By Meredith Woolsey, Exercise Physiologist.

My passion is helping people to be the most active and healthy version of themselves through movement and exercise. Exercise is pretty awesome. It can help to prevent, cure and manage so many different diseases, conditions and injuries with few to no side effects. It really is the best medicine! Here is a look at just a few of the ways E.X.E.R.C.I.S.E can help you.

E is for emotion. Moving makes you happy! It literally causes the release of dopamine (happy hormone) in your brain and leaves you feeling great for having done something healthy for yourself. This effect is even greater when the exercise is done outdoors or in social situations with a friend or group. Exercise can also help off-set some of the side-effects of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications, many of which cause rapid weight gain and increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM).

X is for x-ray. 1.2 million Australians suffer from osteoporosis, a chronic loss of bone density which causes your skeleton to become brittle and prone to breakage. Exercise can help to maintain bone density and slow the depletion of minerals. Every time our muscles pull on their bony attachments, it encourages the production of more bone and an increase in bone strength. Resistance training (gym machines, body weight, barbells etc.) and impact exercises (walking, jumping, jogging etc.) are the best training for bone health.

E is for energy. Though it might sound counterintuitive, exercise helps to reduce fatigue. Correction: the RIGHT sort of exercise helps to reduce fatigue. By undertaking a graduated exercise program that is specifically tailored, people can manage their fatigue symptoms, have a sound night’s sleep and better get through their day. This can be excellent for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment and fibromyalgia.

R is for reduction. Most of the things our doctors poke and prod us about can be reduced through regular exercise. This includes, but is certainly not limited to lowering our blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, stress, blood glucose levels and inflammation. When we undertake targeted exercise, we also reduce our risk of heart disease, T2DM, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers. Basically, exercise is helping us live longer and better quality lives!

C is for cancer. Not only does exercise help to prevent some cancers, it can actually be a vital component in the treatment of cancer. It can help to reduce the fatigue, nausea, muscle wastage, and loss of bone density associated with many cancer treatments. It also helps prevent social isolation, elevates mood and can even help the treatment be more successful by increasing blood flow, and therefore drug delivery, to the cancer site.

I is for insulin. This little hormone is vital in getting the energy we eat to every single cell in our body and without it we would very quickly become ill and die. Unfortunately, many people struggle with controlling their insulin levels through a combination of genetic factors and poor lifestyle choices, leading to T2DM. The good news is that exercise can not only help prevent the onset of T2DM, but can also help manage the disease through maintaining a healthy weight, helping to control blood glucose levels and improving our muscles’ sensitivity to insulin.

S is for stretching. Often overlooked and underrated, stretching is important for preventing injury, maintaining good posture and reducing pain. If muscles and tendons are stiff, they are more likely to be ‘pulled’ or tear and overtight muscles can pull us into the wrong position. This can result in postural issues and pressure on structures such as nerves and bursas, causing pain and discomfort.

E is for equilibrium. Balance is not just for gymnasts and acrobats. It is important that we undertake balance training to help prevent falls along with the broken bones, hospitalisation and loss of independence that can follow. It is particularly important for the elderly, people with osteoporosis (greater risk of fracture), neuromuscular disorders (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease etc.) and people with T2DM as they can have nerve damage in their feet, reducing sensitivity and increasing their falls risk.

So there you have it … something for everyone! The right movement and exercise not only helps in the prevention of disease but also with long-term management of many chronic conditions. A little bit every day will help you live a happier and healthier life and remember … something is always better than nothing. Happy Exercising!

Meredith Woolsey

Meredith Woolsey

Exercise Physiologist

Meredith Woolsey is an accredited Exercise Physiologist and founder of the Move to Live clinic in Noarlunga South. She is is passionate about helping people discover the joys of movement. She believes whole-heartedly in the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and is excited to be able to help her clients achieve their goals.

Contact Meredith T. 0419 945 436 E. admin@movetolive.com.au