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Filling in the wellbeing blanks with Cath MacRae from Motion Health

We are all busy and are trying hard to fulfill big dreams and goals, manage our long to do lists and have a social life! The art of doing this without sacrificing our most important assets, our bodies and our health, is the challenge we are all faced with day to day. All of us, no matter who we are, have to keep working at it and can learn from each other – so each Wednesday we will chat to a passionate bright spark to hear about what they are up to and fill in their wellbeing blanks!

Motion Health Logo High ResToday we are filling in the blanks with Catherine Macrae from Motion Health. Motion Health is a Physiotherapy clinic and Clinical Pilates studio in Toorak, Melbourne. They have a fantastic team of both physiotherapists & Exercise Physiologists who are committed to providing clinical excellence in the areas of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Functional Strength and Conditioning. They aim to empower clients to move well and live well, and are committed to help our clients overcome the limitations of pain, injury, and illness so they can enjoy health and vitality and live the life they love! Let’s hear what Catherine has to say:

To Catherine to be well means: Being free of illness and injury, feeling happy, feeling loved and feeling energised.

I have 2 paid jobs and (1 unpaid job)! Firstly I am a Physiotherapist at Motion Health. This involves 3 days of working one on one with clients; assessing, diagnosing and managing pain, injuries and movement dysfunctions. With manual therapy I then aim to progress these clients from pain and injury to full recovery.

For 2 days my focus is as a Physiotherapist in the Clinical Pilates & Exercise Studio at Motion Health. In order to prevent the re-occurrence of pain episodes and injuries, many clients need to get stronger, improve flexibility, and gain Postural awareness and control. I utilise Clinical Pilates equipment and principles to provide functional Strength and conditioning for my clients. I tailor specific programs that can take the form of 1:1, 1:3, or 1:6 classes, that then form part of their balanced weekly exercise regime.

My second job/role is as the manager of the Clinical Pilates & Exercise Studio team at Motion Health. We are a small but dedicated group of three Physiotherapists and one Exercise Physiologist. I love working with these guys because we have a shared passion about continued learning, and the drive to be a group that provides clinical excellence in the field of Physiotherapy and Exercise Rehabilitation.

As well as my ‘Paid jobs” I also spend up to 12 hours a week training to compete in Pole vaulting. This is a great sport, with great people involved, and has been part of my life for 15 years, and I love it!

DSCN0353Something I’m really excited about at the moment is continuing to invest time in the areas of physiotherapy that really interest me. I love biomechanics, and especially running biomechanics, and how running poorly can negatively impact the body. I’ll often utilise video analysis of my clients to assist me in my assessments. Dynamic strength & control around the hip and pelvis is another area of interest, as well as the treatment & management of tendon pain. We are extremely lucky as Physiotherapists in Melbourne, with access to lots of specialist courses and leading practitioners, creating a really stimulating learning environment for those who want to develop.

Getting enough exercise is usually easy for me when it comes to managing my wellbeing.

Knowing when I need to stop and rest/recover is usually hard for me when it comes to managing my wellbeing.

I often put internal pressure on myself to get tasks done TODAY, and remain unwavering in this goal, instead of being more flexible and prioritising. The un-necessary stress this brings always seems to throw my wellbeing off track.

As a natural introvert, my job requires me to be quite extroverted. So getting emotionally drained of energy through my work is commonplace. Over the years I’ve learnt strategies to re-energise, which involve reverting back to my most comfortable introverted state; such as relaxing at home with a good book or movie. If I factor in time for this it always brings my wellbeing back on track.

I usually sleep 7-8 hours per night. I’d like to sleep 10 hours per night.

Something I’ve found that really helps when it comes to my health, fitness and wellbeing is trying to listen to what my body needs. Sometimes it just needs to stretch, or rest. So yoga, Pilates, or a chilled out evening on the couch is sometimes the best thing.

Something I’ve learnt over the years when it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing is understand your body. How it moves, where is it weak, where is it strong, and where is it inflexible or flexible? In my work as a physiotherapist, those people with an awareness of posture and movement are far less likely to develop pain & dysfunction. It is a skill to be learnt though through focused attention. Something like Pilates is great practise for getting to know your body, and begin to address some of your bodies needs.

The advice I would give to someone half my age when it comes to looking after their body is manage load. Whether this is work load; and respecting the work life balance. Or as an athlete; balancing the necessary strength & conditioning, Fitness, and technical sessions with the Recovery work & rest. Listening to your body as you get older and having the flexibility to change the way you load your body, can really help with longevity.

DSC_0114The problem with being too obsessive and trying to be a perfectionist when it comes to your health and wellbeing is it can sometimes start to put limitations on life experiences. It can mean being unable to eat at a certain restaurant because of food requirements, or unwilling to give up a training session for a social engagement. Whatever that obsession manifests as, I try to follow the 80:20 rule which allows me flexibility. I can then be free to reschedule a training session for a meal out with friends, or indulge in a delicious dessert once in a while, knowing that for me, it is as much a part of managing my health and wellbeing as everything else.

If my body stopped working my ability to do my work would need to be diversified. A large part of my job as a physiotherapist is education. Empowering clients with knowledge and the tools to manage their health & wellbeing is a huge priority. If my body no longer worked, I would diversify my practise to utilise more of the exercise and education facets of physiotherapy.

If my body could talk right now the loudest thing that it would say / ask for is a holiday in the sun! It’s been a long Melbourne winter!

You can contact Cath at and check out Motion Health at and on Facebook: Motion Health on Facebook.

Enjoyed reading?  Feel free to forward on to a friend who you think would enjoy this too or could benefit from the great work that Cath is up to xx

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