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?
These sorts of stereotypes for aging persist; senses diminishing, physical tasks getting harder. If I had a dollar for every time someone explained their pain to me as ‘old age’ I could probably buy the bank. Feeling old is something many talk about, but you might be surprised to find older age doesn’t necessarily have to hurt and it’s something you yourself can do something about.
The sciatic nerve is responsible for the the sensation and the muscles activation of the lower limb. Therefore if the nerve becomes impaired common symptoms include numbness or tingling, heat radiating down leg feet or toe’s as well as musculature weakness in the lower body. Due to the complexity of the sciatic nerve means that symptoms of sciatica are often vary from; Pain in one side of the buttocks or lower back, pain that is relieved when lying down or walking but is made worse by standing and sitting, Pins and needle like pain down one or both legs, shooting pain which makes it difficult to stand up and walk, Pain in the toes. It really depends on where the nerve is impaired and the severity of the impingement as to which symptoms are prevalent.
What’s the deal with Pilates?
So, you’re considering giving Pilates a go. You’ve heard it’s great for your core (which must be good, right?) and all the trendy types are doing it. So should you rock up to the class that’s at your local gym, do you go to a health clinic or do you find the purists at the specialty Pilates studio? In truth, each option might lead to vastly different exercises so the most important variable in making this decision is you.
Cancer treatment has come a long way ion a very short period of time, but to this point the primary focus has been on the treatment of cancer and little focus has been paid to survivorship – what happens when people survive cancer. Evidence gathered over the last decade or two has pointed to one profound means to ensure survivors of cancer live better and longer and you might be surprised what it is – exercise.