- Exercise therapy is a set of individualised physical exercises to promote rehabilitation.
- Exercises help to improve your physical and mental well-being, and is becoming increasingly important in Singapore’s ageing population where many will develop multiple medical co-morbidities
- It is beneficial in managing said co-morbidities, and also helps to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.
What is exercise therapy?
Exercise therapy is a set of physical exercises designed to promote recovery from various conditions through developing your strength, mobility, stability, and coordination. Involving a holistic and individualised management plan, it is proven to help in rehabilitation or just improving your general health and wellbeing.
Comorbidity is a term you may have heard in the news or from your doctor: it refers to having two or more medical conditions at once, and are usually chronic i.e. been going for a while. Often linked with less favourable health outcomes, more complex clinical management, and higher healthcare expenses, co-morbidities aren’t just limited to physical conditions. In fact, high rates of mental disorders are reported among those with chronic physical ailments. In Singapore, co-morbidities are unfortunately becoming increasingly prevalent in the face of our aging population, where it is estimated that a quarter of our population will be above the age of 65 by 2030.
In a 2017 Duke-NUS study involving older adults, 37% of respondents reported three or more chronic conditions — double the figure from 2009. The most common diseases include hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes, amongst others. These co-morbidities are among the leading causes of global disability, and could adversely affect your physical, mental, and social health.
Those with co-morbidities often find themselves visiting several different healthcare professionals and taking various medications that could present risks and side effects, which could be an undesirable experience. So how does exercise therapy come into play? Studies have shown that exercise therapy improves one’s health and quality of life, as well as physical function. Beyond that, it improves one’s mental health and may even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Contrary to what some may believe, exercise therapy does not correlate to effects such as pain and injury, but rather reduces the risk of severe consequences such as pneumonia and hospitalisation.
Exercise and co-morbidities
Exercise is a great way to prevent co-morbidities as well; many chronic illnesses can be prevented by establishing a healthy lifestyle. Conditions like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes can all be avoided by being active and keeping fit. Even just exercising two or three times per week can work wonders for managing and keeping chronic conditions at bay!
It is important for you to seek advice from a professional who will be able to advise you on what the best course of action should be.
Wonder how you can get started on your journey of wellness and health?
Benefits and harms of exercise therapy in people with multi-morbidity. Bricca A, Harris LK, Jager M, et al. Br J Sports Med 2021;55:1059-1060.