Singaporeans are more likely than travelers from other countries surveyed to book their accommodations based on access to unique local experiences. In fact, a substantial 70% of Singapore respondents indicated that they are likely to do so, compared to the 65% average across all countries surveyed in Hilton’s global study3.
When it comes to the types of experiences Singapore travelers seek during their trips, 92% of respondents unequivocally ranked exploring local and traditional food and beverage as the most important to them. A strong majority (84%) also indicated a desire to connect with the local community when they travel, and gain a deeper understanding of the local history and heritage of the destination they travel to, suggesting a reassuring desire for more authentic travel experiences4.
Food and beverage also showed as a unifying passion point across Asian respondents in Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report survey, with respondents across Singapore, China, India, and Japan all ranking culinary experiences as the top budget priority for their travel plans next year.
To ensure they are able to prioritize travel in the coming year, and true to their reputation of being avid travelers, more than two-thirds of Singaporeans (74%) are reducing spending on other areas of their life, which is considerably higher than the global average of 64%. Travelers in Singapore are also more inclined than the majority of their global counterparts to spend more on travel in 2024 than they did in 2023 (73% in Singapore versus 65% globally)5.
“At Hilton, we’ve noticed a rising interest in self-discovery and the desire for an even deeper understanding of one’s heritage, and this will be an even more important consideration for travelers in 2024. Interestingly, 74% of Singaporeans reported they will prioritize traveling in the next 12 months, supporting this notion of the GenerAsian traveler and their passion to explore,” said Alexandra Jaritz, senior vice president, Brand Management, Asia Pacific, Hilton.
“From our ongoing brand innovation and dining experiences to our world-renowned hospitality, Hilton will enable guests to completely connect and immerse themselves in the destinations they chose to travel,” she added.
Understanding Generational Differences in Global Travelers’ Expectations
These insights were commissioned as part of research for Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report, which sought to uncover the profile of the 2024 traveler, while also zooming in to understand what the desires and preferences will be for the different generations. Following a global survey of more than 10,000 travelers from nine countries, and in-depth interviews with dozens of Hilton travel experts, the report uncovers four themes expected to be the catalysts of change and innovation for travel in 2024 and beyond:
Travellers Will Invest in Their Sleep: Gen Zs are the most intentional about winding down, with 21% regulating their workout routine, and 25% avoiding alcohol before bedtime. In Singapore, 31% of respondents shared they listen to music or podcasts and chose a trusted hotel brand with consistent mattress quality as their top sleep considerations.
Travellers Will Value Connectivity and Personalization: 80% of global travellers surveyed said it’s important to be able to book their trip entirely online, with 86% of Millennials and 83% of Gen Zs leading the charge. In Singapore, 87% of travelers also agreed, with 91% of Millennials and Gen Zs driving these expectations.
Culture and Experiences Will Drive Leisure Travel Decisions: Across generations, travellers’ top focus is on culinary (49% globally, 52% in Singapore) as well as exploration and adventure experiences (47% globally, 49% in Singapore). In Singapore, Gen Xs and Gen Zs (54% for both) are the most passionate about their dining budget plans, while Gen Zs (58%) and Millennials (50%) are carving out more budget for exploration and adventure experiences than other generations.
Business Travel Trends Will Redefine Expectations: More than a third of Gen Z and Millennial business travellers say they plan to extend a business trip to enjoy leisure time before or after their work obligations, and 24% of global business travellers plan to take a friend or family member with them on a business trip next year.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to determine the emerging trends detailed in this report. Hilton conducted stakeholder interviews across the organization to gain perspectives on what travel looks like today and determine what is top of mind going into 2024, with business divisions including: Business Travel/Events, Food & Beverage, Wellness, Sustainability, Design, Digital Innovation and Workplace Culture. Hilton commissioned two phases of research with Ipsos, one of the largest market research and polling companies globally. First, Ipsos conducted 60 qualitative online video diaries in the U.S. between April and May 2023. Then Ipsos fielded a quantitative online survey in July 2023 among a nationally representative sample in Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the U.S. of adults under age 75. The samples in China, India, Mexico, Singapore and U.A.E. are more urban, more educated and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these markets should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population. Each country included an oversample of n=200 Gen Z to increase analytic capability for this age group. The age breakdown used is Gen Z: 18-26, Millennial: 27-44, Gen X: 45-58 and Baby Boomers: 59-77.
