Gymnastics is a pretty great sport. It combines athleticism with beauty and grace and develops the basic building blocks for everyday movement.

KinderGym is Gymnastics Australia’s fun and exciting fundamental movement-based learning program for children aged 0 to 5 years.

A toddler learning how to balance at KinderGym

The program is founded on child development principles and is specifically designed to assist children with their development throughout the different stages of early childhood.

So, what are the benefits?

1. KinderGym stimulates cognitive growth

Did you know the brain has two parts? The left side of the brain is responsible for analytical thinking, while the right side is for creativity and visualisation. To put it simply, your left brain would be the scientist and your right brain, the artist!

Like reading is for verbal literacy, gymnastics is for physical literacy.  Through cross patterning actions like crawling along a foam mat; both sides of the brain are engaged. When toddlers are exposed to activities in gymnastics, the whole brain is exercised, encouraging rounded thinking.

2. KinderGym develops strong and healthy bones

With so many fun, soft things to crawl and walk on, gymnastics enables a safe environment for weight bearing.  Placing normal pressure on the bones increases and stimulates bone density for a strong and healthy skeletal system!

A child climbing at KinderGym

3. KinderGym increases coordination and encourages proprioceptive awareness

Young children should be exposed to different kinds of learning. In gymnastics vocal cues, music, activities and visual aids are all used to engage and teach. Learning and problem solving though diverse ways encourages both gross and fine motor skills, building coordination and awareness of the body.

4. KinderGym instils an understanding of discipline

When a parent and child commits to attending training as part of their weekly activity, it instils an understanding of schedule and commitment. Gymnastics further cements the respect for discipline in the kinds of regulations it employs for safe and effective practice.

A boy playing at KinderGym

5. KinderGym assists in developing Physical Literacy

When a parent and child commits to attending training as part of their weekly activity, it instils an understanding of schedule and commitment. Gymnastics further cements the respect for discipline in the kinds of regulations it employs for safe and effective practice.

6. KinderGym increases social awareness

Gymnastics classes encourages participation from all within the class, and while focusing on the individual, allows children to be surrounded by other children. This is important in creating a social environment which is fun, new and challenging for all. Encouraging social interactions which are well monitored from the onset is crucial to social behaviour and inclusivity as children get older.

Children playing together at KinderGym

7. KinderGym is FUN!

KinderGym classes are designed to be fun and exciting for children. Many clubs pick specific themes for their lessons that keep the classes entertaining.

It’s also a great way for new mums and dads to meet local families at a similar family stage. You will become fast friends with someone after they have rescued you from a foam pit!

Keen to try out KinderGym but not sure where to start?

Head to www.starthere.org.au to find a KinderGym club near you!


We rely on health advice from an industry that simply promotes the latest fad, designed to exploit the vulnerable out of their money. Diet culture wants us to feel bad about our bodies, leading us down a dangerous path of disordered eating behaviours and exercise misuse, inevitably, only profiting those who fool us.

Weight loss TV shows, stick thin celebrities, the ‘obesity epidemic’, Body Mass Index (BMI), bad foods and ‘skinny’ jeans. As a millennial, these were terms and images I was heavily exposed to throughout my childhood and teenage years.

I was a 15 year old girl, eagerly jogging on my treadmill in front of the TV while watching The Biggest Loser. I would dream of living a life like the contestants, exercising for hours on end and following strict eating regimes to ‘transform’ my body.

At school we learnt about BMI, and were required to calculate our own measurements; an activity becoming a petri dish of comparisons and judgment.

The influences that I grew up with were seen as normal, and even healthy, but have resulted in detrimental and dangerous outcomes. I am not alone in my history of disordered eating.

Close to 1 million Australians are living with an eating disorder, with less than one quarter of those receiving treatment or support. A 2012 report commissioned by The Butterfly Foundation, found that females make up 64% of the total.

Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a mental illness which can be identified as an unhealthy preoccupation with exercise, body weight or shape, and eating habits. Eating disorder behaviours can include restricting, bingeing, compulsive overeating and purging. Purging can extend to vomiting, laxative abuse and excessive exercising.

There are also secondary eating disorder behaviours, which can often fly under the radar due to the influence of diet culture, which creates a sense of normalcy when it comes to obsessing over wellness.

Secondary Eating Disorder Behaviours

Carolyn Costin is a clinician, author and speaker, well-known for her expertise in the eating disorder field. In her book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder, she discusses food rules, food rituals and exercise dependance.

