Exercise and Mental HealthStaying active is not only critical for maintaining physical fitness during the COVID-19 restrictions, but also for providing important mental health benefits during the current period of social isolation. Physical activity is a key factor for the prevention and management of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) and eating disorders. Physical activity, even in low doses, could lower the risk of mental illness in the community. The current Australian guidelines for exercise are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two sessions of resistance-based exercises per week, but for mental health a little bit of activity is better than doing nothing at all. Even one session per week has been shown to have great improvements. Mental disorders are already among the leading causes of disease and disability globally. There is mounting evidence that suggests that exercise is an effective component of treatment for people living with acute and chronic mental illness. With exercise making a big difference in mood and promoting a positive mental health, whilst also helping to reduce the symptoms of mental illness, there is a significant need for exercise to be a fundamental part of mental health treatment, particularly whilst we are in isolation. While gyms and fitness classes are now shut down, exercise is still considered an essential activity. Here are some tips for maintaining or building movement into your day:
- Keep motivated by scheduling exercise into your diary as you would for a gym class
- Put on your favourite music and do some simple body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, and push ups
- Make use of online exercise classes to guide your home exercise. You can find some great online Pilates classes here
- Get outside into the fresh air if you can, take a walk along the beach or kick the football in the backyard
- Book in for an online consultation or alternatively a one-on-one session with our Accredited Exercise Physiologist for clinical exercise advice and treatment here
What is an exercise physiologist?An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is a university qualified allied health professional who specialises in the delivery of exercise and lifestyle programs for healthy individuals and those with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. AEPs possess extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery. They provide health modification counselling for people with chronic disease and injury with a strong focus on behavioural change. Working across a variety of areas in health, exercise and sport, services delivered by an AEP are also claimable under compensable schemes such as Medicare and covered by most private health insurers. When it comes to the prescription of exercise, they are the most qualified professionals in Australia. What makes AEPs different to other exercise professionals?
- They are university qualified
- They undertake strict accreditation requirements with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
- They are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and WorkCover, and are recognised by most private health insurers
- They can treat and work with all people. From those who want to improve their health and well-being, to those with, or at risk of developing a chronic illness
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Arthritis and osteoporosis
- Chronic respiratory disease and asthma
- Depression and mental health conditions
- Different forms of cancer
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Neuromuscular disease
- And much more!
Exercise and Different Types of CancerEvery four minutes an Australian is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer can have a devastating effect on people’s lives – not just their physical and mental health, but also their family, work and social life. Exercise is commonly accepted as important in maintaining good health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. A growing body of research has shown exercise to be a very effective medicine for people with cancer to take in addition with their anti-cancer treatments. Depending on the cancer, the stage of disease, and time since diagnosis, will help to determine which exercise would be best suited to you. Listed below are some benefits and information on exercise effect in common cancer sites. Breast Cancer Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among females. Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or a combination of the above. These treatments can be successful at removing cancer cells and tumours, often they lead to physical side effects that may affect your function and require some modifications to exercise.
- After breast surgery, pushing exercises may be difficult, along with reaching with arms over the head. It is recommended to include upper limb flexibility and range of motion exercises before strengthening to reduce the risk of injury, improve upper body functioning, and have greater long-term benefits.
- Radiation and surgery can cause damage to lymph nodes, which can result in lymphedema. It was thought that exercise exacerbates lymphedema symptoms, but recent evidence suggests that exercise is safe for those with lymphedema and may even improve symptoms. The process of muscle contraction can return fluid flow back through the nodes and reduce swelling.
- Another common side effect of treatment is a decrease in bone mineral density and loss of muscle mass, leading to an increase in risk of falls and fractures. Resistance training is recommended to increase bone mineral density, muscle mass and overall strength.
- Exercise during and after treatment improves overall strength and function, reduces frequency and severity of treatment related side effects, and helps to maintain a healthy body composition.
- Exercising with a colostomy bag is no reason not to exercise. A clearance from your GP is recommended for those with stomas prior to participation in certain types of exercise. Contact sports are not recommended due to risk of injury. Resistance exercise should be started at a low resistance and gradually built up over time to reduce the risk of a hernia at the stoma site.
