"Throughout my life I have always thrived on sharing my fitness and health expertise and one of my greatest gifts lies in my ability to motivate and inspire others to live their best and healthy life. I have an extremely positive disposition and awake each day with the desire to not just exist and enjoy the world, but to try to improve upon it, whether it be training clients and building their self esteem through changing their body, centre stage leading group fitness classes, participating in fundraising efforts for chosen charities, loving my family and friends, learning new things and sharing my knowledge through Health and Fitness writing. My energy and enthusiasm sees me teaching my health and fitness program Fit Moves! in primary and secondary schools, championing causes at community events such as Drawtism for Autism and the Urbanathalon, leading the development of fitness professionals as a Fitness Champion for The Australian Institute of Fitness, and driving self-esteem initiatives throughout the community. Raising awareness and contributing to research efforts towards Healthy Brain Ageing through being a Fitness Ambassador is an exciting achievement and the opportunity to be part of something so intrinsic to health and happiness excites me beyond measure!
My exposure to the ageing brain and associated diseases started at a young age through high school community service participation at a local nursing home and then further with my work with people with disabilities at The Sunnyfield Association, however it was my firsthand experiences with family members affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia that truly fostered in me a commitment to learning more about the brain, to assist with research initiatives to combat these diseases and to educate family and the winder community on the importance of a healthy mind and body leading to a positive ageing experience. Throughout my life I have had a close relationship with my grandparents, sharing a love of shopping with my grandma and a love of sport and coffee with my nana so it was all too real and sobering when they started to display symptoms of an ageing brain, including forgetfulness, panic and an inability to undertake simple tasks such as operating a television. The deterioration occurred over a number of years and was slow and heart breaking. From fun loving grandparents who were able to hold conversations, partake in family occasions, live independently and display normal cognitive ability they became dependant on others, incapable of self-care, and some severe changes in personality also occurred. Retirement villages, nursing homes, carers and eventually complete loss of independence ensued for both my grandma and nana, and some of the saddest moments were when my grandma could understand what was happen but had no control over it. My nana had almost complete dementia towards the end, and in some ways this was more merciful as did not seem aware of some of the changes."
What does "Healthy Brains. Positive Ageing" mean to me?
Being a fitness professional and having lived through the experience of loved ones ageing I have emerged with an understanding of the debilitating nature of illnesses associated with ageing and I am educated on some of the ways we can attempt to prevent illnesses or at least minimise some of the effects. It was with this knowledge that came the realisation that my grandparents' suffering did not have to be in vain, nor accepted as the norm, and through research, understanding and greater community awareness and education we can investigate cures, preventative measures and an assurance that our ageing years are to be enjoyed, not endured.
Keeping your brain healthy, especially as we age, can reduce the risk of disease and disorders, and is most effective when combined with physical and mental activity and social interaction. Exercise, nutrition, brain exercises, and natural therapies such as meditation, reading, team/group activities contribute to a healthy brain and as we age chronologically, assists in preventing illness, increases the ability to cope with change and can prolong the lifestyle necessities for a happy life. These include independence, performing self-care, following conversations, creating the 'feel good'chemicals through being with people and the community, and having the cognitive abilities to exist in a world of increasing complexity, without fear, confusion or debilitating disease and dependence.
Ali is Head Trainer and Owner of the health and fitness company Fit Fantastic. It was her previous life as a corporate human resources executive and extensive tertiary qualificiations that has allowed Ali to combine her excellent business ability with her passion and expertise for all things health and fitness to create a solid brand with this company. She is rapidly becoming a well known "face" of health and fitness as well as continuing to be a popular Group Fitness Instructor in NSW. Ali also trains corporate and school groups including Stella Maris High, Wenona High School, Heart Foundation, OOSH Northern Beaches and Taronga Zoo, led the recent Urbanathlon Warmups and has signed on as Boxing Coach for RAISE Organisation for disadvantaged teens. Ali is a motivational speaker, accomplished health and fitness writer and a brand Ambassador for companies including Rockwear Clothing, Australian Sports Nutrition, Barefoot Clothing and The Australian Institute of Fitness, featuring in their national TV campaigns. CHeBA is thrilled to welcome Ali as a Fitness Ambassador!
The CHeBA Champions are Fitness Ambassadors for the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. These fitness professionals and enthusiasts in their 20s and 30s are championing healthy brain ageing through healthy lifestyles from a young age.