Food rules:
  • Being unable to trust internal hunger and fullness cues without a ‘rule’ or ‘guide’.
  • Limiting choices of foods or food groups based on rules.
  • Measuring foods based on numbers such as calories or time.
  • Feeling a sense of control over food, and therefore out of control when food rules cannot be followed.
Food rituals:
  • Participating in food behaviours that create a sense of ‘safety’ around food.
  • Preparing food in a specific way.
  • Consuming foods at the same time every day.
  • Eating foods in a particular order.
  • A feeling of anxiety if the food ritual cannot be followed.
Exercise misuse:
  • Compulsive exercise is a commonly justified behaviour.
  • Exercise is no longer a choice, but an obligation.
  • Exercise is linked to self worth.
  • Exercise is continued through injury and illness.
  • Social engagements are cancelled for exercise.
  • Exercise is used to compensate for eating.

Diet Culture

Diet culture has a long history, and its roots are embedded in the media, science, medicine, religion and racism today. The anti-diet movement has been established to fight back against an industry that we are conditioned to believe has our best interests at heart.

Christy Harrison is an intuitive eating coach, anti-diet dietitian, and author of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating.

She describes diet culture as a system that:

  • “Worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, which means you can spend your whole life thinking you’re irreparably broken just because you don’t look like the impossibly thin “ideal”.
  • Promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, which means you feel compelled to spend a massive amount of time, energy, and money trying to shrink your body, even though the research is very clear that almost no one can sustain intentional weight loss for more than a few years.
  • Demonizes certain foods while elevating others, which means you’re forced to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, ashamed of your food choices, and distracted from your pleasure, your purpose, and your power.
  • And oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health,” which means you experience internalized stigma and shame—and perhaps external stigma and discrimination as well—for all the ways in which you don’t meet diet culture’s impossible standards.”

Diet culture is cunning and clever, we may not even realise when it is meddling with our lives. The identifying trends and behaviours are so normalised in society today, that it sneaks up on us in workplace lunch rooms, at social events, even through our internal voice, which may echo the food rules from our dieting pasts. Diet culture is inescapable.

“The implication is clear: eating anything other than the correct diaita made people less than fully human. The term diet, then, was bound up from the start with ideas about morality, restriction, the renunciation of pleasure, and the superiority of certain races.”

The Anti-Diet Approach

Anti-diet is anti-diet culture. The approach has a focus on overall wellbeing, rather than weight loss, and it shows us how the foods we eat and what our bodies look like, are not tied to moral virtue or social status.

Diet culture makes us believe that we have to ‘beat’ our hunger and change our bodies in order to find happiness and self worth.

Christy says, “Diet culture is a form of oppression, and dismantling it is essential for creating a world that’s just and peaceful for people in ALL bodies.”

Research supports this notion and confirms that diet’s don’t work. A 2019 study concludes: “The increases in BMI and WC were greater in dieters than in non‐dieters, suggesting dieting attempts to be non‐functional in the long term in the general population.”

To adopt the anti-diet approach, we need to keep our wits about us. Organisations know that diets don’t work, and have been moving away from language such as ‘diet’ and ‘weight loss’, instead, changing their language to terms like ‘wellness’. The diets have not ceased, they have just changed forms.

Diets are often disguised through buzz words such as ‘protocol’, ‘clean eating’, ‘health reset’, ‘nutrition challenge’ or ’lifestyle change’.

How can we adopt the anti-diet approach and fight back against diet culture? We can keep an eye out for diet culture red flags.

Diet Culture Red Flags

  • Wellness programs with a weight loss focus.
  • The use of before and after photos.
  • A program that gives food a moral value such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, including ‘traffic light’ systems and the like, that categorise foods.
  • Eliminating foods or food groups, without a medical reason.
  • Focusing on numbers such as calories, percentages, or time.
  • Buzz words like ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’.
  • Tracking of calories, exercise or steps.

What can we do now to start adopting the anti-diet approach? We can identify diet culture through it’s red flags, notice our own internal dialogue when it comes to food, say no to fad and perfectionistic diets, and unfollow social media accounts that make us feel bad about our bodies or food choices. When we stop engaging in diet culture, diet culture loses its power.

“Weight loss doesn’t heal people from their internalised weight stigma. Bad body image is not cured by weight loss.” – Lisa DuBreuil in Anti-Diet.

