Viewing posts categorised under: Exercise Physiology
Exercise GuidelinesMany clients ask how much exercise should I be doing? It is a question that is often asked and not many people seem to be able to answer. In many cases, injuries are caused by deconditioning and muscle atrophy, which leads to problems with pain and loss of physical function. It is important that people get sufficient exercise to maintain their level of function and current fitness levels, however it is important that people know how much activity they should be doing.
General Exercise GuidelinesThe Australian Government department of health states that adults between the ages of 18-64 should accumulate a total of 300minutes of vigorous exercise per week, including completing specific muscle strengthening exercise on 2days. For people aged 65 years + it is recommended that people complete 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day.
What is vigorous exercise?Vigorous exercise is counted as exercise where you are breathing hard and fast, with a moderate increase in your heart rate.
What is moderate intensity exercise?Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.
Is walking enough?People often ask if walking is enough. If you are walking at a moderate intensity as described above, for 30 minutes per day, then you should be meeting recommended exercise guidelines for people aged 65 +. However, if your physio advises strengthening a muscle group or area, then walking is not sufficient.
How to build strength?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tM1LFFxeKg Strength is often recommended to rehabilitate an injury and protect an area of the body. Strength is built by placing the tissue under stress so that you are causing microscopic damage to the tissue. Once this damage occurs, the body will heal the area, making it stronger and able to withstand greater stresses in future. Our bodies have adapted to be able to cope with the demands of everyday activities, so it is important that when strengthening a muscle you are placing it under sufficient loads that are greater than what the body typically experiences. If you are not meeting the recommended exercise guidelines including 2 sessions of muscle strengthening per week, you may be vulnerable to muscle loss or atrophy, and may be developing a greater risk of injury. In summary, completing adequate levels of activity are important for maintaining physical functional and limiting the effects of injury. Physiotherapists are experts in instructing people on how to exercise in the presence of injury or pain. If you are unable to meet your activity levels due to injury, then ask the physio how to work around the injury whilst we help the body to heal.
WHY YOUR DOCTOR SHOULD REFER YOU TO AN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTWe all know we should exercise, and the science is clear, exercise is medicine. The following explains what an Exercise Physiologist is and why your doctor might refer you to one. What IS AN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST? Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) are university-qualified allied health professionals. They specialise in designing and delivering safe and effective exercise interventions for people with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. 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 CAN AN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST DO FOR YOU?EXERCISE TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH Mental illness can have an impact on a person’s cognitive, behavioural and social functioning. Those with a mental illness often struggle to engage in their regular work, social and physical activities which can further impact the illness. Mental illness includes anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and personality disorders. There is mounting evidence that suggests exercise is an effective treatment method for people suffering from acute and chronic mental illness, with some studies suggesting that exercise is just as effective, if not more effective than pharmacological intervention in alleviating depressive symptoms. EXERCISE TO MANAGE CHRONIC PAIN AND ILLNESS Chronic pain is pain that persists beyond the expected healing time of an injury. Unlike acute pain which is caused by tissue damage, chronic pain is less about the structural or tissue damage and more about the sensitivity of the nervous system and ‘non tissue related factors’. Significant research has shown that exercise is an essential component in the treatment of chronic pain. Studies have shown that it can be an effective way to reverse this downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain, and gradually over time help those with chronic pain engage more in activities of enjoyment and essential activities of daily living with greater ease. EXERCISE TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF FALL AND IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE Falls can result in permanent disability, restriction of activity, loss of confidence and fear of falling, all of which reduce quality of life and independence. There is now good evidence that exercise can prevent falls in older people by decreasing a number of key risk factors. For example, exercise can improve muscular strength, balance, balance confidence and walking speed, as well as psychological factors such as mental ability and mood. EXERCISE TO INCREASE YOUR MUSCLE MASS AND BONE STRENGTH Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness (bone density). Any bone can be affected by osteoporosis, but the most common sites are the hip, spine, wrist, upper arm, forearm or ribs. Exercise can help bones modify their shape and size so they become stronger and this can prevent injuries. Exercise also increases muscle strength and improves balance which can help reduce the risk of falls. EXERCISE TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES OR PREDIABETES Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease