Being Physically Active is Important

Being active has enormous health and well-being benefits. Physical activity is important in the management of long-term diseases, but it is even more important in the prevention of many other common diseases. 

 

It is so important to get regular exercise if you have Lupus or Rheumatoid Disease. Relatively low levels of increased activity each day can make a huge difference. All the evidence suggests small amounts of regular exercise (five times a week for 30 minutes each time for adults) can bring dramatic benefits. Moderate exercise is essential.  Use it or loose it!  You will feel better, move better, and have less fatigue and depression.  With careful assessment by an exercise physiologists (see video) they can set up an exercise regime that is customized to your needs and your pain points.  Physiologists are not the same as a physiotherapist.

What a Physiologist Does

Exercise and Pain Management

Vacuuming a house or doing gardening is not good enough.  It is important to bring the heart rate up a little, to increase your breathing rate and to move.  Regular exercise can prevent dementia, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease and other common serious conditions – reducing the risk of each by at least 30%. This is better than many drugs. 

Exercise and Depression

There is plenty of evidence about the impact of exercise in the treatment of depression, most showing positive outcomes.  Being out and about walking, riding a bike, walking the dog or playing a social sport will help control depression.  Simple activity has been found to be highly effective for people with mental health issues, positive results for older people with depression and a 90% improvement in self-esteem and well-being with any physical activity outdoors.  There is a 20% to 33% lower risk of developing depression, for adults participating in daily physical activity. 

Fixing Pain

Chronic Pain and Fatigue

Exercise leads to improvement in pain conditions by 25 -52%.  Aerobic exercise improves physical function and well-being in fibromyalgia.  It can also reduce the symptom of fatigue seen in different conditions.  

Coordination and Dementia

If you don’t like exercise enroll in a community dance school.  Dancing has the additional impact of reducing the potential for developing dementia.  Dancing is a fun and sociable way to obtain exercise each day. It is an aerobic exercise if done for more than 10 minutes, can strengthen the heart and encourage weight loss. More importantly it can improve muscle strength and balance and reduce mental and physical stress. 

Bones

Analysing several studies quantified the reduction in risk of developing osteoarthritis by undertaking moderate exercise at between 22-83%.  There is also a strong effect on reducing the development of osteoporosis (or weak bones).  Lifting small weights in a gym under supervision can strengthen bones.

Conclusion

In 2008 twenty seven per cent of UK adults did not achieve 30 minutes of exercise in a typical week, putting them at a dangerous level of inactivity.  Women in particular, report less time doing physical activity than men at all age groups by 10-60%.  Up to 70% of osteoarthritis is preventable by reducing overweight and obesity and preventing joint injuries, while smoking is a major risk factor for developing rheumatoid disease.


In addition to reducing the risk of developing arthritis, adopting a healthy lifestyle is important in managing all three conditions and reducing the risk of associated co- morbidities, especially cardiovascular disease. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, participating in physical activity and exercise, avoiding or quitting smoking, and avoiding overuse of alcohol.

There is overwhelming evidence that physical activity improves the health of people with chronic conditions.  It does this at a very achievable amount of 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times per week. Only 56% of adults achieve this ‘minimum’ weekly target and many people are dangerously inactive. Physical inactivity is responsible for a large proportion of the chronic physical and mental ill-health we see today.   Get out and exercise.

Hand Exercises

Physiotherapy and Exercise

References:

Exercise: The miracle cure and the role of the doctor in promoting it ; Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, UK, 2015

 - Kujala UM (2009) Evidence on the effects of exercise therapy in the treatment of chronic disease. Br J Sports Med 43:550-555. Doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.059808, http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/43/8/550.full.pdf+html 
AND Royal College of Physicians (2012) Exercise for life: physical activity in health and disease. London: RCP http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/ exercise-for-life-final.pdf 


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