This article is compiled by AFT in collaboration with:
Located four hours north of Sydney on the beautiful mid-north coast of New South Wales, the Port Macquarie-Hastings region is well-known for its lively sporting culture attributed its natural playground comprising of uninterrupted beaches and natural surroundings. Without a doubt, this coastal area has attracted a number of captivating sporting events all year long bringing both competitors and spectators together. Sporting enthusiasts of all ages and interests can find something to enjoy in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area, from competitive surf events to community fun runs and marathons that provide spectacular views of the coastline. In this article, we highlight five sporting events that serve as a focal point for sportsmanship, athleticism, and friendship in this area. These events provide an opportunity for everyone, whether they are committed athletes or just fans of sports.
1. Port Macquarie Ironman Australia (May 5, 2024)
IRONMAN is an iconic triathlon event that attracts various athletes from around the world. Experience a genuinely unique swim in the serene Hastings River, a breathtaking bike alongside the Pacific Ocean, and an exhilarating run through the heart of Port Macquarie, with spectators cheering you on all the way to the finish line. This is the home of the Oceania TriClub Championship. There are IRONMAN Australia and IRONMAN 70.3. IRONMAN Australia 2023 in Port Macquarie, bringing more than 2,700 athletes to the Port Macquarie-Hastings region. Steve McKenna won an exciting men’s race with time “8:06:16” and Kylie Simpson won the women’s division with time “9:16:45” after overturning a significant swimming deficit. Despite having seen great success in other parts of their native country, both Australians were competing in the event for the first time. In the last four races, McKenna had finished on the podium four times, including one victory in IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne, while Simpson had taken first place in both IRONMAN Cairns and IRONMAN Western Australia in 2021.
2. Port Macquarie Running Festival (March 2-3, 2024)
Popular running event that offers various distances and type of run. They offer fun run and also marathons. This running festival took participants running around the town and also along the coastline. There are Rydges Half Marathon, The Athletes Foot 10km Fun Run, Chop ‘n Chill Family 5km Fun Run, Treble Breakwall Buster, The Team Holborow 3km Kids Fun Run and IMF #RunSweatInspire 3km. In 2023 Port Macquarie Running Festival bringing 2500 runners from all over New South Wales. Port Macquarie Running Festival will be held on 2 – 3 March 2024 and will provide variety of run such as Treble Breakwall Buster, Treble Team Relay, 21.1km Half Marathon, 10km Fun Run, 5km Fun Run, IMF #RunSweatInspire 3km Run and 3km Kids Fun Run. Visit Port Macquarie Running Festival to learn more.
3. Port Macquarie Bodyboarding Association (PMBBA) Contests (Nov 25, 2023)
Port Macquarie Bodyboarding Association have been established more than 30 years. The PMBA host major bodyboarding event such as Port Macquarie Team Challenges and David ‘Goose’ Gosby Memorial. Various bodyboarding club from around Australia come to compete and get the tittle ‘best club in the nation’. Every competition takes place at one of the nearby beach breakers that lie between Lighthouse Beach and Port Macquarie’s North Shore. Every club member competes in the age group of their choice, earning points for each heat based on their wave scores. Throughout the competition season, points are tallied, and at the end of the year, an overall place is awarded. At the end of each competition, all finalists will be named, and the overall winners will be revealed during the End of Year Presentation. Visit https://pmba.com.au/ to learn more.