- Exercise is safe for people with lung cancer and can help to manage side effects of lung cancer treatments. Exercise in the weeks before lung cancer surgery can improve outcomes and reduce complications. Exercise post-surgery can improve recovery time and reduce time to return to ADL’s
- Recommendations for exercise for those with advanced lung cancer are to remain as active as possible and avoid long periods of inactivity – a little bit is better than none
- Exercising after lung cancer can help to reduce shortness of breath and reduce risk of return of cancer or chronic disease
- One of the most common treatments for prostate survivors is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). The side effects of this can be a reduction in testosterone levels, decreased bone mineral density, muscle atrophy, fatigue and insulin resistance. Prostate survivors undergoing ADT who complete regular resistance and aerobic based exercise regularly can expect to see improvements in muscular strength, physical function, and quality of life.
- Prostate cancer survivors can also experience losses in bone mineral density and muscle mass, usually as a result of ADT coupled with physical inactivity. This leads to an increase in fall and fracture risk. Progressive resistance training is recommended to restore bone mineral density, improve muscle mass and overall function.
The Chain of CommandYour spine is essentially the chain that forms the ‘backbone’ of your entire body. Without it you would be a blob of muscles, organs and soft tissue piled on the floor. Your spine commands respect because it is the pillar that supports your body, allows you to walk, stand and sit, as well as touch and feel; because it forms the canal connecting the nerves from your body and limbs, to your brain. While your heart may be the vital organ that keeps you alive, without your spine you wouldn’t be able to move. There are three natural curves in your spine that give it an "S" shape when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by distributing your body weight. Between the bony vertebra are spongy discs that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar spine (or lower back) connects the thoracic spine to the pelvis, and bears the bulk of your body's weight. Your spine is not rigid though. It allows movement through the intervertebral joints connecting the bony vertebra. These joints allow you to twist, to bend forward and backward, and from side to side. Large groups of muscles surrounding the spine, pelvis, hips and upper body all interact to allow for movements like walking, running, jumping, and swimming. However, there are also muscles deep in your body that work constantly just to maintain your posture when you’re sitting and standing. It is essential that all elements of the spinal ‘chain’ work harmoniously together to ensure fluid movement without overloading structures resulting in injury and pain. Any link in the chain that becomes ‘stuck’ will not only affect that spinal level but also the movement and strength of the chain above and below it. If the muscles around the spine are uneven in strength and length (flexibility) this too can affect the ‘chain’, altering the alignment and motion of the links. Taking care of your spine now will help you lower the chances of experiencing back pain later. Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine involve nothing more than practicing better body mechanics, or how you move and hold yourself, when you do daily tasks and activities.
Taking Care of Your SpinePay attention to early warning signs or pain. Although back pain is very common and nearly every person will experience at least one episode of back pain in a lifetime, it is essential to address any symptoms promptly. It has also been shown in studies that early treatment and rehabilitation can prevent recurrent bouts of back pain and prevent the development of chronic lower back pain which can be very debilitating, stressful and depressing. It can affect your ability to work, play sport, socialise and sleep, all of which can further compound your pain cycle. Your back pain could be due to inflamed ligaments, damaged intervertebral discs, nerve irritation, bony formations on the spine, muscle imbalances such as weakness or a lack of flexibility, leg length differences, or muscle strains, to name just a few. Even the way we move (or don’t move) at work, school or sport can all be an underlying cause to the current pain.
How Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy Can Help with Back PainYour physiotherapist can treat the pain or stiffness experienced from back pain using massage, soft tissue mobilisation, spinal manipulation, heat, acupuncture and other devices. It is important that you, together with your physiotherapist work through a rehabilitation program (specific exercises and stretches) to correct underlying muscle weaknesses, flexibility issues, and the sequence in which the muscles around your spine work to provide stability. A physiotherapist can also give you advice on correcting posture / technique for work and sport. Chat to us today about what we can do to help Ph: 0266764000 / 02667644577
Back Pain and Sleep IssuesOne of the most common issues back pain sufferers experience is sleep disruption so we have put together an interactive Back Pain and Sleep Guide to help you banish those sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed. The guide includes:
- 6 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
- 8 bedtime stretches to relieve back pain (with video links)
- Sleeping positions that will help relieve pain (with links to videos)
- 7 Yoga Poses that will help cure most back pain issues
- A morning stretch routine that will help ease pain from a restless night (with videos)
Exercising for Bone Health – What type of exercise and how much should you be doing?Exercise is important for bone health and osteoporosis - whatever your age or wellness and whether you have broken bones in the past or not. Being physically active and exercising will help you in so many ways and is very unlikely to cause you a fracture. The main thing is to remember is that the worst thing you can do is nothing. After a diagnosis of osteoporosis or if you have risk factors, you should do more exercise rather than less. If you have spinal fractures or other broken bones you may need to modify some exercises to be on the safe side, but generally exercise won’t cause you to have a fracture. For exercise to be most effective at keeping bones strong you need to combine weight-bearing exercises with impact and resistance exercises. What is weight bearing exercise with impact? You are weight bearing when you are standing, with the weight of your whole body pulling down on your skeleton. Weight bearing exercise with impact involves being on your feet and adding an additional force or jolt through your skeleton – anything from walking to star jumps. What is resistance exercise? Resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force, placing stress on the muscle and related bones. You can use different forms of resistance including free weights, weight machines or body weight. It is best to target specific muscle groups around areas that are susceptible to osteoporotic fractures, including the hips and the spine. How much and how often should I exercise to promote bone and muscle strength?
