Exercise in Physiotherapy is the most popular and effective method to correct body impairments, enhance muscular and skeletal functionality, reduce health risks, help restore and maintain the balance of the body in patients, elderly and adults with motor problems, to train the body to work at higher levels and for general well-being. Although they involve physical activity, exercises are different from physical activity as they're a systematic approach to improve physical fitness.
According to WHO, adults between 18-64 age
"should do at least 15-30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day or an equivalent combination of moderate to vigorous intensity activity throughout the week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Moderate exercise is recommended for the elderly and people recovering from injuries and people with neurological conditions. There's ample scientific research about what a regular exercise regimen can do in maintaining good health.
Therapeutic exercises are targeted exercises prescribed in different needs and achieving specific fitness goals for the patient. These may involve:
Therapeutic exercises are broadly categorised into many groups and each one uses external equipment to support them. Some of the popular ones are:
These are used for muscle strengthening. Muscles are loaded until fatigue. Resistance bands, weights and tubes are used.
These are used to increase the range of joint movement and maintenance. Wand, pulley, t-bar, power board, skateboard etc.
These are used for the conditioning phase of the exercise program. Usually, the intensity of exercises is increased in this phase. Patients must inform their endurance levels here and discuss openly with the therapist.
Adults with motor issues, older adults with neurological problems need balance training to keep up their body's centre of gravity. It helps reduce falling. These involve standing on one leg with eyes closed or open, tiptoeing, standing on the heels etc.
These involve assuming a comfortable posture, inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth.
These are done in pools. There is a minimum risk of injury in aquatic exercises, and the water helps in increased relaxation. Various stretchings and movements are possible in the water and equipment like collars, rings, floating belts, swimming bars and hand paddles would be used.
Deep breathing techniques, pranayama, meditation and yoga techniques are used in this type of exercises.
These exercises should always be done in the presence of an experienced therapist as patients who need exercise therapy are not used to intense physical exertion, which may lead to injuries. The equipment used should be checked whether they're in proper condition and safe to use. A therapist will always enquire about a patient's past, lifestyle, medical and health history and any present medications. Older adults, people with heart problems need special attention. People on certain medicines experience imbalance which also needs special care. In any case, patients should be aware of their tolerance limits and be open with their therapist for successful exercise physiotherapy and experience.
Risks of not exercising are obesity, fatigue, joint pains, cardiovascular risks, muscle and bone weakening, increased risk of various types of cancers and many health issues are possible. Maintaining a good exercise regimen is recommended for growing children and adults alike.
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