Medical worker looks at chest x ray

COPD and Exercise

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COPD is a progressive lung disease that causes persistent airway obstruction. This can happen because of emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. A COPD sufferer will have a lot of difficulty in breathing and may have a chronic cough or wheezing. Other signs and symptoms include reduced lung elastic recoil and limitation in air flow; breathing will become much harder to do; the breathing muscles will become weak because of hyperinflation, which overly stresses these muscles; and other ventilation-related signs. People with COPD will have difficulty in emptying their lungs and impaired gas exchange in emphysema because of destruction of the alveolar-capillary membrane.

However, exercise can improve the use of oxygen, exercise (work) capacity, and can lower the anxiety level of COPD patients. Some of the direct benefits of exercise in this case include:

The Role of Aerobic Exercise in the Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common condition involving an obstructed airway and impaired breathing. Frequent side effects include snoring, pauses in breathing during the night, and sleepiness during the day. There is also a significant increase in hypertension, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and coronary artery disease. The consequences can be huge, and life-threatening.

Many patients with OSA are treated with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), with good results. But exercise has an important role to play in the management of this condition.

Woman with lower back pain

 Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain, or LBP, is an extremely common problem. It has a  wide variety of causes, and may come on suddenly, or gradually. The pain can stem from muscles, joints, or discs. It may be as a result of sudden trauma, or be a repetitive motion injury.

 It may seem trivial to say that someone has LBP, but this common complaint can cause loss of work, a spike in use of health care services, depression, family strain, and lack of self-esteem. Imagine being in pain all the time - it's very draining.


Exercising With Asthma

pdfExercising With Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder, which creates variable obstruction to airflow, chronic inflammation of the airway, and elevated bronchial reaction to various triggers. These triggers can be allergens, stress environmental factors, genetic factors, or exercise. Asthma can be an almost constant presence for some; others may experience an episode only in the face of one or more of these triggers.

Although aerobic exercise, or cardio, can itself bring on an asthmatic episode, called exercise-induced asthma (EIA), generally exercise can help control how often and how harsh the attacks are. Asthmatics who engage in cardio activity two or three times a week, for around half an hour each time, will likely show improvements in their oxygen consumption, heart rate, and ventilation. There seems to be little proof that exercise makes asthma worse, or that sufferers should avoid exercise.

EIA usually occurs within around 15 minutes after the workout is finished, and the indicators include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or a combination of any of these. Almost all asthmatics will experience EIA at one time or another. If the EIA is well controlled, the asthmatic will usually see good improvement in his fitness level.

If you have asthma, it’s important to recognize that you will have episodes from time to time that will affect your capacity to work out. You also need to monitor your exercise intensity to establish the level of breathlessness and at what intensity it comes on. The Borg CR-10 scale can help you to understand this .

Rotator Cuff Injuries

pdfRotator Cuff Injuries

There are four muscles in the shoulder complex, which together make up the “rotator cuff”. They act together as dynamic stabilizers and movers in the shoulder. The four muscles involved are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and supscapularis.

The supraspinatus, located on top of the shoulder, and the infraspinatus, which lies on top of the shoulder blade, are the two most likely to be injured. The main function of the supraspinatus is to lift the arm out to the side of the body, or abduct it. The infraspinatus externally rotates the arm, as if turning your palm facing forward.

Athletes often experience sudden rotator cuff injuries following a powerful effort. We frequently hear of baseball pitchers, golfers and tennis players who are in rehab for a rotator cuff injury. Any type of sport or activity that involves abduction and external rotation, combined with speed and force, increases the possible of such an injury. This is considered an acute tear. This type of injury can also happen from falling onto the shoulder or lifting a heavy weight. The person will feel sudden tearing in the shoulder, severe pain and tenderness, and limited movement in the joint.


Exercising After a Stroke or Brain Injury

pdfExercising After a Stroke or Brain Injury

A stroke takes place when blood flow to the brain is blocked, resulting in a loss of brain function for 24 hours or more. Most strokes are a result of a thrombosis or embolism, with a small percentage stemming from a blood vessel hemorrhaging and leaking into the brain. Stroke is more common in men than women, and is the third greatest cause of death in North America. Common effects of stroke include aphasia (problems using and comprehending language), loss of sensory input ,a very short attention span, poor short-term memory, and struggles with emotional control.
Acquired traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result from a hit or strong bump to the head, or from being furiously shaken, such as Shaken Baby Syndrome. Falls and motor vehicle accidents make up the majority of incidences of TBI. TBI causes permanent injury to brain, resulting in deficits in memory, language, reasoning, judgement, sensory and motor abilities, and information processing, to name just a few.

 Exercising with Angina and Silent Ischemia

pdfExercising with Angina and Silent Ischemia

The heart requires an uninterrupted, stable supply of oxygen to survive, since oxygen is virtually its only fuel. During our daily activities and exercise, the demand for myocardial oxygen varies. The heart  adjusts the coronary blood flow to meet the changing demand for oxygen. However when there is an obstruction in the coronary arteries, due to atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, or restriction in the blood flow, develops. When this condition causes pain in the chest, it is called angina.

Stable angina is usually associated with crossing the threshold of a certain level of physical exertion, or other stresses, such as emotional distress or cold temperatures. And is usually treated with rest and/or nitroglycerin.

Diabetes and Exercise

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Health Canada reports that approximately 6.6% of Canada’s population, age 20 and older, have been diagnosed with diabetes, and researchers expect an increase to 2.4 million Canadian diabetics by 2016. Also, 6% of Canadian women 46-64 years old, have this disease, and that increases to 10% in the 65 and older group. A woman with type 2 diabetes has an 8 times greater chances of developing heart disease than a women without diabetes. These are sobering numbers, especially in view of the fact that much of that is preventable by making some lifestyle changes.

Some of the changes that will lower your risk of diabetes include: 

 Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurologic disease that affects the part of the nervous system that controls muscle reflexes. It is believed that PD is caused by a reduction in dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter, and so the muscle reflexes are adversely affected. Over time, the person will likely experience slow movements (bradykinesia), a resting tremor, rigidity, and negative changes in his gait and posture.

 Exercising with Osteoporosis

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 Osteoporosis has become a part of our normal vocabulary these days; it seems we all know someone who has this significant loss of bone mass, or its precursor, osteopenia (low bone mass).

All of us experience some small degree of bone loss every year, after we’re thirty-five, but it is very common amongst older adults in industrialized countries. Once the bone begins to lose mass, it takes on a “honeycomb” appearance, and it loses its ability to withstand fracture. Seniors are much more likely than, say, a young adult, to sustain a fracture through a minor fall or even a sneeze.

Exercising with Osteoarthritis (OA)

People who struggle with OA often find themselves unable to do the kinds of exercise they have done for many years. The consequences of not exercising because OA may include weight gain, osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, and loss of flexibility.

There are a number of things  that you can do to introduce exercise into a daily routine again. The first thing to do is to consult with your doctor about limits for exercise, and pain/inflammation management particular to you. Once that is set out, you should check back with your practitioner at regular intervals to review these concerns, or sooner if your condition worsens.

Deb Bailey Personal Trainer - in Home (Now On-line!)
Phone: 519-572-0986
Kitchener, Ontario

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