As we get older, our bodies, including our muscles, bones and joints go through many changes. These changes can leave you with pain, reduce your mobility and functionality and stop you doing the things you love! Getting older also increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, stroke, arthritis and osteoporosis, and greatly increases the risk of sustaining a serious fall. And its not just our physical health that can be affected by ageing. Reduced physical functioning has also been linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety and social isolation.
Luckily, there's a way to counteract these effects and improve the way we age. Through exercise!
Many studies have shown that keeping active as we age has a massive influence on how we age! It can not only reduce the risk of developing these chronic conditions, but it can also help to manage chronic pain, increase your energy levels, improve your confidence and self-esteem and maintain your independence. By doing all of these things, it also has an extremely positive effect on your mental health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and keeping you involved in community and social events.
The research in this area is very clear. In order to achieve all the benefits of exercise as we age, we need to be doing a combination of different types of exercise regularly. These include cardiovascular exercise, resistance (or strength) training and balance, and can be done individually, with a friend or in a group class.
Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to maintain heart and lung health. By regularly getting your heart rate and breathing rate up (huffing and puffing), we strengthen the heart and the muscles around the lungs to keep them both working effectively! Having good cardiovascular fitness helps you do things in your daily life like walking upstairs, doing the shopping and many other activities you take for granted when you can no longer do them. It's also a great way to improve your mood! It is recommended to do for approximately 30 minutes of 'huffing and puffing' exercise (walking, cycling, swimming), 5 days a week to get the maximum benefit. But it's also important to work up to this if you haven't exercised for a while!
Resistance, or strength training, is also incredibly important as we age. This involves using resistance such as weights, resistance bands, dumbbells etc. As we age, our muscles get weaker if we don't do anything about it. The good news is that even if you've never done any resistance training in your life, you can still get stronger! By improving your strength as you age, you maintain your functional capacity, making life's daily tasks easier, reduce your risk of falls as your muscles can better support your body, and improve your bone health, reducing the risk of sustaining a fracture. Resistance exercise should be done approximately 2-3 times a week, with days off in between to recover.
Balance training goes hand in hand with strength training. While having strength allows your muscles to support you, balance helps by improving your body's ability to respond to unexpected changes in its position, such as tripping on uneven surfaces. Essentially, it makes you feel less unstable and as a result, improves your confidence to get around in all different environments!
If you're not sure where to start, come in and see an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist to discuss an exercise program that will work best for you to help you age healthily! We at Newcastle Integrated Physiotherapy also offer Pilates and Group Exercise classes to suit all ages and fitness levels. Call us today on 49572961 to discuss a program to best suit you
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Exercising in this extreme heat puts extra stress on the body.An increase in temperature and humidity as well as the exercise itself, increases your core body temperature. In high humidity the sweat you are producing doesn't really evaporate from the skin. Your body also sends more blood around to the skin to help it cool down, but this leaves less blood for your muscles, which then increases your heart rate!
Our bodies natural cooling systems can fail when exercising in extreme heat and cause a heat related illnbess like heat exhaustion, fatigue, muscle cramping, heat stroke and even heat collapse.
Our bodies are made up of 50-60% water, it is vital during exercise to maintain this. We can lose 2-3% during a typical exercise routine, but more on an extremely hot day. Drink plenty of water during and after exercise and include foods rich in water in your daily diet like fruits and vegetables.
Avoid sports drinks as they are high in calories and sugars and not worth it!
If exercising in the middle part of the day is your only option then consider what type of exercise you do. Maybe go for a swim at an indoor centre ot take an aqua aerobic or cardio class inside an airconditioned place. If exercising outdoors choice early mornings or late evenings. Even in the evenings the humidity can still be high.
Wear light coloured and light breathable fabric clothing. Dark colours absorb the heat.
Do less intensity exercise, less duration and avoid over doing it. Walk briskly instead of running or walk for awhile until you adjust to the temperature before you start running. Or better still take it indoors
Listen to your body and stop when it gets too much. Watch out for signs of
- dizziness and/or headaches
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- tachycardio ( fast heartbeat)
- light headedness
- excessive sweating
- visual problems
If any of the above occurs you should stop exercising immediately, lower your body temperature by going indoors and resting and applying an icepack or wet towel to the back of the neck. Rehydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water. If any f the symptoms do not subside then seek medical help.