Dear Dr Benson,

I would just like to know what helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite?

The term cellulite refers to a characteristic form of dimpling seen on the hips and thighs of females.

It is a normal appearance that has been unfairly stigmatised. The pattern of dimpling is related to the attachment of the system of little fibrous bands (called septae) that contain the fat.

It is a normal appearance that has been unfairly stigmatised.

There is no effective specific treatment for cellulite in spite of the plethora of misinformation in the popular press.

Mesotherapy is one of the more commonly used techniques now and involves the injection of certain substances, via a very fine needle, underneath the dermal layer of the skin into the subcutaneous fat tissue in the area selected.

Currently however, it is unknown what happens to the broken down fat cells once they leave the targeted area and what effects the various substances injected have on the body’s organs and tissues.

There really is very little scientific and/or clinical evidence to support this technique, and is no standardisation within the practice in terms of what substances are used, quantities used and amount and frequency of injections.


Generally, cellulite can usually only be improved if body weight is maintained in the optimal range, and the muscles in that region are kept well toned.

Hydration is the key to beating feelings of dizziness and nausea while exercising.

Dear Dr. Benson,

I work out three to four times per 5 day week and keep fairly active on weekends. Of late, I’ve been experiencing some light-headedness while doing weights, and a few times following workouts have been experiencing nausea or vomiting.

A deciding factor in the nausea episodes seems to be where I work out, as the upstairs area of the gym has lots of air conditioners and the downstairs area has a low roof and feels quite hot, and although I do different exercises in both locations, there are some cross-overs during which I find I have less trouble in the better ventilated area. Dizziness has been experienced at both. There are occasionally times it has been experienced during the working day, although this normally follows periods of high stress or poor sleep, so I have not really been highly concerned with it. I’m also experiencing lethargy far earlier in my workouts that I was a few months ago.

I’m not sure if it’s a dietary thing or if it’s something I should see a GP about. It’s certainly the case that if my food consumption is slightly increased, I experience dizziness less frequently, although if I increase it significantly, then vomiting and nausea increases during workouts (this, I assume, is more related to undigested food in the stomach as blood is diverted to the muscles than to anything else).

I take protein supplements post-workout and occasionally pre-workout if I lack the time at work for a mid-morning snack. My first meal is usually around 8am and the post-workout consumption is about 1pm, sometimes 2pm. Consistency of mid-morning meals is erratic at best- maybe one day out of five, as usually I get swamped with work.

Is this likely to be a simple case of needing a greater energy intake? Could it be related to blood sugar? Or should I consider seeing a GP just in case?

Kind regards, 


Dear Reuben,

Obviously it would be important for you to see your GP for a basic check up and blood tests to rule out any significant problem.  If these episodes of dizziness, nausea and vomiting are also associated with headaches for example, your GP should do a thorough neurological examination to ensure that there is no intracranial pathology.

However it is possible that your symptoms are related to either the environment, as you have identified with it being more likely to happen in hotter, less ventilated areas; or occasionally these symptoms can be due to hyperventilation that occurs in some people when they work out and lift heavy weights, so ensure your breathing is slow and controlled.

More possible though I feel that it may actually be the result of low blood sugar and/ or some dehydration during your workouts, which leads us to a good discussion on exercise hydration and nutrition advice…

The fluid and energy you consume before, during, and after an exercise session are all equally important, not only to optimise your performance (and hence the effectiveness of your work-out), but also to maintain comfort and hence make the experience more enjoyable.


Before exercise it is important to drink at least 500mls of water in the 2 hrs leading up, including 200mls of water  in the 15 minutes before starting;

You also need to eat an easily digested carbohydrate 1-4 hours leading up e.g. fruit such as banana, pasta, potato, rice, breakfast cereal, etc.

Protein is too heavy pre-exercise, and won’t provide a source of quick acting energy.

During exercise you should aim to drink at least 200mls of water or sports drink every 20 minutes.

If you don’t use a sports drink, make sure you have some form of quickly digested carbohydrate at least once an hour e.g. fruit, sports bars etc.


After exercise you should drink at least 500-1000mls of water in the 2 hours following

(until your urine is clear!), and eat a source of carbohydrate and protein e.g. fruit smoothie, nutritional supplement drink, yoghurt, etc.

If you are trying to gain muscle, adding protein powders is useful here.