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The Benefits Of Exercise for People with Cancer

Posted by Hayley Harwood on 3 February 2020
The Benefits Of Exercise for People with Cancer

Currently in Australia, 1 in 2 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. However, cancer survival has improved over time and recent figures show that 7 in 10 people will live longer than 5 years post-diagnosis. It is widely accepted that regular exercise participation reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including cancer.

Exercise as Medicine

An extensive and growing body of research has established that exercise is a particularly potent medicine for the management of cancer. This is because exercise provides many physical and psychological benefits for people with cancer. The clinical research in this area has produced recent changes to standard practice in cancer care, and a great deal of research is currently underway to rigorously evaluate the effects of exercise on cancer survival (which is really positive and very exciting!). The position statement of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA), outlines that all people with cancer should avoid inactivity and should progress towards and maintain participation in regular exercise. COSA also calls for exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care, which therefore includes referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care.

The benefits of exercise for people with cancer includes:

-Exercise attenuates cancer related fatigue levels during and after treatment
-Exercise effectively counteracts many side effects of cancer and its treatment
-Exercise provides a protective effect against cancer recurrence, cancer specific mortality and all-cause mortality for some types of cancer
-Exercise has been shown to improve the quality of life and reduce psychological distress during and after treatment
-Exercise prehabilitation improves treatment outcomes
-Exercise lowers the risk of developing new cancers and comorbid conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis
-Exercise improves physical function and immune function


Although exercise for people with cancer is endorsed by government and non-government cancer organizations, unfortunately approximately 60-70% of people with cancer do not meet aerobic exercise guidelines, while 80-90% do not meet resistance exercise guidelines. While current exercise recommendations mirror those of a healthy population, many variables and considerations need to be taken into account when it comes to exercise prescription and it therefore definitely not a one size fits all approach. Exercise recommendations should be individually tailored and constantly adapted based on disease and treatment-related adverse effects, anticipated disease trajectory, as well as health and injury status. As exercise prescription for people with cancer is therefore complex, accredited exercise physiologists and physiotherapists are the most appropriate health professionals to see regarding exercise advice.

If you, or someone you know have previously been diagnosed with cancer, or you want advice regarding lifestyle changes to improve your health, give us a call on ..49572961

Posted in:Newcastle PhysiotherapyExercise Physiology NewcastleWomen's Health Physiotherapy NewcastlePilates Classes Newcastlerehabexercise for the agingmobility newcastle  

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Exercise

Posted by Hayley Harwood on 2 December 2019
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Exercise

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Exercise:

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? (CFS)

CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is characterized by at least six months of persistent fatigue that is unrelieved by rest. This type of fatigue is pathological and has been described as, "having heavy weight tied to arms, legs and shoulders." Other physical symptoms of CFS include; mental fatigue, concentration difficulties, joint pain, myalgia, tender glands, sore throat, headaches, sleep issues, dizziness, anxiety and bowel problems. Unfortunately, the exact cause of CFS remains a mystery and the illness may last for many months or years.

CFS and Exercise:

Currently, there is no cure for CFS. However, exercise is one proven management technique that reduces symptom severity and improves functional outcomes and quality of life. Although exercise would be the last thing on someone's mind who suffers from CFS's, we know from the research that it is one of the few therapies proven to help.

CFS and Pacing:

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can assist with pacing strategies. Pacing is spreading out your activity during the day to limit "booming and busting", which is periods of activity, followed by long periods of rest and recovery. It is important to note that pacing does not mean doing less, however it provides a stable base to build from. An activity diary is a great place to start when understanding how to better pace your activity during the day.

Exercise Prescription for CFS:

Exercise recommendations for CFS are very different from the general population. Exercise needs to be tailored, individualized and is about management not cure. Graded Exercise Therapy may be implemented, where exercise is prescribed at a very low dose and progressed very gradually. This ensures an exercise threshold can be established, which is an exercise dose that can be reliably completed without "busting". Usually, there may be a period of trail and error to establish such a baseline before progressions can be made. However, this is one therapy that has been shown to reduce fatigue levels in people with CFS.

If you have been diagnosed with CFS, please call us ( 49572961) to book in with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, who can assist you with pacing strategies and a gradual return to exercise.

Posted in:Newcastle PhysiotherapyExercise Physiology NewcastlePilates Classes Newcastlepainrehabexercise for the agingmobility newcastle  

Exercising Outdoors

Posted by Elizabeth Hughes on 28 October 2019
Exercising Outdoors

As humans, we have an innate affiliation with nature and the outdoors that stems from our hunter gatherer ancestors existing in the natural environment for thousands of years. So it's really no surprise that we still get a myriad of health benefits from being outdoors today!
What's even better, is that the benefits you get from just being outside, have a much greater impact on your health when exercise is added in to the equation.

So what are these benefits?

1. Improved mental health:

Exercising out in nature has a range of positive effects on mental health. It has been proven to reduce stress, tension, anger and depression, increase endorphins (aka your 'happy hormones'), increase self esteem and increase brain function!

2. Improved motivation:

Being outdoors can improve your motivation to exercise, as it takes the focus off 'exercising' and shifts it to spending time out in pleasant surroundings, such as a walk in the park, the beach or the lake. It also provides you with distractions while you're exercising, which can make the exercise itself feel much easier to do. 