indicated by an elevated fasting blood glucose level due to deficiencies in insulin secretion or inability to use insulin. Everybody benefits from regular exercise but for people with diabetes mellitus (Type 1 or 2) exercise can play a vital role in the management of their condition. Exercise cannot reverse the damage to the cells in the pancreas that leads to the decreased production of insulin. Exercise can improve the way the muscles respond to insulin, which, in turn, helps regulate the blood glucose level for some hours after the exercise. Exercise also increases glucose uptake by the muscles and can lower the dose of insulin required by improving the body’s response to insulin. EXERCISE TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES DURING CANCER TREATMENT AND BEYOND Cancer is developed when abnormal cell function occurs. can develop within all parts of the body and can invade surrounding and distant sites by spreading through the blood vessels and lymphatic systems. If diagnosis and treatment are not administered in the early stages of the disease, cancer can be life-threatening. The potential benefits of exercise during and after treatment are significant and research has proved its effectiveness. Exercising 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. Our Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy will take you through a full screening to assist in prescribing you the appropriate program to achieve your goals in a safe manner. You can book an appointment with our Exercise Physiologist Sammy here or call 6676 4000
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE AGINGFor Australians aged 65 and over, physical activity becomes important in maintaining energy levels, increasing joint movement, preventing, and managing mental health problems (by reducing stress and anxiety), and improving mood and memory function. Older adults are a diverse group, with different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds and different life experiences and lifestyles. These factors all influence the ageing process. In our younger years, we grow well and experience positive change in wellbeing. Through mid-life we plateau in health, even in the presence of stress and poor lifestyle choices. But in later life, it is these unhealthy choices that will come back to bite us with a decline into poor health, a possible loss of functional independence and increased likelihood and severity of chronic disease. The cheapest and most effective countermeasure to this decline is choosing to be physically active at every age. Even if you start for the first time tomorrow, measurable, noticeable improvements will occur and not just physically but also psychologically. There is no doubt about it, exercising regularly, combining resistance, aerobic and balance exercises will guarantee better health outcomes. The following includes important benefits that exercise can provide to us as we age.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE?Reduced risk of developing chronic diseases or managing the ones you may already have Physical activity lowers the risk of many chronic conditions such as dementia, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancers, to name a few. As well as this, physical activity also assists in managing the symptoms of any chronic diseases you may have e.g., blood sugar control for diabetics or pain management for those with osteoarthritis. Memory and brain function improve Keeping a healthy body is essential to keeping a healthy mind. Regular exercise boosts oxygen to the brain and in turn can improve cognitive processing, memory recall and reaction times. These notable benefits effectively reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in later life. Studies have consistently shown that exercise stimulates the human brain’s ability to maintain old and create new network connections that are vital to cognitive health. Other studies have shown that exercise increases the size of a brain structure important to memory and learning, improving spatial memory. Reduced risk of falls Every year, 1 in 3 people aged 65 years and over will have a fall, and falls are the most common cause of injury among older people. Physical activity improves balance and coordination and in turn can minimise the risk of falls. Increased bone strength As we age, the focus is addressing risk factors for frailty and falls. Bone strength effectively can be addressed through different types of exercise. Ultimately, bones become stronger when a certain amount of load is placed on them. We improve our physical function and independence With exercise improving muscle strength and muscle function, and reducing the risk of falls, this in turn then improves our physical function and independence as we age. Maintaining functional independence is important as we age as it provides older adults with the choice to stay at home and enjoy all aspects of their daily lives at their own pace which then has positive effects on their mental health. We recover from illness more quickly Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. We stay socially connected Our ability to maintain social connections is often compromised as we age. This is mainly due to our decline in functional abilities and independence, which in turn makes it difficult to get out and maintain our social connections, often leading to feelings of loneliness and poor mental health. Group based exercise programs are a great solution to social isolation and prolonging independence, as they effectively provide a safe, supportive, and motivational environment to build self-confidence and maintain relationships with others. If you have not exercised regularly for a long time or at all, you should consult with an accredited exercise professional or your GP. To get you started on your exercise journey you can book a consult with our Accredited Exercise Physiologist Sammy here Sources: ESSA Australia
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