|Osteoporosis - no fractures||Osteoporosis – after a fracture has occurred||Osteoporosis – Frail and elderly|
|Weight bearing exercise with impact||About 50 moderate impacts on most days (jumps, skips, jogs, hops etc)||20 minutes lower impact exercise on most days (brisk, walking, marching stair climbing, gentle heel drops)||Avoid prolonged periods of inactivity. Stand up for a few minutes every hour|
|Resistance exercise||· On 2-3 days of the week (non-consecutive days) · Aim for 20-30 minutes of muscle resistance exercise working on exercises that target legs, arms and spine · Exercises should progress in intensity and weight over time, and exercise routines should be varied|
The role of Accredited Exercise Physiologists in the treatment of CancerExercise has been established as an effective adjunct therapy for the management of cancer. People with exercise interventions have been shown to experience fewer and/or less severe treatment related side effects and have enhanced physical and psychological outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. This current evidence has led to calls for exercise to be incorporated into routine cancer care throughout all phases of the cancer care continuum – before, during and after treatment. Current evidence-based guidelines recommend all people with cancer:
- Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible following diagnosis
- Progress towards and maintain participation in regular moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise and resistance exercise each week
- Exercise recommendations should be tailored to the individual’s abilities noting the specific exercise programming adaptations may be required for people with cancer based on disease and treatment related adverse effects.
- improve functional ability/capacity
- improve health related quality of life across various domains including physical, mental and social wellbeing, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, endurance, and power
- reduce cancer-related fatigue
- reduce psychosocial distress, and
- positively influence body composition.
- cancer-specific mortality for certain cancer types including breast, colorectal and prostate cancers
- cancer recurrence for certain types of cancer including breast, colon and prostate cancers
- all-cause mortality and development of new cancers
- developing comorbid conditions including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and diabetes
Moving Beyond Cancer at Cabarita and Pottsville PhysiotherapyMoving Beyond Cancer is an exercise class specifically designed by an AEP for people at any stage along the cancer continuum. The class enhances not only the physical wellbeing, but also the mental wellbeing to the lives of those with cancer. The exercises are tailored to the individual’s abilities, the program is patient-centred, and is responsive to individual patient needs, goals and preferences. An initial assessment is conducted by an AEP prior to joining the class. The classes are individualised exercise programs in a small group setting (1-5 participants). All sessions are EPC and Health Fund rebatable. For more details of our Moving Beyond Cancer Class follow this link
Moving Beyond CancerIf the effects of exercise could be purchased in a pill, it would be prescribed to every person with cancer. Even if the exercise pill had just a few of the positive health benefits that exercise provides, it would still be viewed as a miracle drug Exercise and Sports Science Australia’s (ESSA) current evidence-based guidelines recommend all people with cancer to exercise regularly to help combat cancer and cancer treatments People with cancer who exercise regularly have lower risk of dying from cancer, lower risk of the cancer coming back, and fewer and/or less treatment related adverse events
Moving Beyond Cancer Class Information
- Safe and effective exercise program specifically designed for people with cancer and cancer survivors
- Involves individualised exercise programs in a small group (1-5 participants) delivered by an Exercise Physiologist
- Counteracts the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment
- Enhances both physical and mental wellbeing
- Is based on the latest scientific research
Benefits of Moving Beyond Cancer:
- Improved health and wellbeing
- Reduced severity of anxiety and depression
- Increased energy levels and reduced fatigue
- Improved lung function
- improved strength and increased muscle mass
- maintained physical function and ease in activities of daily living
- improved balance and reduced falls risk
- improved state of mind and reduction in stress levels
- improved heart function and reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other forms of cancer
- improved bone strength and joint function
- improved quality of life
Day to day Tips
- Pace your activities through the day – don’t tackle all the physical jobs at once.
