Exercise can be prescribed as a therapeutic intervention as with other treatments such as medication, because it produces measurable and predictable physiological changes that follow a clearly defined response curve and achieves long-term benefits.
For example, aerobic exercise will increase heart rate, cardiac output, respiratory rate and volume as well as delivery of glucose and fat stores to the body for use as energy. As the body is repeatedly exposed to this activity, the heart, lungs, muscles and other organs adapt giving vital health benefits. Your muscles and bones become stronger including your heart, your body becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs. Your metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn energy is increased so you have an increased vitality, your sleep more soundly and think more clearly. Your joints, flexibility and balance improve giving stability, strength and ease of movement.
More specifically, the therapeutic benefits of exercise for certain medical conditions are outlined below.
|Diabetes||Weight reduction and improved glucose tolerance when combined with nutrition counselling|
|Stroke||Improved walking ability, speed and mobility|
|Obesity||Weight loss when combined with dietary advice|
|Chronic Fatigue Syndrome||An improvement in function, increased energy and strength|
|Depression||Improved self-esteem, confidence, energy and a “natural” high|
|Balance and fall prevention||Increased strength, flexibility and balance as well as confidence with movement|
|Osteoporosis||Increased bone density with strength training and aerobic exercise|
|Heart disease||Aerobic exercise reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure, increases cardiac output and reduces morbidity and mortality|