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
Rosie is our Remedial Muscle Therapist, and Swedish Relaxation Therapist.
Rosie has completed an advanced diploma in Soft Tissue Therapy at Kingscliff Tafe. These studies have laid down a solid foundation of awareness in the anatomy and functionality of the body. Rosie works with assessment and tactile massage tools to support the body. With these tools she can support you on getting out of pain, relieving tension, correcting compensation imbalances, and overall maintenance for physical and mental health.Over the last year Rosie has also undertaken another bodywork course in Zenthai Shiatsu to help further deepen her understanding of the body and how it works/heals. This bodywork therapy looks through the lens of Ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine and Temple Thai massage, and works a lot more on the facial connective tissue (meridians) throughout the body. This modality has enabled Rosie to support others in healing that is not only physical but also psycho-emotional, nervous system balancing and stress relieving. Rosie also has studied 200hour multi-style yoga teacher training, which adds layers again onto her ability to understand the body and it’s movements, posture and alignment. Feel free to ask Rosie for some simple take-home yoga stretches/postures that will specifically support you and your body on your healing/health journey. Rosie is also happy to work hand-in-hand with your physio to obtain best results. For many cases the combination of physiotherapy and remedial massage therapy together, can accelerate your healing journey, and/or bring ease to maintaining and healthy functioning body (and mind). Call 6676 4000 to find out her availability!
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!
Don’t Get into Deep Water with Swimming InjuriesSwimming is one of the most popular sports in the world. We swim in the sea, pools, lakes, streams, rivers and even ponds. And given 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, we’re not short of opportunities. And while swimming is considered a ‘low-impact’ sport due to the fact that the water supports a large percentage of, more than 84% of regular swimmers suffer from some type of overuse type injury caused by swimming. Why? The main reason is the high repetition number and forceful nature of the shoulder revolutions which takes our shoulder joint through its full range of motion (which is one of the greatest of all our joints), against resistance, over and over again. And as 50-90% of the power generated to propel you forward comes from the shoulders, you can see why they are the most frequently injured joint. However, swimming also puts stress on your back, to hold you level in the water; on the neck when raising your head out of the water to breathe and if you favour breaststroke as a stroke, there’s added pressure from the unnatural twisting motion on the knees. So, despite it seeming to be a low-impact sport, swimming actually carries a surprisingly high risk of injury. Let’s take a look at those injuries, why they happen and what you can do about them. Swimming injuries generally stem from two sources, and often these sources will combine:
- Muscle imbalances
- Stroke technique issues
Festive Follies Survival StrategiesForget boot camp, with shopping mayhem and rampaging relatives, financial stress, late nights, too much TV and over-indulging – the festive season can be the most grueling event on the calendar. It’s no wonder that nearly every one of us emerges from it with a New Year’s resolution of detoxing, getting fit and losing weight! Surviving is all about preparation. The festive season is usually particularly problematic for those of us who take their nutrition and exercise seriously or even for those who just want to come out of the other side, with any luck, not worse off than when they started. Whether it’s the big high calorie meals, the parties, alcohol or general lack of structure in your week, it’s very easy to lose your way in December which is why we put together some resources to help you minimise the festive ‘damage’ and help you maintain your physique and health, while still enjoying the party season. Our newsletter looks at three things:
- What you can do to keep your eating on track
- What you can do to keep your fitness on track
- What you can do to keep your alcohol intake on track
- Booze Busters explores the impact of alcohol on your body and how you can reduce the toll it takes on you physically
- Hangover Food Super-Heroes looks at how to replenish lost nourishment the day after a heavy night
- Hangover-Smashing Smoothies – three specially concocted smoothies to help get you back on your feet, the morning after the night before.
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)
Stress Management Tips1. Learn to say NO: If you have a people pleasing personality it may be hard for you to say no. The only way to get better is to start slowly and practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Every time you feel you should say yes take a moment and think to yourself: ‘is this something I really want to do’? If the answer isn’t a most definite yes than say ‘NO’! 2. Mindfulness It is a lovely practice to start your day by setting your intention for the day, e.g. I choose happiness, I will enjoy today no matter what, I will only look for the positive in things, I will focus on my breath, I will focus on my posture, today I will be strong etc. Throughout the day whenever anything challenges you, come back to your intention for the day. Remember, your emotions will come and go like the waves of the ocean - it is you who decides whether to let them linger: try not to get caught up in the small stuff, look at the bigger picture. The perfect day is today because that is all we have, yesterday has gone, tomorrow hasn’t come so make the most of what is here: TODAY. Learn to live in the moment! Mindfulness is not something that comes naturally to us, we are very easily distracted! Here are some tips to help you ‘learn’ to be mindful: • Start noticing what is happening around you (and accept it rather than react to it). It might be the weather, what you are eating, how other’s are acting… • Notice your thoughts and reactions. Try to keep your awareness on your thoughts but don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders off. Choose which thoughts you want to linger on and which ones are not serving you • Notice your body and it’s reactions, for example hunching your shoulders when your cold, slumping when your sad or tired… • Be aware of your waves of emotions 3. Gratitude Make a daily note of what you are thankful for, live a life of gratitude: Open your eyes and look for the good things in life, write them down, say them out load, focus on them. Give gratitude and create gratitude for others. It is great to have a gratitude diary and do this every morning to start the day and every night before bed. It will set you up for a wonderful day and a great sleep. Get your children involved with this as well, it is never too early!
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|