You might be surprised to find that a condition affecting nearly 1 in 5 women is actually relatively unknown. Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic condition almost 50% more prevalent than breast cancer and yet it’s estimated nearly 70% of sufferers haven't received a formal diagnosis.
What is Diabetes?
Our bodies are pretty remarkable. Among the many vital and intriguing processes that go on without our knowledge is the way that our processes of energy production, storage and distribution. Throughout the day, our liver stores and releases sugar in the form of glycogen according to need, increasing the available sugar or glucose in our blood. When we consume food, our body breaks down carbohydrate into sugar which is then absorbed into our blood and dependent upon our need, will be either stored or put to use. This is where a vital hormone called insulin comes into play. Insulin is how our body tells its tissues (for example, the muscles, liver and brain) to transport glucose out of the blood stream.
In some cases, a combination of genetics, relatively low physical activity behaviours and a diet high in carbohydrate-rich foods means blood sugar levels will remain elevated. It is almost as though insulin is a ‘bus’ that helps glucose get to where it needs to go, but that the ‘bus’ doesn’t have enough seats to do it’s job effectively. Another way of thinking about it is like when the body tells our muscles and other tissues to take glucose out of the blood, the message isn’t heard properly. As a result, the body releases more insulin. When you speak to somebody and they can’t hear you, naturally you speak louder, right? That’s exactly what the body does too, when it speaks (releases insulin) and our muscles don’t hear it properly (insulin resistance) our body speaks louder, releasing even more insulin. Over time the body releases more and more insulin and our tissue become more and more insulin resistant meaning even though it’s trying our body can’t remove enough glucose from our blood and our blood sugar levels stay high. This also seems to result in the loss of special cells that produce insulin and also leads insulin to be less effective.
This is a condition known as Diabetes Mellitus Type II.
So How Can Exercise Help Me?
All forms of exercise can help the body by improving the regulation of its metabolic processes, regulating and lowering blood glucose levels. There are a number of fascinating different mechanisms that occur that lead to this change. In the case of resistance exercise - exercise that exerts its stress explicit on our muscles - a number of cellular processes occur that means insulin is not the only mechanism for glucose transport. This effect occurs short term, meaning exercise can used just like a medication to lower blood glucose. Over a longer term, the cumulative effect can be so profound as to consign type II diabetes to a state of remission. When compared with dietary interventions or medication alone, research has shown that only interventions that include exercise contribute to meaningful changes in fat mass.
What Exercises Can I Do?
If you’re not doing any significant amount of exercise, starting with any increase would be a good move. Specifically for type II Diabetes, resistance exercise can be completed effectively and without a considerable time commitment. Ideally movements should be repeatable in numbers up to around 10 repetitions before inducing the kind of fatigue that would make you want to rest. Completing exercise prior to meals can provide targeted increases in insulin sensitivity that may provide the most meaningful effect for someone living with Type II Diabetes. Movements should also be the sorts of actions that you want to get stronger at - whether it be getting out of a low chair, pushing a shopping trolley or climbing stairs. Aerobic exercise - the kind that makes you ‘huff and puff’ - is advisable also, and is as simple as starting with what you can do and making small increases over time.
Could Anything Go Wrong?
It’s important to note there are contraindications to exercise with Type II Diabetes. If we were to measure our Blood Glucose levels and record a number lower than 4 or greater than 19, it would be advised not to exercise at that time. If you have any other complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy or neuropathy, or are just unsure ab out where to start, it would be best to speak to your GP or Accredited Exercise Physiologist before beginning exercise.
Khy Whitford - Student
“By delivering graded low impact exercise such as light weights, hydrotherapy or water-based exercises as well as yoga, Pilates and walking we can assist in improving blood flow and drainage in built up adipose tissue. A graded exercise program in conjunction with compression bandages or garments and massage which both work together to encourage the flow of fluid though the body. Exercise physiologists are not only trained in the delivering a structured program for both these conditions but can also assist with pain management and emotional support ‘
Those of us with healthy hearts and lungs we struggle to understand the difficulties of those living with a chronic cardiopulmonary concerns. The condition known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or emphysema, can be a debilitating illness that makes breathing incredibly difficult and the thought of physical tasks a cause for anxiety.
when we think about toughness you might be surprised to learn just how tough your body actually is. Did you know that it actually takes pressure of more than 250kg per square centimetre to deform connective tissue like the plantar fascia or the iliotibial band by just 1%. To lengthen connective tissue like fascia its been found that it takes a force greater than 4515 Newtons or 460kg to create just 1% change. This means that your body is actually really tough! But why then do we hurt?