4. Raw Performance Den Novice 1 Powerlifting Competition (Nov 11, 2023)
This competition is intended for people who are new to powerlifting and wish to test their strength in a friendly and enjoyable setting. The three events in this competition, the squat, bench press, and deadlift are intended to provide novice lifters with an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. This is the ideal chance to push yourself and connect with other lifters in the neighborhood, regardless of experience level. For all lifters, the competition offers a secure and welcoming environment. The knowledgeable judges will be present to make sure that every lift is carried out safely and in compliance with the regulations. Throughout the competition, the lifters never fail to support one another with cheers. On, there will be a Raw Performance Den Novice 1 Powerlifting Competition on 11 November 2023 at 2 Fernhill Road #Unit 10, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444. Visit their website to learn more: RAW NOVICE 1 | Raw Performance Den.
5. AFT International Sports Fitness Festival @ Port Macquarie (Nov 4-5, 2023)
The inaugural AFT International Sports & Fitness Festival (#SpoFiFe) celebrates and empowers culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities including First Nations and Torres Straits Islander peoples and other indigenous communities of the Asia Pacific, persons with disabilities, people who are neurodiverse, women and youth with sports and fitness access and sport inclusion. The goal is to make health and fitness accessible and equitable to all layers of society, leaving no one behind.
The festival culminates in Port Macquarie following a tour in Malaysia and Sydney’s Haymarket (Chinatown) earlier in September. The two-day family-friendly event features:
A walkathon with a Virtual Reality twist (3KM/7KM/13KM)
Keynote Talks on Sport Inclusion helmed by gold medal swimmer, author and inclusion advocate Matt Levy OAM
A talk by Shannon & Sally, mothers of children from the Shinkyokushin Port Macquarie Karate Dojo “Karate Kid on the Spectrum” on how
A health and wellness expo
Youth in Sports activities
Health Talks and Workshops facilitated by specialist pharmacist and health coach, Theresa Loo
A secret supper to raise funds for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Beach to brother trail running festival have come with 7th edition in Port Macquarie-Hastings region. In the Port Macquarie-Hastings region of New South Wales, Australia, there is a trail running competition known as the Beach to Brother Trails. These events give trail runners and outdoor enthusiasts the chance to take part in a variety of trail running challenges while taking in the breathtaking coastal and bushland beauty of the area. This event offers a variety of distances, including the 42 kilometre individual marathon, the 42 kilometre team relay marathon, the 21 kilometre half marathon, the 10 kilometre and 5 kilometre. Trail running fans have come to love the Beach to Brother Trails race because of its beautiful coastal and bushland courses, its difficult elevation changes, and the satisfaction of climbing North Brother Mountain. It provides a chance to explore the stunning scenery of the Port Macquarie region and establish a connection with nature in addition to providing a physical challenge. Visit their website to learn more: https://www.beachtobrother.com.au/ .
Text by Mohammad Hafizuddin Bin Mohammad Rosdi / Edited by Jasmine Low
A seaside treasure in New South Wales, Australia’s mid-north coast, Port Macquarie is a place where unending chances for adventure and leisure combine with the area’s natural beauty. It’s understandable why Port Macquarie has grown to be a popular travel destination for tourists looking for a combination of outdoor exploration, cultural experiences, and a taste of the laid-back Aussie lifestyle, with its scenic scenery, gorgeous beaches, and an abundance of activities. Port Macquarie provides a wide choice of activities that are sure to captivate visitors, from historical buildings and vibrant local culture to immaculate beaches and colorful wildlife. Together, we will explore the top 8 destinations and activities available in this idyllic coastal town.