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Many of us have experienced back pain ourselves or know someone who has. It's no surprise that low back pain is one of the most prevalent conditions among Australian adults and, if managed poorly, creates a significant social and economic burden.
While the effectiveness of treatments such as medication, massage and electrotherapy have been established in the past; more recent advancements in scientific research have resulted in evidence supporting a more active approach for patients with chronic conditions.
A recent study systematically reviewed all of the available data in relation to the effectiveness of Pilates exercise in people with chronic low back pain, producing statistically significant findings in support of Pilates exercise.
Pilates exercise, named after its founder Joseph Pilates in the 1920's, focuses on activating the deep core muscles to provide stability for the spine during movement. If this sounds all too familiar to you, come along and join one of our small groups. You'll be glad you did!
Why? If you suffer from low back pain, including a Pilates exercise program, which places an emphasis on core stability, flexibility, strength and quality of movement will help speed up your recovery so you're feeling better and can return to the activities you enjoy, quicker!
So, yes, Pilates can be your partner in managing pain.
Contact Newcastle Integrated Physiotherapy staff for more information about Pilates Classes in Newcastle
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Sciatica pain is pain radiating along the sciatic nerve leading down one or both legs, from the lower back (lumbar spine). It can vary in intensity from a mild ache to a sharp jolt or a burning sensation similar to an electric shock. Sciatica pain can be so severe that simple movements such as walking, bending, standing, or even just sitting can be extremely uncomfortable. Sciatica is a common problem for manual workers or those with a sedentary job and sit at a desk for long periods of time. It is frequently seen in pregnancy. The pain comes from the pressure and inflammation on the nerve.
There are multiple causes of sciatica pain:
Some symptoms include:
Most cases the symptoms of sciatica will resolve by themselves within 6-12 weeks, very rarely is permanent nerve or tissue damage a result. There are many forms of treatment including pain relief, ice packs, heat packs, warm baths, traction, posture correction, stretching,epidural injections and surgery as a last resort.
Physiotherapy plays a vital role in treating sciatica pain.The Physiotherapists' main objectives are to reduce your pain, restore your movement, strengthen weakened muscles and reduce tension.
The physiotherpist will first Diagnose the cause of your pain and then plan for your treatment. Accurate diagnosis is paramount to ensure you recover as quickly as possible. It's very important that the treatment is specific to your condition.
A treatment plan will involve a combination of techniques and can include some or all of the following:
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition, characterised by elevated fasting blood glucose levels due to the body's reduced ability to produce enough, or respond to, the hormone insulin. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause regular hypoglycaemic attacks, potentially leading to nerve damage, blindness and amputation.
Type 2 diabetes is treated with oral medication and sometimes insulin injection therapy. However, lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet play a huge role in everyday management.
How can physical activity help?
Regular physical activity has been scientifically shown to improve the way the body responds to insulin, which, in turn, helps regulate blood glucose levels. It also increases glucose uptake by the muscles and can reduce the amount of insulin required to manage glucose levels in the blood.
Physical activity can also assist in the management of other common conditions associated with type 2 diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that you participate in regular cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise should be performed for 30 minutes (which can be broken into 10 minute blocks), at a moderate intensity, on at least 5 days/week. E.g. walking, bike riding or swimming.
Strength training should incorporate the major muscle groups and be performed on 2-3 days per week, with a day off in between training days.
Stretching should be performed every day, but especially after performing any physical activity, to ensure muscle and joint health.
It is important to firstly get the all clear from your GP to commence a physical activity program. Then, talk to an Exercise Physiologist who will design a program with you specific to your diabetes.
Your Exercise Physiologist will discuss with you any other condition or injuries you may be experiencing, and educate you on how to be safe during your physical activity program. For example, checking your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise to ensure you are not at risk of hyper/hypoglycaemia, ensuring you have appropriate footwear to reduce risk of ulcers and neuropathies, and that you are carrying carbohydrates with you.
Your Exercise Physiologist will also advise on the appropriate times of day to be active and ensure that your program starts at a manageable level, so that's it is enjoyable and becomes a sustainable part of your every-day life. Your Exercise Physiologist will work with you, setting you up to achieve your longer-term goals.
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