Exercise

Why Exercise ?

We all know how important exercise is for our health, both physically and mentally. Why then are more than 30% of people with long term health conditions inactive each week? Why do only 50% of adults in the UK do the recommended level of exercise? What is it that stops people exercising when there is vast evidence that it will help them 

Are they worrying that exercise will cause more pain? Or is it that they don’t know where to start? The thought of going to the gym or swimming pool perhaps fills them with dread. Maybe they think they won’t manage. 

As Physiotherapists part of our job is to encourage physical activity as it can help to improve strength, mobility, function and even helps to reduce pain!  

I’m sure me telling you all the health benefits for being active won’t be news to you! SoI’m not going to! A google search will bring you more than enough information on the subject! What I would like to do, however, is get you thinking about how YOU can start to be more active and the other benefits to exercise – social and emotional reasons are just as important. 

You can use exercise as an escape from life. It can help you focus on yourself and give some much-needed time out. It can help you enjoy being part of a group. It might help you feel more competitive. Exercise can help with feeling independent, it can improve energy levels, help mental strength and resilience and improve balance. 

Sometimes people who have previously exercised at a high level get injured, are unable to exercise and never get back to exercise as they don’t get the right advice or rehabilitation. Often people feel they have lost a part of themselves but don’t know how to exercise doing something different from their previous sport. 

How do I start to exercise? 

It doesn’t matter what weight, shape or fitness level you have – there is always something you can do! At Physio-Flex we can help you understand what type of exercise or activity is best for you! 

Generally, you should always do something that you enjoy and that you will stick to! You should start with a small amount of low level exercise, at your level and pace! Start slow and build up! You don’t need to jump around or go to the gym, you could perhaps start walking, cycling, dancing in the house, Pilates, gardening or yoga. Remember not all exercise suits everyone and even lowlevel exercise may not be for you.  

We find that people are more likely to increase their activity levels than starting exercise, this can be by walking to the local shop rather than taking the car, standing up and sitting down a few times while you watch the TV, walking up and down the stairs a few times or even doing some housework with extra vigour!  

You could speak to your physiotherapist about what is best for you, that way it will be specific to your needs and lifestyle and may help you address your current pain or limitations and avoid getting injured!  Physiotherapists are great at setting exercise to YOUR level and helping you to build up slowly with the right sort of exercise for YOU. 

Getting active doesn’t need to be hard work – Remember enjoyment is the key! www.csp.org.uk/activity 

 What should I do? 

The aim for best health is to do 150 mins moderate exercise per week (this means you will need to be a bit out of breath), but it doesn’t mean that it all needs done at the same time! It can be split into small amounts – 10 minutes at a time, 30 mins per day.  

If you are completely inactive it will take time to build up to that level. Even reducing time spent sitting or lying down and breaking up long periods of not moving with some activity would be great. 

 Any increase in activity will benefit you! So just start somewhere! Over time – the more you do the better the health benefit! 

It is also recommended to do 2 sessions of strengthening per week – but this doesn’t need to be in the gym. It could be changing the way you lift your shopping bags or doing arm exercises while holding a tin of beans. Your Physiotherapist is an expert in helping you to find the right level for you. 

Whatever you are doing start low level, own pace and build up slowly, expect to get out of breath and feel that exercise effect in your muscles. Remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Over time remember you will become fitter and stronger. 

Ideas for exercise 

Dancing  

You can do this anywhere and anytime! You just put your favourite music on and just dance! If you fancy dancing with friends, you could maybe join a club or classes like ZumbaIf you would like to dance with partner there are ballroom classes now available in West Lothian. 

Remember in classes don’t worry about people watching, everyone is concentrating on their own coordination! Besides even if you do it wrong you are still having fun and moving! 

Swimming 

Exercise in water is a brilliant way of working your heart and lungs, improving strength, flexibility and balance. It is often easier to exercise in water than on land and is suitable for all ages as the water supports your joints and reduces any impact on your body. 

Remember you don’t need to swim, you could just walk in the water, or go to an aquafit class and work at your own level.  

Walking  

This is a fantastic way to get more active! It is suitable for everyone, can be done anytime, for any length of time and at any pace! Get some comfy shoes, let someone know where you are going, take a phone and go! 

Running 

This might be an exercise that would be encouraged later in your exercise journey! Warm up by walking until you feel ready to run then do an easy jog. Perhaps run a little then walk a little to start with, listen to your body and enjoy being outside. 

Cycling  

Cycling is fun, lets you feel a level of freedom and adventure! You could maybe plan a journey to a friend’s house or go for a cycle with a friend and stop at a café for a coffee! There are lots of safe cycle paths to be explored, just remember your helmet, wear comfortable clothes and enjoy! 

Pilates 

Pilates aims to strengthen core muscles, increases flexibility and balance. Pilates sessions are normally 50-60 mins and have been shown to improve balance, improve leg strength, flexibility and general fitness. Pilates is normally tailored to individual capabilities making it suitable for all. It is a very safe form of exercising even with underlying pain and can also be practised at home! 

If you have any concerns regarding the effects of exercise, how to get started or need any advice at all, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01506237770 or email bookings@physio-flex.co.uk   

We can’t guarantee full recovery for all problems as this is just not possible for chronic conditions. Our job, in that situation, is to help you to understand and manage your condition to maximise your function, recovery and pain management.
What we do care about is the way we treat you.
We care about you and the service we provide you.
If you are NOT happy with our service or approach then please let us know. We would love the opportunity to immediately rectify it. We all make mistakes but we believe in making as few as possible, and when we do, we look to make things right.

At any point if you are still unhappy with our service we will immediately refund your treatment fee.

Caroline Bennett
On Behalf of PhysioFlex (West Lothian) Ltd