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Archive for May, 2014

The Benefits of Walking

walking

The Walking Works report by Walking For Health looked at the evidence for the benefits of walking and included Public Health figures which suggested that if everyone in England was sufficiently active, each year this would prevent:
• 36,815 deaths from all causes.
• 12,061 emergency hospital admissions for coronary heart disease.
• 6,735 breast cancer cases.
• 4,719 colorectal cancer cases.
• 294,730 people living with diabetes.

Regular walking provides cardiovascular exercise, which serves to improve your heart and lung function. This improves your heart’s ability to pump blood to the lungs and throughout the body. Subsequently, more blood flows to the muscles and oxygen levels in the blood rise. An increase in oxygen supply helps to get rid of waste products in the tissues. Furthermore, together with a balanced diet and portion control, exercise can also assist in weight loss and improving muscle tone.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Walking can also contribute to a healthy mind! Endorphins are chemicals which produce feelings of euphoria and calmness. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is implicated in mental health disorders such as depression and can affect mood. Diet and exercise can increase serotonin and endorphin production.

Furthermore, being outside will expose you to sunlight which will facilitate the body’s production of vitamin D which is important for strong, healthy bones, fighting infection and heart and lung function. Some research has suggested a link between vitamin D and mood. One study showed that b-endorphins increase after exposure to the sun and these make you feel good! Another study showed that vitamin D can increase the levels of serotonin which has an impact on your mood.

Walking for All

Young people aged 5 to 18 years need to do at least one hour of physical activity every day, which should range between moderate intensity (walking to school or walking the dog) and vigorous intensity activity (fast running or riding a bike fast). Adults aged between 19 and 64 and those who are aged over 65 and who are generally fit and have no health conditions that restrict their mobility should try to be active daily and seek to do at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking every week.

The Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy published a study in which it found that those who were part of walking programmes increased not only their fitness levels but also their ability to physically function. This increase meant that those who were regular walkers had more energy, performed daily tasks more easily and could still enjoy activities such as dancing.

Walking and Physiotherapy

Did you know that physiotherapists have been called upon to promote walking as a means of helping people get fit and stay active?

Walking helps to maintain joint mobility and muscle strength. Furthermore, regular moderate activity, which can include walking, can help to treat and reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis (wear and tear). Walking can also increase bone mineral density in children, maintain strong bones in the adolescent population and help in the prevention of osteoporosis. High impact exercise in younger people puts load through the bones and increases bone density, however in those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, low impact, weight bearing exercise such as gentle walking is more appropriate.

Physiotherapy for treating osteoarthritis in hip and knee joints

Physiotherapy can be used to help treat osteoarthritis and relieve pain in the knee and hip joints.

Over the years as I have practiced, I have come to a realisation that the word arthritis is loosely thrown about without the full understanding of what is it and how it may impact your life or the lives of your loved ones.

So what is arthritis?

Arthritis can affect just one joint in the body but it may affect more and be located in more than just one localised area of the body. The word arthritis is Greek in origin and literally translated means inflammation of the joints.

Arthritis is a condition that affects around 10 million people in the UK and can affect people of any age. According to a number of different sources there are somewhere between 171 to 200 different types of arthritis that are medically recognized and unfortunately for most arthritis sufferers the vast majority of those who have one type of arthritis will probably have two or three other forms of the disorder as well.

8 million suffer with osteoarthritis in UK

Osteoarthritis causes pain in the joints it affects and greatly reduces the movement of those joints as well as causing them to become tender and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can also lead to depression and anxiety due to the reduction in mobility and the high levels of pain. If it affects your fingers it can become difficult to move your hands and even hold everyday objects.

Athletes are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis as repetitive movement, stress and the load placed upon joints makes the condition more likely to occur.

Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis in the hip

For those who suffer from osteoarthritis in the hip joint, physiotherapy can be used to help. When affected by arthritis the hip can become painful and stiff and the range of movement becomes reduced. It can often be accompanied by creaking or crunching in the joint.

Physiotherapy can help treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis by keeping the muscles in good condition and the joints moving, it can reduce the amount of pain that is felt without needing to have surgery.
This not only means that the joints will be less painful during day to day life, but that the range of movement you have in the joint doesn’t reduce and can even be improved depending on the stage that your osteoarthritis in the hip joint is at.

Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis in the knee

Osteoarthritis in knee joints can be even more painful and problematic than osteoarthritis affecting the hip joint.

Knee joints, more than any other joint that can be affected by osteoarthritis, can benefit from an early diagnosis and management of the condition in the early stages.

Since it is hard to move without bending your knee joints, osteoarthritis in the knee joint can be one of the most debilitating forms of the disease.

Physiotherapy can be used to help treat and manage the pain of osteoarthritis in the knee joints through manipulation of the joint, muscles and tendons that support and comprise the joint.

What this means in real terms is that the pain you might experience in walking, bending down and kneeling can be managed and reduced.

The amount that you can bend your knees can be improved by physiotherapy, keeping the joint range maintained and the surrounding soft tissue at its optimum. When the muscles are doing what is required of them, the joint and the associated structures such as the cartilage are able to track correctly and thus reducing the likely hood of interventions such as surgery.

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