BODY BALANCE QUARTERLY (The BBQ)
GOLF! GARDENING! EVENING WALKS!
HOW CAN YOU KEEP ENJOYING THESE ACTIVITIES LONGTERM? THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS ISSUE
Health and Wellness are at the forefront of most of our lives. Nobody wants to have aches and pains, or lack the energy and stamina that get in the way of us doing what we want to do.
I think we all can agree that staying active leads to better health; but we thought we would take this opportunity to update you on some of the most recent research about the benefits of exercise that you might not even know about.
What does the research say about: Exercise and…..
Research shows that exercise helps to build bone density and prevent fractures. The other benefits of exercising with this diagnosis is that it improves strength and flexibility to help with balance to prevent falls and subsequent bone fractures. You must remember that weight bearing exercises are recommended (this means that the activity must include some form of ground reaction force) instead of something like swimming, where there is no contact from the feet and the ground. It is important to avoid high impact activities or sports that involve quick accelerations or ballistic movements such as running, jumping, golf and tennis as these activities predispose you to a greater risk of having a fracture.
With Parkinsons being a progressive disease, the goal of exercise in this population is to maintain independence and overall physical performance. Recent research supports that people with Parkinsons disease who exercise consistently have improved performance and ability to fulfill their normal activities of daily living. It is believed that this is due to improved signalling efficiency of the affected brain areas and other neuroprotective effects that exercise has for people with Parkinsons. Structured exercise programs where individuals are challenged beyond their own pace (to work at a more intense level) have been shown to be more effective than self-paced or lower intensity exercise efforts. Spin classes have recently been directed toward the younger Parkinson population as offering an appropriate challenge for these individuals. Following vigorous intensity cycling programs improvements in balance, gait and resting tremor have been seen among individuals in this population.
Physical activity has beneficial effects across all phases of cancer. Exercise plays a significant role in risk reduction and prevention of developing cancer in the first place. This is especially true for breast cancer, and colon cancer as exercise reduces your risk of developing these types of cancer by 20-40%. Recent research also shows that physical activity may have a similar effect in up to 10 other types of cancer including lung cancer, and prostate cancer! Exercising at a moderate intensity (able to carry a conversation while exercising) for 30 minutes each day is enough to achieve the benefits of exercise which will reduce your risk of developing cancer. Exercising for longer durations each day is shown to have even greater cancer risk reduction effects. While the specific percentage of risk reduction varies amongst sources, one thing is clear: By exercising regularly you can significantly reduce your risk of developing this life altering condition!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you are likely aware of the impact it has on an individual’s overall energy levels. This can in part be related to the disease process itself, however, fatigue is also a side effect of common treatment methods such as chemotherapy. Exercise has recently been discovered as an effective fatigue reduction strategy in the cancer population. Exercise releases hormones which help to stimulate the appetite, improve mood, and improve sleep patterns. These all ultimately work together to improve an individuals energy stores. While in the past doctors directed patients towards rest and medication to battle fatigue, today research shows that exercising is more effective than any of these past strategies! How much exercise is required? The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150 minutes of moderate (see above paragraph) to vigorous physical activity each week, which is an adequate amount of activity to reduce fatigue levels in the cancer population. Cancer survivors have had good success with activities such as walking, cycling and yoga in helping to manage post chemotherapy fatigue. If you would like to read a bit more about this topic, take a look at these two articles below from the NBC News!
Exercise is one of the most effective treatment methods among people with diabetes. One of the more obvious benefits in this population is the role exercise plays in promoting weight loss. With obesity being a significant risk factor among those diagnosed with diabetes, controlling body weight is a relatively simple and important step for treating this condition. Another benefit that exercise has for individuals with diabetes is that it helps to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing its ability to be transported into the muscle cells and used. These benefits persist for hours after exercising! This prevents the spikes and valleys in one’s blood sugar levels and associated symptoms that arise from these large fluctuations.
The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity each week, with no more than two consecutive days without exercise. Examples of aerobic exercise that you may enjoy include brisk walking, cycling or swimming. At least two sessions of resistance exercise should be performed each week. If you are exercising with diabetes, here are some other tips that you should consider: Exercise at a consistent time each day. Pay attention to warning signs for low blood sugar such as dizziness, clumsiness, fatigue, and excessive hunger and sweating. Keep sugar rich snacks (such as granola bars and juices) on hand in case your sugar drops during or after exercise. If you require self insulin injections you should do this at least one hour before exercising.
Exercise plays a role in both stroke prevention and rehabilitation. Exercise improves blood circulation throughout the body preventing plaque buildup within the vessels. This reduces the risk of this build-up being dislodged to the brain, causing a stroke. Generally, any type of exercise is beneficial in reducing an individual’s risk of having a stroke, whether it be playing your favourite sport, enjoying a yoga class, or going for a long bike ride.
Following a stroke, because of the many different areas that may be impacted, it is often difficult for people to do a rehabilitation program independently and may require assistance. Exercise and rehabilitation varies based on the location of the stroke. Exercises will likely involve core strengthening, sitting and standing balance and mobility training but will highly vary based on the body structures that were impacted. Lifestyle changes to accommodate safety considerations are very important as you may lack the balance or strength to do things safely that you did in the past. Many people have heard that the greatest recovery occurs within the first few months following a stroke. However, it is very important to know that individuals can continue to see life-long changes and improved function with continued exercise. Be persistent and continue to challenge yourself appropriately as you are able to do knew things to ensure you are getting all of the benefits that exercise can offer you!
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Staying active is an important part of healthy living with MS. People with MS often battle from chronic fatigue. Exercising helps to increase your “battery life” to allow you to do more throughout your day and also helps you to “re-charge” your daily energy stores. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends two 30 minute bouts of cardiovascular activity each week for people with MS. Remember that you should be exercising at an intensity so that you can talk during exercise, while not exceeding this as you should not feel over heated or exhausted following exercise. These guidelines also recommend that low resistance strengthening should be done for all major muscle groups twice weekly. Exercise should focus on balance, core strengthening, and upper and lower body strengthening. Exercise should be performed in the morning, or times of the day when you have higher energy stores. Fatigue is generally worsened by heat among the MS population, so it is very important for you to avoid extreme temperatures and warm environments such as hot tubs, saunas, or sitting in the direct sunlight on hot summer days.
Other MS related complications have also been shown to improve with exercise including bowel and bladder function, levels of anxiety and depression, and improved function and mobility with daily tasks. Researchers have recently discovered a new “neurological factor” that is released by exercise. Although research has not confirmed this to date, it is believed that the presence of this in the body may have disease modifying affects among individuals with MS. To date this neurological factor has shown to improve nerve cell growth, increase the connections among nerves and may result in delayed or even decreased symptoms among this population. This is yet another reason why exercise is so important!
All of these above recommendations are general precautions for the above specific conditions. It is always important to make sure you check with your Doctor or Health Care Practitioner about your individual safety before starting any exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or a new medical diagnosis.
The take home message is that exercise and physical activity have a positive influence on many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, some of us aren’t getting on board the activity train because of time, motivation, pain, etc.
If you are nervous about starting a program because of your pre-existing physical or health issues or just don’t know where to start, Body Balance Health has created some “starter programs” that may be right for you!
Programs include: Exercise for Beginners, Exercise and Osteoporosis (a 4 week program teaching you the basics about how to live with osteoporosis – the do’s and don’ts in day to day life, proper exercises to promote health and prevent injury, etc.), Corporate wellness programs, Weekend warrior, and more!!
For more information, visit our website or call our office at 519-541-9899 Remember: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH! BE ACTIVE! STAY HEALTHY!