Exercising - the benefits are much more than weight loss!
Physiotherapists are in a unique position in the area of health. They have hands-on skills, using a variety of manual techniques to assess dysfunction and then to help relieve pain. These include joint mobilisations, manipulation, massage, needling, taping, orthotic prescription and many more. But, they also can keep you moving with exercise – ranging from low-level exercise that you might do in severe pain or the day after surgery to exercises that are used to help the elite perform at their best in their chosen field. This differentiates physiotherapists from other allied health practitioners.
At the core of this philosophy, and the philosophy of treating the underlying cause to provide lifelong optimal health (Results4Life) is the fantastic benefits of exercise!
Exercise is a crucial component of lifelong optimal health. The benefits of exercise are far reaching and often not appreciated. Everyone knows that exercise is excellent for weight loss, and to be stronger – but what else?
Firstly, WHY IS EXERCISE IMPORTANT?
Exercise is the best, cheapest, and most accessible medicine available. Everyone has it at their disposal. The majority of chronic diseases and their subsequent mortality come from the fact that Australians are not moving enough - in fact, less than half of us actually hit the recommended exercise guidelines.
So…WHAT IS EXERCISE GOOD FOR?
There is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates exercise helps to prevent, treat and manage a range of health conditions including:
- Musculoskeletal Pain – The best management for most musculoskeletal injury or pain involves…you guessed it – exercise. This includes arthritis, joint sprains, muscle strains, postural issues, pre and post surgery and many many more – and for every joint! It is part of the prevention, it is part of the cure, and every treatment plan should have some degree of exercises as an integral component.
- Bone strength – bone mineral density reduces after the age of about 23 years old. Weight-bearing and strength exercise can help to slow this decline dramatically and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- Falls Risk – Falls are the leading cause for admission to hospital, nursing homes and indirectly a premature death in an elderly population. Strength and balance training can assist at reducing your falls risk and living independently and longer in your own home.
- Cancer survival – exercise can increase survival rates after diagnosis by 50-60%. And it is estimated that between 21-25% of breast and colon cancers are contributed to by a lack of exercise! There is specific physio led exercise protocols for both men and women (PINC and STEEL).
- Diabetes – exercise reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes in at-risk populations by 60% and is a significant reason why many people can get off insulin and be ‘lifestyle managed.’
- Cardiovascular Health – blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are all positively influenced with appropriate exercise regimes. A lack of exercise contributes to one-third of all heart attacks.
- Mental Health – exercise is one of the most potent anti-depressants that we have and delays the onset and severity of dementia. It also improves memory, concentration, alertness, focus and therefore efficiency at work or school.
- General health and wellness – let’s face it, people feel great after exercising!
It’s not all doom and gloom though – the World Health Organisations recommends 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, 5 days a week and it is estimated that it could cut Australia’s disease burden due to insufficient physical activity by about 26%.
It is never too late to start! The sooner, the better, but if that is not you, there can be significant positive changes due to exercise at any age.
Now, before you rush out there and hit the pavement – please keep in mind to not overdo it initially. The aim is to start slow and progress at a steady and manageable level – generally around 10% a week. This way, the body adapts to the new loads that are placed on it, and tendons, muscles and bones can get stronger with you!
For information or guidance on exercise – either starting or progressing please contact your local Back In Motion practice.
Brendan Mason, Physiotherapist, Director Back In Motion Aspendale Gardens.
Brendan was born and bred in Aspendale Gardens and graduated from the University of Melbourne. Brendan has been involved competitively in representative football, cricket and martial arts, as well as netball, swimming and most recently has ventured into ultra-trail marathons.
He enjoys incorporating his knowledge of physiotherapy and sport into treating a range of musculoskeletal and sporting injuries. He thrives on the challenge of the assessment and management process to attain the greatest outcomes and performance for each and every patient. His practice, BIM Aspendale Gardens, has an Exercise Physiologist on staff further expanding their rehabilitation, treatment, and athletic performance options.