Ruben Meerman is the scientist behind the Bundaberg Region’s newest health and lifestyle program which recognises the connection between metabolism, breathing and movement.
Aptly named Eat, Breathe, Move, the Building a Healthy Bundaberg Alliance program is funded by Bundaberg Regional Council along with the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Health and Wellbeing Queensland under Round 2 of the ActiveKIT program.
Eat, Breathe, Move addresses a critical gap in health literacy: understanding that the food we eat becomes the carbon dioxide we exhale (carbon in, carbon out).
After growing up in the Bundaberg Region, Ruben became well known throughout the country as the ABC’s Surfing Scientist.
Now, he’s bringing his inspiring blend of scientific knowledge delivered with fun and entertainment to the Bundaberg Region through the Eat, Breathe, Move program.
Ruben’s interest in the science of human metabolism was sparked by his own weight loss experience, having previously lost 16 kilograms.
Research undertaken by Ruben revealed that 84 per cent of the mass people lose during weight loss is converted to carbon dioxide and exhaled.
The remaining 16 per cent turns into water.
His calculations were published in the British Medical Journal and his TEDx talks about breathing and weight loss have been viewed more than 13 million times.
“The reason you breathe more during physical activity is because you’re converting more food into carbon dioxide,” Ruben said.
“Simply going for a walk can make you breathe four or five times more than sitting still.
“Understanding this can do wonders for your motivation.”
Ruben said he was excited to share his knowledge with the Bundaberg Region and he hoped to motivate the community to move more.
“I’ll be using liquid nitrogen to freeze people's breath so they can see the frozen carbon dioxide they just exhaled,” he said.
“The medical benefits of physical activity are almost magical, and you can get them by simply going for a walk.
“You'll feel better and it’s free so let’s go!”
Eat, Breathe, Move will be delivered through exciting, targeted initiatives:
- Primary and secondary schools, specifically Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers:
Professional development and training will be delivered on the “carbon in, carbon out” concept and how these ideas can be integrated into everyday teaching practice..
- Regional network of sporting clubs and the active industry to facilitate “Skills and Drills” events for youth:
“Skills and Drills” events target students to engage with local sporting clubs, practice basic skills, and introduce youth to various sports and physical activities.
- Locally-based GPs and Allied Health professionals engaging adult cohorts through “Walk with a Doc” events:
A network of locally based GPs will lead these walks, while “Just Walk” events will be led by non-doctorate healthcare professionals. Walks begin with a brief discussion on a relevant health topic and are followed by a healthy walk with engaging conversation.
- The general public:
Through a series of public lectures that cover the “carbon in, carbon out” concept, its linkage to physical activity, and the impact on overall health and wellbeing, including the 2023 Move It Expo.
Dates of Eat, Breathe, Move activities, workshops and public lectures are currently being developed.
Visit the Eat, Breathe, Move project page to get involved and to subscribe for future updates.