- Wear low-heeled shoes with soft, thick soles (trainers are ideal). Thicker soles will act as shock absorbers.
- Use a walking stick to reduce the weight and stress on your painful knee.
- Use the handrail for support when climbing stairs.
- Don’t keep your knee still in a bent position for too long, it will stiffen up.
- Think about modifying your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain on your knee.
- Learn to relax your muscles and let the tension out of your body.
- Use heat/ice packs to help eases pain and stiffness.
- Knee braces for osteoarthritis are available.
- Speak to your doctor or therapist first for recommendations or referrals for any of the above.
Don’t Let Yourself Be Sidelined by Tennis InjuriesTennis is one of the most popular sports throughout the world, with approximately 75 million participants worldwide. It is a sport that you can play at every age and at every level. Children can start playing from the age of 4, using softer, slower balls and smaller rackets on modified courts to make the game easier and more fun, gradually progressing to regular rackets, balls and courts. Older players can start the sport at any age and can continue playing all their life. Whether you are looking for the competitive club league tennis or a more social game amongst friends, tennis is an excellent sport with loads of health benefits. Tennis is a fun and social (as well as competitive) way to add to your weekly activity goals.
Here are some amazing benefits of participating in regular activities like tennis:1. Increased brain power From alertness to tactical thinking, tennis enhances the neural connections in your brain. Kids who play tennis regularly get better grades at school. 2. Better hand–eye coordination Playing tennis involves regular skills that all contribute to good hand–eye coordination. You can improve your agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and more. This can benefit you in injury prevention where improved balance and agility can help protect against rolling an ankle or tripping and falling often resulting in sprains or Colles fracture of the wrist or worse a hip fracture in older age. 3. Reduced stress Tennis involves physical, mental, social and emotional challenges, which increase your capacity to deal with stress. Or simply running around smashing some balls may help you to blow off some stress too! 4. Strong heart Compared with other sports, tennis players have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease. Playing just 3 hours a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 56%. 5. Higher fitness levels Playing tennis on a regular basis (2–3 times/week), either singles or doubles, meets the global exercise recommendations and leads to increased fitness levels. Tennis is an excellent interval training technique - running, stopping, burst of activity then rest between points or games (which elevates and then lowers heart rate repeatedly through a match) which is proven to be hugely beneficial in improving fitness levels and in cardiovascular conditioning too. The effect is not only seen in elite players but with recreational tennis too. 6. Leaner body Tennis is an excellent and fun way to burn calories and lose weight. An hour of singles play can burn 580–870 calories. A lower body weight has immense benefits in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases including diabetes, and a lighter frame will reduce loading on your back and joints reducing joint pain and possible arthritis in older age. 7. Strong bones Playing tennis on a regular basis leads to stronger, healthier bones. This effect is strongest in those who play tennis from an early age, but even if you start playing tennis later in life you can benefit from the positive effect on your bones. This is applicable to both women and men combating the development of osteoporosis a.k.a. brittle bones with ageing. 8. Strong leg muscles Playing tennis strengthens your leg muscles, which helps maintain your mobility and independence in old age.
The Secret is Staying Injury FreeBut these health benefits won’t be very fruitful is you are sitting side-lined because of injuries and while some injuries are quick to repair, others can take a couple of weeks and others may be more stubborn, taking 6 weeks or more. What’s more frustrating, and unfortunately very common, is the risk of re-injury. One of the greatest risk factors for an ankle sprain or a muscle strain (tear) is having suffered from a previous sprain or strain. Nearly 2/3rds of tennis injuries are chronic overuse injuries, many of which are caused by poor technique, incorrect equipment use and lack of physical conditioning
Acute injuries, like an ankle sprain or calf strain, although sudden and unpredictable can also be prevented with adequate preparation and appropriate conditioning. Chat to one of our friendly staff for more information on how to prevent common tennis injuries and stay in the game longer!
The potential benefits of exercise during and after treatment are significant and research has proved its effectiveness. Exercise during chemotherapy can help ease side effects, such as fatigue and nausea, and can help to boost the immune system of those undergoing cancer treatments. Chemotherapy side effects can sometimes make exercising tough, but it’s recommended to try to be as active as possible during treatment. Benefits of an appropriately prescribed exercise program in this population include improved:
- Muscle mass, strength, power
- Cardiorespiratory fitness
- Physical function
- Physical activity levels
- Range of motion
- Immune function
- Chemotherapy completion rates
- Reduced anxiety and depression