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.
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.
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 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.
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Incorporate an Appropriate and Functional Stretching Program Prior to Stretching.
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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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.
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.
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.
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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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