3. Working harder without realizing:

Many studies have shown that exercising outdoors allows people to work at a higher intensity without perceiving it as being harder. The constantly changing environment also helps to increase the workload compared to a flat surface indoors. This increased workload compared to indoor exercise leads to much greater health benefits such as improved heart health, blood sugar control, an overall improvement in fitness levels and reduction in the risk of developing chronic disease.

4. Improved physical health:

Being outdoors in nature gives you a range of physical health benefits that you just can't get if you stay indoors. It has been shown that being surrounded by greenery can lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, which has a big effect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Being in the sunshine also increases Vitamin D production in the body. This is especially important for bone health as we get older, reducing the risk of bone breaks and disease such as osteoporosis. 

5.  Low cost and easy to access:

The best part of outdoor exercise it's free! There's no need for gym memberships or fees to exercise. It's also extremely easy to access, as it's right outside your front door!

Now that we've hit this beautiful spring weather, why not take your exercise outside and achieve these 5 benefits gained from exercising outdoors.

Posted in:Newcastle PhysiotherapyExercise Physiology NewcastleWomen's Health Physiotherapy NewcastleSports Injuries NewcastlePilates Classes NewcastlePost Natal Pilates Newcastlemobility newcastle  

Shin Splints

Posted by Fahim Takbir on 9 October 2019
Shin Splints

What is SHIN Splints?

Shin splints is a common clinical condition which refers to pain down the front portion of your leg. It is very common if runners, triathletes, soccer players and people in the sporting community in general.

There are two types of SHIN Splints:

1. Anterior Shin Splints: Pain down the outside aspect of your leg, which affects the Tibialis Anterior muscle.

2. Posterior Shin Splints: Pain down the inside aspect of your leg, which affects the Tibialis Posterior muscle.

What can cause SHIN Splints:

1. Poor Running/Walking Form.
2. High Impact Activities- such as jumping or running in an excessive incline.
3. Flat Feet or Excessively High Arch Feet.
4. Overuse and Excessive Sporting Activities.
5. Inappropriate Footwear.
6. Sudden Increase in Activity.
7. Increased Weight Gain. 

What Treatments can be done?

1. Correcting Running Technique and Appropriate Footwear to Your Specific Foot Structure.
2. Strengthening Weak Muscles Associated with Running Technique.
3. Deep Tissue Massage.
4. Dry Needling.
5. Taping to Help Foot Biomechanics.
6. Correct Warm Up and Cool Down Techniques- including stretches, foam rolling and trigger point therapy.

What Treatments can I do at home on my own?

1. Apply an Ice Pack to The Affected Area For 20 Minutes.
2. Avoid Aggravating Activity and Substitute with A Low Impact Activity- such as swimming.
3. Rest As Much As Possible.

What are some Prevention Strategies?

1. Incorporate an Appropriate and Functional Stretching Program Prior to exercising.
2. Choose Flatter, Softer Surfaces to Complete Running Activities on- such as grass or running tracks.
3. Choose Appropriate Footwear When Running/Walking.
4. Adequately Warm Up Prior With Slow Movements to Engage your Muscles Prior to Exercise.
5. Reduce the Intensity of Your Workouts.

If you have recently been diagnosed with a Shin Splints please call us to see how we can help you return to regular activities quicker!
For further information and physiotherapy treatment for Shin Splints contact Newcastle Integrated Physiotherapy on (02) 4957 2961



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Exercise for Mental Health

Posted by Hayley Harwood on 30 September 2019
Exercise for Mental Health

Exercise for Mental Health:

We all know that we feel better about ourselves when we do a bit of exercise. But did you know that when it comes to mental health, exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications? 
Mental illness includes anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and personality disorders. Unfortunately, 20% of Australians will experience mental illness, which is double the global average. In addition, people who suffer from a mental illness have a high risk of poor physical health, which pertains to higher mortality rates in this population. Overwhelming research has shown that physical activity is an extremely effective management strategy for mental illness, however it is currently underutilized and underrated.

There are many benefits of physical activity for mental health, which include: improved sleep, improved memory and attention, reduced stress and anxiety, and prevention against future episodes of depression. These benefits ultimately improve one's quality of life, and can be gained from as little as one workout per week!  For example, the HUNT study (2018) found that 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented from just one hour of exercise per week. 

So how does exercise work?

Although the exact mechanisms aren't fully understood, we believe the benefits may be due to increased blood flow to the brain, neural growth, changing chemicals in the brain (happy hormones: serotonin, endorphins) and influencing activity patterns in the brain that promotes feelings of calm and well-being. Also, exercise acts as a great distraction from negative thoughts and emotions and works even better when exercising with others.

So, what is the best kind of exercise for mental health?

Aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling etc) and resistance training (weight lifting or body weight exercise) have been shown to be effective in treating mental conditions such as major depression. It is important that you chose a mode of exercise that you enjoy and what works for you. However, brownie points are given if you exercise outdoors and gold stars given if you exercise near water.
Starting an exercise program is often the hardest part. Therefore, some guidance and advice from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist may assist in getting motivated and putting your best foot forward.

We at Newcastle Integrated Physiotherapy can tailor an exercise program to best suit your circumstances or you can join in on one of our group exercise classes or Pilates classes here at our gym. Call today to talk to one of our staff about your needs.

Posted in:Newcastle PhysiotherapyExercise Physiology NewcastlePilates Classes Newcastlemobility newcastle  

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