1. Town Beach is a family-friendly destination with open grassy areas, picnic facilities, and a kiosk serving delicious food and coffee. It features a modern playground, outdoor gym equipment, and a skate park. The picturesque Town Beach break wall, adorned with colorful graffiti rocks, is a popular site. Board riders favor the beach due to its protection from south winds and multiple bars. When conditions align, the beach can handle large southeast swells, and there’s a popular spot called Flagstaff inside the breakwater, known for breaking over a sandbar during larger south swells.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Town beach aerial by Matt Gilligan
Tacking Point Light House
2. Tacking Point Lighthouse is a prime whale-watching spot during migration. A stunning coastal walk begins at Town Green foreshore and ends at Tacking Point Lighthouse, offering exquisite views of Port Macquarie’s beaches, shrubbery, and native wildlife along its 9.1-kilometer length. Lighthouse Beach in the hinterland boasts a beautiful seven-kilometer stretch of sand and is popular among surfers for its protection from summer north-easterly winds. Visitors can enjoy camel safaris, beach fishing, and Four-Wheel Drive adventures. The Surf Life Saving Club on Lighthouse Beach provides surf sports and a kiosk for refreshments.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Lighthouse from the sea by Matt Gilligan
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
3. The Koala Hospital, located within the historic Roto House grounds, is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to koala care and conservation. Visitors can get up close to koalas, learn about their stories and rehabilitation, and benefit from knowledgeable guides who explain the hospital’s work and koala conservation. The hospital also features informative displays about its history and koala preservation efforts. Visitors can support the hospital by purchasing koala-themed souvenirs and contribute to its non-profit work in caring for injured koalas. For those seeking a more hands-on experience, volunteer programs are available. The location offers opportunities for capturing scenic photos of koalas and the coastal surroundings, all within the beautiful Macquarie Nature Reserve.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital by Remy Brand
Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
4. This scenic coastal walk in Port Macquarie begins at Town Green foreshore and takes you along a beautiful route encompassing Town Beach, Rocky Beach lookout, Nobby’s Beach, Harry’s lookout with views of Shelly Beach, and concluding at Sea Acres. Along the way, you’ll encounter historical sites and breathtaking seaside scenery. During May to November, you might even spot migrating whales and are encouraged to note your sightings. The south end of the walk offers a unique forest-to-sea transition. The walk culminates at Tacking Point lighthouse, but it’s customizable for shorter sections or family-friendly walks. You’ll also find opportunities for barbecues and swimming, including a beachside café at Flynn’s Beach.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Coastal walk by Matt Gilligan
Sea Acres National Park
5. Sea Acres National Park offers a unique combination of beach and rainforest, where the sound of crashing waves harmonizes with birdsong. This park preserves one of the largest remaining coastal rainforests on the Australian east coast, with the rainforest extending all the way to the beach. The best way to explore this lush environment is by taking a leisurely stroll along the elevated boardwalk, either at your own pace or with a knowledgeable rainforest guide. Additionally, there are opportunities for Aboriginal Discovery activities, allowing you to delve into the Aboriginal history of the area and sample some bush tucker. If you wish to extend your stay in this peaceful rainforest setting, you can relax with a hot beverage or a refreshing drink at the Rainforest Café.
Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberry Farm
6. Ricardoes is a must-visit destination for travelers of all ages. The facility features rows of greenhouse structures where you can explore rows of flourishing tomato plants and sweet strawberries, all protected from the elements. “Cafe Red,” an air-conditioned café with a BYO policy and highchairs available, offers budget-friendly farm-fresh breakfasts, brunches, lunches, snacks, tea, coffee, cakes, and delicious Devonshire Teas with warm farmhouse scones, cream, and homemade strawberry jam. Visitors can enjoy complimentary tastings of their award-winning sweet and savory preserves. The on-site shop is stocked with daily harvested farm produce and essential supplies for RVers and campers. Additionally, you have the unique opportunity to pick your own strawberries from shoulder-height frames, making it an ideal stopover or a delightful place to spend a few hours.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie Hastings-Council, Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries by Jodi Wilson
7. It has good protection from westerly and southerly winds and suits learn-to-surfers most of the year. The Surf Club has a kiosk that serves meals. There is plenty of accommodation available within a short walk of Flynns Beach. Things that can do is swim and sunbathe, surfing, picnicking, coastal walk, watersports and wildlife viewing.
