As a Physiotherapist I treat the elderly and people with neurological conditions, I am always getting asked questions like “will this really help?”, “Is this good for me?” or “What exercises should I be doing?” The answer to these questions will always depend on who is sitting in front of me, however the general answer to most the these questions is “Yes, exercise is very good for you, it will help and that exercise should always be enjoyable”, that being said, there are some exercises you may not be able to do (that’s where a trained physiotherapist can help!).
Exercise has many benefits to the body, some of which can include lowering blood pressure, reducing swelling and improving circulation. It can increase your strength, flexibility, balance and stamina, improve bone health and of course make you feel good (releasing those feel-good hormones called endorphins everyone is always talking about!). You can gain these benefits at any age and any physical ability, sometimes all you need are some goals and motivation to make some positive changes.
On top of these physical improvements it can also lower risk factors for health problems such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia, certain types of cancer and other health problems associated with being over-weight. Exercise has also been proven to have a positive effect on pain, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Exercise doesn’t have to be something boring, it could be going for a walk, doing some gardening, dance classes or a local exercise group. The general guidance is to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (this means you get slightly out of breath) 5 times per week, which sounds like a lot, however if it’s something you enjoy or part of your daily routine you will hardly notice it!
So if you want to remain independent, healthy and pain free, or if you want to start to manage and improve a health problem you already have, exercise may be the answer! It’s always advisable to speak to your GP, NHS physiotherapist or private physiotherapist to get more guidance on the types of exercise you should be doing.