Exercise for Injury Prevention

Nov 01, 2017

As physiotherapists, we often prescribe exercises to help people bounce back from injuries. But did you know that exercise and physical activity can also help to prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer?

According to the World Health Organization, insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide. Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world's adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. There is now a link between being overweight to many types of cancer such as esophagus, colorectal, breast, endometrium and kidney.

So how much exercise do you need to do to stay healthy and prevent disease? And where do you start?

The following article is a summary of the current evidence on physical activity recommendations by the World Health Organization (“WHO”).

What is physical activity?

WHO defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure including working, playing, household chores, travelling, and recreational pursuits”.  It’s not just about formal exercise!

How much of physical activity is recommended?

Children and adolescents aged 5-17years
  • 60min/day of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity
  • >60 minutes daily will provide additional health benefits.
  • Strengthening at least 3x/week
  • 150min/week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75min/week of vigorous intensity
  • For additional health benefits, increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300min/week
  • Strengthening at least 2x/week
  • 150min/week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 min/week of vigorous-intensity
  • For additional health benefits, increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300min/week
  • Those with poor mobility: balance and fall prevention exercises at least 3x/week
  • Strengthening at least 2x/week
Adults aged 18–64 years
Adults aged 65 years and above

In order to be beneficial for cardio respiratory health, all activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.

Benefits of physical activity

  • improved muscular and cardio respiratory fitness;
  • improved bone and functional health;
  • reduced risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer)
  • Reduced risk of mental illness such as depression and anxiety
  • reduced risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures; and
  • energy balance and weight control

Overall, people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.

How to increase your physical activity

  • It is important to find activities that you enjoy in order to stay motivated. Physical activity should be fun!

○      Some people prefer team sports such as soccer, slo pitch, or volleyball. Find a recreational team in your community - all skill levels are available

○      Some people prefer individual activities such as gym time, swimming, and jogging

○      Find a class that you like - there are so many interesting things out there now such as barre, hot yoga, silks, dance, boxing, step class, TRX, aquafit, spin class, boot camps, etc. Trying new things and keeping variety might keep you more motivated

○      Some people enjoy the guidance of a personal fitness trainer. Can’t afford the costs? Some insurance plans may cover the cost of Kinesiologist (exercise professionals). There are also other options to explore now such as virtual trainers.

○      Want to exercise at home? There are many apps and videos that offer vigorous exercise ideas. Many are free and don’t require any equipment

  • Join with a friend to stay motivated
  • Make goals for yourself and track your progress

○      Tracking your goals with apps such as step counters and activity trackers may increase your motivation to stay active

  • Don’t forget the small every day efforts to stay active that add up to make a big difference

○      Take the stairs, park further away and walk, stand at your desk, cycle to work, play with your kids, walk the dog, sit less often

Do you have an injury that is preventing you from being physically active? It is important to get this fixed in order to get back to being healthy and active! Give us a call to book an appointment, at 780-458-8505




Category: Jess Mahe, MScPT

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