Photo credit: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Flynns Beach morning surf yoga by Remy Brand
8. The Move8 Walk-a-Hunt is introduced by the inaugural AFT International Sports Fitness Festival. It begins at Panthers Port Macquarie and takes visitors in-person or in virtual reality along main streets in town where they will arrive at eight checkpoints in a 7-KM route. It’s a fun adventure while discovering Port Macquarie’s town to beach areas. The “Walk-a-Hunt” concept brings together recreational walking and a treasure hunt. Participants will be invited to explore a designated area, following clues or instructions in a riddle via a video to locate specific items, sign boards or businesses, solve the puzzles along the way and complete the challenges. Participants sign up and can complete it at their own pace. For more info, visit www.sportsfitnessfestival.com.
Getting to Port Macquarie:
A coastal town located in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, at the mouth of the Hastings River, approximately 390 km north of Sydney and 530 km south of Brisbane in Australia.
Rome2Rio is a website that suggests four ways to get to Port Macquarie from Sydney. Travel by flight, train, bus or car – click here.
Transport NSW also provides a comprehensive travel guide – click here.
Plan your trip and learn more about Port Macquarie by visiting their official destination website: portmacquarieinfo.com.au.
Text compiled by Mohammad Hafizuddin Bin Mohammad Rosdi.
We focus too much on memory loss in relation to dementia and not enough on difficulties with identifying emotions in social situations, according to researchers from UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) and the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University.
The perspective paper, published in Frontiers of Psychiatry, has highlighted the importance of assessing standard emotional responses to situations in order to improve diagnosis and management of dementia.
Lead author and social health expert Dr Suraj Samtani said that individuals with many types of dementia can identify most emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise and fear, but have difficulties identifying other basic or primary emotions, including disgust or anger in facial expressions, as well as sarcasm and jokes in conversations.
“The value of assessing social cognition in older adults with dementia is to improve early intervention and treatment,” said Dr Samtani.
“It can also help identify dementia pathways for individuals from type of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia, to development of behavioural symptoms. Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – involve memory loss, but for other types of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia, difficulties with social cognition are often the earliest signs of change.
Humans are inherently social beings, and having social connection is considered a basic human need. As individuals age, a variety of physical, cognitive and social changes take place, which can influence daily functioning and subsequently overall wellbeing.
Dr Samtani explained that in this context social cognition is “our ability to recognise emotions, social cues, inhibit inappropriate behaviour and act appropriately in social situations.”
Social cognition is a key component of how we function as social beings and includes the ability to understand other people’s mental states, and being able to feel and respond to what other people feel.
“Deficits in any of these social cognitive functions are a core feature of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, and may represent an early decline in cognitive function,” said Dr Samtani.
“These can manifest through behaviours such as difficulties with eye contact, behaving rudely or offensively and a clear failure to detect social cues in conversations.”
Routine social cognition assessments would ensure timely and appropriate interventions to improve social functioning and strengthen social health for individuals with dementia.
Another important factor noted in the paper is the link between social cognitive skills and the maintenance of social relationships.
Dr Joyce Siette from the MARCS Institute and senior author on the paper explained that individuals experiencing difficulty responding to social cues or having trouble reading emotions will likely become isolated and lonely.
“With recent evidence indicating that social isolation is a known modifiable risk factor for dementia, it is time to consider how we can reliably detect social cognitive deficits, as well as identify changes in them over time,” said Dr Siette.
However, identifying these deficits has many challenges, notably that there is no standard or accepted approach to measuring them.
While social reasoning and identifying and remembering faces add great value to the assessment of social cognition, the lack of measuring skills such as eye contact, asking open ended questions, using humour, understanding puns and keeping conversations going marks a flaw in the dementia diagnosis process.
“The majority of social cognition measures have either not been rigorously developed or psychometrically validated with people experiencing cognitive changes, with social behaviour the key component that remains to be assessed properly,” said Dr Samtani.
Internationally acclaimed leaders in the ageing brain and Co-Directors of CHeBA, Professor Henry Brodaty and Professor Perminder Sachdev, said that “more work was needed to develop an effective measurement of social cognition that have functionality in the clinic.”
Text and Photo provided by: University of New South Wales (UNSW).
