Therapeutic Benefits of Exercise

One of the top four causes of ill-health in modern society is a sedentary lifestyle. Being physically active is not just preventative in protecting against illness, it is therapeutic in recovering from social, mental and physical disadvantage.

Depression – is the most common mental illness worldwide. A recent study involving nearly 2 million people has shown protective effects of exercise. Regular exercise has been found to decrease the symptoms and diagnoses of depression. (Schuch Am J Psychiatry, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17111194).

Cancer – Clinical Oncology Society of Australia has published a position paper outlining just how seriously they believe physical therapy should be woven into cancer care. The paper suggest that exercise can improve cancer outcomes. The society advise that exercise should “be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy” and that best practice includes formal referral to physical therapists experienced in oncological care. (Cormie et al Med J Aust 2018.doi:10.5694/mja18.00199).

Heart disease – exercise improves fitness which has positive, appreciable effects on the heart. As we get older our heart muscle can become stiff which can lead to heart failure. However, exercise in middle age can prevent the muscle stiffness. (Howden et al Circulation 2018.doi:10.1161/Circulationaha.117.030617).