We all know that exercise is good for us, people who are physically active have fewer health problems, are thinner, andhave improved mood compared with sedentary individuals. Exercise provides an array of health benefits such as, reduced blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease or stroke; stronger bones and an improved immune system. Being physically active also appears to reduce the risk of dementia in older life and there’s even evidence now that some cancers such as prostate and breast are reduced in physically active people compared with the sedentary population.

 

The improvements in health as a result of exercise occur for a variety of reasons, a more robust immune system means we are less susceptible to infection; with stronger muscles and bone we are less likely to fall or if we do, to sustain a fracture; lowered blood pressure puts less strain on the heart, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and generally being fitter means we are more like to socialise with others, which is also good for our health.

 

However, for some people being physically active may can very difficult, the frail elderly, those with chronic heart or lung problems and those recovering from surgery. Increasingly, however, there is a body of scientific research arising from well conducted studies that shows benefits in quality of life and exercise tolerance for people with anynumber of long term conditions.

Indeed, one of the most effective treatments for people with emphysema is now known to be pulmonary rehabilitation- a programme of exercise and education that focuses on increasing muscle strength, fitness and functional exercise tolerance. For people with emphysema exercise can indeed breathe new life into their lungs. People with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and thin bones all benefit from exercise and in some case the improvements can be remarkable. Studies investigating the benefits of exercise for survivors of breast and lung cancer are now showing positive effects particularly with respect to the very debilitating symptom of fatigue.

Of course it can be very frightening and just occasionally inappropriate, to exercise if you have a long term condition. Starting exercise again after a long period of illness of surgery is very daunting, it’s also difficult to know how to exercise and that’s where the expert advice from a physiotherapist or your doctor can help. These days there are more and more opportunities for people with long term illnesses to undertake physical activity – especially here in Marbella with our wonderful weather and open air exercise facilities. So why not get out there and give it a go – you may surprise yourself!

 

 

Dr Rachel Garrod

PhD MSc MCSP

Consultant Physiotherapist

Categories: Uncategorised
Post by: Atlantic Clinic on 02 Sep 2019