1000 events over seven days delivering pure energy from creatives! Originating from Austin, Texas in 1987, SXSW has received world accolade as one of the most cutting-edge festivals for any content-maker and consumer of this digital era. So it makes sense that ahead of its March 8-16 SXSW in 2024, and while North America’s creative industry is on standstill from the American actors’ union Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike, the magic fairy dust has picked up and blown over on Gadigal land with the first South by Southwest (SXSW) Sydney.
Here’s a peek at some of what went on. Photos are supplied by the organisers.
Meanwhile, in the next building, the Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023 known as IEM Sydney returns this weekend after a four-year hiatus, to a sold-out crowd. Team Australia goes up against Team UK with the most entertaining callers at the ESL Counter Strike (eSports League) match. There was even a ‘snake’ thrown on stage, only to be wrestled away to safety by an Aussie dressed in his smartest ‘budgie smugglers’! Games is one of the major events at SXSW besides the other village zones of Tech and Innovation, Games, Music, Screen and Culture. The festival concludes today.
Kiwi fitness leader crowned one of Fast Company’s 2023 Brands That Matter, alongside leading global companies such as General Motors, Intel and NFL
Global fitness leader Les Mills has been honoured as one of 2023’s Brands That Matter by authoritative business and innovation media title Fast Company.
The prestigious annual list celebrates companies and non-profits that have built cultural relevance and impact through compelling branding and efforts that naturally extend their presence into communities.
Fast Company announced last week (3 October) its third annual Brands That Matter list, heralding brands that communicate and demonstrate brand purpose. These companies and nonprofits have built cultural relevance and impact through compelling branding and efforts that naturally extend their presence into the community.
The final list – which includes the likes of General Motors, Intel and NFL – recognises brands that give people compelling reasons to care about them, and offer inspiration for others to buy in. All have found an ability to forge an emotional connection with customers, whether leading on the environment or pop culture, engaging B2B customers, or responding meaningfully to current events.
Les Mills won plaudits from the judging panel for “breaking down barriers to entry” into the fitness space through in-club workouts, streaming platform LES MILLS+ and Virtual Reality. The company was also praised for its commitment to fostering fitness innovation and embracing CSR through its partnerships with UNICEF and Trees for the Future.
Clive Ormerod, Les Mills Group CEO, said: “Our brand is a reflection of everything we do and all we stand for in helping people live healthier, happier lives. So, to see Les Mills recognised alongside some of the world’s most iconic companies is a very proud day for everyone involved in our mission.
“We see this as a big win for all of our fitness industry partners – especially clubs and Instructors – as it proves that fitness is becoming a key pillar of pop culture and a mass mainstream movement with growing momentum.
“A strong brand pulls people towards it, creating a halo for those associated with it, so we’ll continue our efforts to grow the brand and bring us closer to our goal of a fitter planet.”
Fast Company editors judged each brand on relevancy, cultural impact, ingenuity, and business impact to compile the list.
“The scale and scope of honourees this year is incredible,” said Brendan Vaughan, Fast Company’s editor-in-chief.
“At first glance, there might not be much in common between brands like M&M’s, Dungeons & Dragons, and health tech platform WellTheory, but the thread that binds them is a commitment and purpose as a brand and relevance to their audience, whether that’s through fun, games, or healthcare.”
Les Mills is the global leader in group training and creator of over 23 signature programs including RPM®, BODYBALANCE®, BODYPUMP®, BODYCOMBAT®, BODYSTEP® and BODYATTACK®, as well as Limited Edition Collection workouts such as LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT™ and LES MILLS SHAPES™. Les Mills workouts are delivered by 130,000 certified Instructors in 21,000 gyms across 100 countries, as well as via the LES MILLS+ streaming platform and Virtual Reality (VR).
Les Mills Asia Pacific offers the Ultimate Group Fitness Solution to keep members connected to your club, and to reach new audiences with omni-channel fitness solutions. For 25+ years, Les Mills Asia Pacific has been providing group fitness and team training solutions in Australia and Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Maldives, Guam, Laos and Papua New Guinea.