Although medications may offer a quick and easy remedy for some health issues and illnesses, long term management of chronic conditions through exercise can also be highly effective. Boosting the body’s metabolism, immune system and the brain’s production of serotonin as well as improving physical and emotional wellbeing, exercise is free, fun and a great way to socialise.
Exercise is medically proven to lower the risk of a range of illnesses including type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, dementia and depression. Whether you prefer a brisk walk with your beloved pooch or a Zumba class at the local leisure club, exercising for just one hour a day could help you live longer and better.
Typically occurring in people over 40, osteo-arthritis affects the bodies joints and cartilages. Triggering painful inflammation and limiting one’s range of movement and strength, low impact exercise can reduce the progression of osteo-arthritis.
Swimming and Pilates are ideal activities for reducing the localised heat swelling and stiffness in joints associated with osteoporosis-arthritis, thereby encouraging restorative circulation of the blood supply to muscles, improving suppleness and flexibility.
Protecting the body from fractures and increasing bone density, light weight lifting exercise is a brilliant way to treat Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. Increasing coordination and balance, thereby reducing the risk of falls which can sometimes result in life changing injuries for people with brittle bones, light weight lifting exercise is an excellent way to keep fit.
Some studies also suggest that damaged, or splintered bone can regrow and repair over time with such exercise. Statistics demonstrate that 50% of muscle mass has been lost by the age of 70 leading to loss of strength and stamina, but that by light weight training a reasonable amount of muscle mass can be retained. Ease your way into a light weight exercise routine, possibly even using a personal trainer and improve your muscle-skeletal strength!
Depression and anxiety
Reducing stress, increasing concentration and stimulating the release of our feel good hormones, exercise can help us sleep better and wake up with a more positive frame of mind. Improving presence of mind and productive thinking, feelings of low self worth can sometimes be addressed effectively through group exercise.
From dancing to running, where people come together to take part in group activities, a bond is formed when people focus on achieving goals together. Partnering for samba or attempting a Couch to 5k, banishing negative thinking and self doubt and replacing it with the positive influence of endurance and rhythm, better mental health may be achieved.
High blood pressure
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, exposes an individual to an increased risk of heart disease, a stroke or kidney damage amongst various other health conditions. Aerobic exercise is known to have a beneficial effect on achieving lower blood pressure. Alternating short bursts of high intensity activity with intermittent recovery rest periods, strengthens and widens the arterial walls of the heart and normalises blood pressure.
Tennis and spin classes are perfect exercises for reducing hypertension. Be sure to take pulse readings and monitor your rate of recovery from a higher pulse rate after intensive exercise to the lower pulse rate achieved during your resting phase.
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a reduction in dopamine in the brain due to the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain which produce it. Coordination of movement, limb strength and tremors are all features of Parkinson’s Disease. Exercise is known to be as effective as medication in treating the disease.
Tai Chi and Yoga both assist motor control, pose minimal risk of falls and calm anxiety, all of which are typically challenging features of Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s Disease specialists and physiotherapists recommend a daily, balanced, focussed exercise programme to help control the rigidity and stiffness Parkinson can cause.