Exercise prescription forms an integral part of most physiotherapy rehabilitation programmes. Exercise is essential to recovery from sports injuries, following surgery, after an acute trauma such as from a fall or fracture, in the management of acute and chronic low back pain, neck pain and headaches and in the treatment of long term conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Exercise helps to increase energy, improve flexibility and range of motion, increase muscular strength and endurance, restore correct muscle balance and movement thereby reducing pain, increase blood supply to the extremities, improve cardiovascular health and decrease the incidence of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Other benefits of exercise are:
- It produces a feeling of well-being by releasing the neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to feelings of euphoria and peace. These neurotransmitters also help increase brain function while performing mental tasks. Exercise is often prescribed as an adjunct to counselling or medication for patients who suffer from depression.
- Exercise can reverse the effects of ageing by slowing the deterioration of muscle, brain and nerve functions. Exercise has been proven effective in slowing the rate of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Physiotherapy prescribed exercises also slow down the progression and help manage the effects of arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Weight loss. Combining an exercise programme with proper nutrition is essential to losing weight and keeping it off.
Most physiotherapists are passionate about encouraging our patients to lead healthy and active lifestyles incorporating exercise into their daily routine. As health professionals with years of training in movement, biomechanics, kinesiology, anatomy with a detailed knowledge of musculoskeletal conditions and their appropriate management, physiotherapists are world leaders in the area of prescribing and supervising exercise programmes for our patients.
Physiotherapists can design weight loss programmes focusing on aerobic exercise, we can design programmes for those interested in bulking up based on weight training and we can design exercise programmes consisting of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises for people who want a well-balanced programme to promote their general health and fitness. For those training for specific events, our knowledge of sports and muscle adaptation means we can guide you through a specific training schedule such as preparing for a fun run or marathon.
Before prescribing exercises, physiotherapists perform a comprehensive subjective and physical examination. The result of an in-depth clinical assessment helps the physiotherapist to choose the appropriate form of exercise. We take into account any contraindications to exercise so all the exercises prescribed will be safe and effective. With each patient, there is an individual exercise programme designed to suit their condition and lifestyle.
Physiotherapists use therapeutic exercise as a treatment to help in the healing process of musculoskeletal conditions in a multitude of ways including stretching, strengthening and balance restoration. Some exercise is performed by the physiotherapist in the clinic (such as passive or resisted stretching of muscles) but most exercise is given in the form of a home exercise programme intended to improve the rate of healing and as a way to prevent re-injury. Physiotherapists demonstrate and then watch our patients perform all the prescribed exercises so the correct technique is ensured and the exercise programme is reviewed and updated at regular intervals as the patient’s physical condition improves.
If you are keen to begin exercising or you need exercise to help with recovery from an injury, come and see us for an assessment and individual program design.