More than a third of all women will experience back pain during their pregnancy. Whilst many a mother might attest to this experience as being normal, few things are able to provide comfort for women is experiencing pain. Of greater concern is that 20% of these women continue to have back pain well after giving birth
I hear it all the time. It’s not easy being in one of the smaller health professionals, particularly when you get confused with a bunch of stuff you’re not. And I don’t blame people for the confusion. The health marketplace is crowded and us exercise physiologists are regularly confused with kinesiologists, physiotherapists and even psychologists. So what do we actually do? Glad you asked.
The great advances we’ve made in treating mental health can’t be understated. From simply being able to talk about depression and mental illness to having increased access to mental health services like psychology and counselling, mental health is being treated better than ever. However, there’s one area of treating depression that we must do better with. Using an exercise-based component to treating depression has substantial proven outcomes and helps to keep the body in mind when we’re treating mental health. Better still, exercise-based treatment for depression has been proven to prevent relapse. Yet the majority of those with a mental illness will not be personally prescribed exercise, nor referred to the key health professional for physical approaches to mental illness – the exercise physiologist.
Experiencing a fall or a loss of balance can be scary, especially when it’s unexpected. It can make us feel afraid and can restrict us from doing certain activities in our daily life. But a life with restrictions on mobility impact independence, self-confidence and how we feel about ourselves. The good news is that balance is not a fixed and unchangeable feature of our physical self. If you have a sense that you’ve lost some of or all of your ability for balance, this is always something we can take steps to improve. The trouble is that most people don’t. If we want to living life without restrictions, prevent falls in the future and feel safe on your feet, rehabilitating your balance is the best thing you could do. So how do we do it?
The knee is one of the most common joints for people to experience pain in. It’s also one of the most common joints where someone will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Whilst it’s a description that isn’t particularly accurate or helpful, the ‘bone on bone’ conversation is a common one that medical professionals have with their patients.
I want to get back to how I felt when I was younger, but I just don’t have the time! Help?
Doing something about your current physical condition can be tricky, there’s no argument there. A heavy work schedule, loads of commitments - it can be hard to find time to exercise and everything that’s required. But not ‘having time’, though a common theme in reasons not to exercise, is an easier statement to make than to understand.
Usually the go-to’s for treating neck pain rely on the person in pain to place themselves in the care of a ‘fixer’. Either a doctor is expected to provide a pill to make it go away, a guru with a knack for pulling and cracking is sought to pull everything back into place, or a massage therapist with mystical hands is summoned to use their gift to eradicate muscular tension. Whilst many of these strategies can provide relief, this relief can indeed be short.
Our body innately has a drive to protect us, it’s what’s behind most of our feelings and pain. When we experience anxiety or fear we try to move away or modify our involvement in a circumstance so that the feelings are resolved. When we have pain we try and protect ourselves, and when we have fatigue we try and avoid activity that might exacerbate our low energy levels. Often times though, whilst these initial responses are very healthy, plotting the path of a steady return to normal activity is delayed in accordance with these ongoing feelings and it can be hard to find your way back to normal.
Up until recently, many people diagnosed with cancer were told to take it easy and rest up to best recover, but recent research has shown that this may actually do more harm than good. Exercise has been shown to help reduce side effects associated with cancer treatments, improve the effectiveness of the treatment and improve overall quality of life!
Exercise can help increase what is referred to as our, “Cognitive Reserve.” The Cognitive Reserve Hypothesis theorises that if brain tissue has sustained a functional loss or is damaged in one region, that the original level of functioning may be able to be maintained by other regions of the brain working harder to counteract the negative effects of the altered neurons. Cognitive Reserve is essentially your brain’s way of finding an alternate route to help you reach your destination or, “accomplish tasks,” when road-blocks have been established.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition which is characterised by a break down of cartilage around the joints, this can cause pain and loss of motion in affected joints.
While exercise will not cure Osteoarthritis some specifically targeted exercises can help help with the management of pain and maintain flexibility.
Exercise is considered the best non-drug therapy for the management of Osteoarthritis for maintaining flexibility and reducing pain.
Particularly when it comes to back pain, unscrupulous sales people are filling our attention and our shopping centres hocking what they call the latest advancements in pain relief. But time and time again studies on back pain are proving that effective pain relief is more often about getting good, science-backed advice early and avoiding the fads. So if you want to know how to avoid back-pain ‘snake oil’ try these 3 rules:
The more we learn about osteoarthritis the more we find that damage to our joints, the kind that results in osteoarthritis, is caused by inflammation and not from impact. It’s been identified that fatty adipose tissue, the kind that gives you a gut, is not in fact just an inert storage of excess energy but in fact has the capacity to act like an organ all of it’s own and helps perpetuate inflammatory processes. So that means you can be overweight and inactive, leading a sedentary life - even in order to protect yourself against physical stress - and still have a significant risk of osteoarthritis, life can be cruel right?