Exercise prescription forms an integral part of most physical therapy rehabilitation programs. Exercise is essential to recovery from sports injuries, following surgery, after an acute trauma such as from a fall or fracture, in the management of acute and chronic low back pain, neck pain and headaches and in the treatment of long term conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Exercise helps to increase energy, improve flexibility and range of motion, increase muscular strength and endurance, restore correct muscle balance and movement thereby reducing pain, increase blood supply to the extremities, improve cardiovascular health and decrease the incidence of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Other benefits of exercise are:
- It produces a feeling of well-being by releasing the neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to feelings of euphoria and peace. These neurotransmitters also help increase brain function while performing mental tasks. Exercise is often prescribed as an adjunct to counseling or medication for patients who suffer from depression.
- Exercise can reverse the effects of aging by slowing the deterioration of muscle, brain and nerve functions. Exercise has been proven effective in slowing the rate of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Physical therapy prescribed exercises also slow down the progression and help manage the effects of arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Weight loss. Combining an exercise program with proper nutrition is essential to losing weight and keeping it off.
Most physical therapists are passionate about encouraging our patients to lead healthy and active lifestyles incorporating exercise into their daily routine. As health professionals with years of training in movement, biomechanics, kinesiology, anatomy with a detailed knowledge of musculoskeletal conditions and their appropriate management, physical therapists are world leaders in the area of prescribing and supervising exercise programs for our patients.
Physical therapists can design weight loss programs focusing on aerobic exercise, we can design programs for those interested in bulking up based on weight training and we can design exercise programs consisting of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises for people who want a well-balanced program to promote their general health and fitness. For those training for specific events, our knowledge of sports and muscle adaptation means we can guide you through a specific training schedule such as preparing for a fun run or marathon.
Before prescribing exercises, physical therapists perform a comprehensive subjective and physical examination. The result of an in-depth clinical assessment helps the physical therapist to choose the appropriate form of exercise. We take into account any contraindications to exercise so all the exercises prescribed will be safe and effective. With each patient, there is an individual exercise program designed to suit their condition and lifestyle.
Physical therapists use therapeutic exercise as a treatment to help in the healing process of musculoskeletal conditions in a multitude of ways including stretching, strengthening and balance restoration. Some exercise is performed by the physical therapist in the clinic (such as passive or resisted stretching of muscles) but most exercise is given in the form of a home exercise program intended to improve the rate of healing and as a way to prevent re-injury. Physical therapists demonstrate and then watch our patients perform all the prescribed exercises so correct technique is ensured and the exercise program is reviewed and updated at regular intervals as the patient’s physical condition improves.
If you are keen to begin exercising or you need exercise to help with recovery from an injury, come and see us for an assessment and individual program design.
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