Exercising for physical and mental wellbeing
For the July meeting, the Western (Ballarat) Regional Network gained new tips of keeping physically and mentally well at home. It was an engaging meeting with Network members sharing their experiences of keeping active, and Kendl - Exercise Physiologist from Ballarat Health Services - providing her professional experience.
Kendl first explained the difference between an exercise physiologist (EP) and physiotherapist: an EP focuses on supporting patients to self-manage their condition through exercise interventions, whereas an exercise physiotherapist uses physical techniques (such as massage and exercise) to manage injury, disability or pain.
The following tips are from Kendl's powerpoint presentation. Contact Spire on [email protected] for a copy of the presentation.
Any movement each day, whether independent or assisted, is better than no movement. This can include stretches, cardio workouts (e.g. arm bikes, boxing), strength-based training (e.g. lifting weights, or resistance bands).
Aim to do a moderate activity 2 -3 times a week. The "talk test" is a good way to measure if you are exercising at a moderate intensity. You should be able to talk, but not sing when exercising.
Many people with a spinal injury have low blood pressure, which can affect their ability to exercise. See your doctor to find ways to manage low blood pressure. It is also helpful to exercise under supervision by an EP or physiotherapist first.
Daily stretches to push shoulders back, such as squeezing the shoulder blades together for 15 - 30 seconds, can help protect your shoulders and prevent shoulder pain. Around 75% of people with a spinal injury experience shoulder pain at some point of their lives. It is useful to get a professional exercise program to protect your shoulders.
Also be mindful of posture. Avoid crossing arms, and keep shoulders in a neutral "open" position.
It can be hard to create a new exercise habit. Find something you enjoy doing and start from one day per week. Exercising with friends can help keep you accountable and socially connected.
A exercise program tailored to your ability and exercise goals can be beneficial. Find your local EP here: https://www.essa.org.au/find-aep Many health services, such as EP and physiotherapists, can now do their sessions with you online.
Everyone agreed it was an engaging discussion and a good reminder on the importance of keeping active, which not only benefits one's physical wellbeing, but their mental and social wellbeing as well.
Details of our next event
Thursday, 20 Aug 2020
From the comfort of your home
Getting to know Sports Central and their survey on engaging people living with disability into sports and recreation.
Spire at 9489 0777 (toll free 1800 999 128) or [email protected]