Exercise changes lives. It is a small statement but one that can enrich our everyday lives.
Broadly speaking, exercise is an activity requiring physical effort for a specific purpose. It’s this specific purpose, that as an individual we find out just how exercise can change lives and benefit our overall health and well-being.
In a world that is so fast paced, a small statement like this might seem so trivial. But have you ever asked yourself the question how exercise fits into your daily routine? Is it something that you notice or even think about? What exactly are the physical and mental benefits of exercise for you as an individual? And what do we even classify as exercise?
For your reference exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and well-being. It can be running, cycling, team sports, gym workouts or even simply a casual yoga session at the beach. All of these activities have a multitude of benefits associated with them such as the promotion of healthy bones, muscles, and joints; decreased risk of heart disease, weight management, control of cholesterol and diabetes, falls prevention and improving mental health. These should be goals that we strive for by exercising and it’s important to know the reason behind our participation as part of our normal routine.
So, how might those goals look different from each individual’s perspective?
Life is never straightforward and we can face many challenges and hurdles along the way. We might get injured, fall ill or we may not be looking after ourselves as we get older. At all of these life events we have choices to make in order to change, adapt or perhaps improve our exercise patterns.
To assist with prescribing exercises for a variety of conditions, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is essential. As a university trained allied health professionals an AEP specialises in the delivery and evaluation of safe and effective exercise programming for people with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.
Let us put into perspective some real life examples of some of these conditions and how appropriate exercise programming implemented by a trained allied health professional can improve an individuals way of life.
- Loretta, an 80-year-old woman who has osteoporosis in her hips, wrist and spine, and her dream is to be able to play games with and hold her grandkids
- Justin, an 30-year-old man who survived a motorcycle accident and is learning to walk again.
- Sarah, an 65-year-old woman, with chronic lower back pain wants to keep going for bush walks.
- William, an 5-year-old boy, with down syndrome who is learning to play sports for the first time.
With the help of an AEP, imagine the day that Loretta, after struggling to walk long distances or complete day to day activities will get to hold her newborn grandchild, be able to walk with them to a nearby park all because she undertook weight bearing exercises to assist with bone loading and promotion of lean muscle.
Justin, after a motorcycle accident being able to dance with his new wife at their wedding post completing a series of hydrotherapy sessions and a variety of strength training exercises.
A day where Sarah completed a 10km bush walk to see a sunrise after learning the importance of stretching and mobility exercises.
William who learnt to play sports for the first time scores his first goal, and gets to celebrate with his family and friends by improving his overall balance and coordination.
Just imagine all their faces, their families and all the emotions they would be feeling in those moments. This is exercise changing lives in action.
Written by Lachlan Clifton, MCLExSc BEcSc | Allsports Physiotherapy Parkwood
 Paul, Y., Ellapen, T. J., Barnard, M., Hammill, H. V., & Swanepoel, M. (2019). The health benefits of exercise therapy for patients with Down syndrome: A systematic review. African journal of disability, 8, 576.
 Kunutsor, S. K., Leyland, S., Skelton, D. A., James, L., Cox, M., Gibbons, N., Whitney, J., & Clark, E. M. (2018). Adverse events and safety issues associated with physical activity and exercise for adults with osteoporosis and osteopenia: A systematic review of observational studies and an updated review of interventional studies. Journal of frailty, sarcopenia and falls, 3(4), 155–178.