Exercise and physical activity for Health Conditions

Leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on the well-being of people with certain health conditions. Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and may improve the quality of life for people in all stages. Physical activities are sometimes defined as those activities that increase your heart rate and cause you to breathe more deeply. This includes everyday activities such as walking, gardening or dancing, as well as sports and exercises with the specific aim of improving fitness

Benefits of exercise and physical activity. These include:

Improving the health of the heart and blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Reducing the risk of some types of cancer,(particularly breast and colon cancer), stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Improving physical fitness – maintaining stronger muscles and flexible joints can help people maintain independence for longer.

Improving the ability to dress, clean, cook and perform other daily tasks, (as these may be performed more effectively if someone is fitter or more supple.

Helping to keep bones strong and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that affects the bones, making them weak and more likely to break.

Improving cognition – recent studies have shown that exercise may improve memory and slow down mental decline.

Improving sleep

Providing opportunities for social interaction and reducing the feeling of isolation

Reducing the risk of falls by improving strength and balance

Improving confidence

Increasing self esteem

Improving mood

Getting started

It is important to consider the age, abilities and type of health condition someone has, as well as their needs and preferences, when they undertake physical activity. Exercise adaptation will have to be considered as well.

People who have not taken part in any regular physical activity for some time, or those with certain health issues, should consider seeking medical advice. Talk to a GP, physiotherapist or relevant health professional before starting any new exercise or physical activity.

Any health conditions might not stop someone from participating in exercise. In fact, many health conditions may be improved by exercise, but medical advice is recommended.

It is important to choose activities that are suitable for the person and that they find enjoyable. Exercise can be done individually, with one to one supervision or in a small group. Some people may like to try a few different activities to see what suits them best.

There are many suitable opportunities that may be beneficial to people. We often provide a range of organised exercise and physical activity sessions, such as ball games or seated exercises. Local community or sports centres may be able to help also with swimming or music and dance sessions. Some of these activities can be modified and carried out at home. Walking, gardening and housework are also good forms of everyday physical activity.

What is the right amount of exercise?

There is no definitive answer to this question. The World Health Organisation currently recommends 150 minutes of moderately strenuous physical activity per week, so basically between 20-30 minutes a day. This can be broken down to shorter bursts of 10-15 minute blocks, which may in fact be easier at first. I call this accumulated activity

It is important to exercise only as much as your current physical condition allows. Over-exercising may be bad for your health.

If someone experiences pain or feels unwell while taking part, or after increasing their activity levels, they should stop exercising and seek medical advice.

Exercise and Wellbeing

Taking regular physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help to maintain wellbeing. Physical activity creates valuable opportunities to socialise with others, and can help improve and maintain a persons independence. This is beneficial to both people with health conditions and their partners or careers. Engaging in physical activities can also improve self-esteem and mood, which in turn encourages more social engagement that may also contribute to wellbeing.

Ask your health professional, or if you want to get in touch with regards physical activity we can devise a programme for you or even put you in touch with any relevant groups.

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