June Newsletter – Asthma

heart health

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways associated with airway narrowing and obstruction. It is commonly provoked by triggers including allergens (e.g. pollen, dust, animal fur), pollution (e.g. car fumes, fumes from industrial waste), exercise or stress. During an asthma episode, the airways become hyper-responsive, leading to narrowing of the airways and obstruction of airflow. This causes symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma symptoms can be reversed either spontaneously or with medication

The 3 main factors that cause the airways to narrow are:
1. Swelling of the inside lining of the airways
2. Increased mucus production combined with products of inflammation (e.g. histamine)
3. Tightening of the muscle around the airways (bronchoconstriction)

Asthma is primarily managed through an “Asthma Action Plan” developed by the patient’s G.P. The Asthma Action plan is a written set of instructions developed for each asthma patient outlining medication requirements, methods for recognising worsening asthma symptoms, and what to do in the event of an attack.

There are 3 main types of Asthma medications used:
Controllers: usually taken daily in an effort to reduce the inflammatory processes associated with asthma
Relievers: effective in relieving airway narrowing; should be inhaled only when needed and in the lowest dose necessary.
Preventers: may also be used daily to reduce both symptoms and asthma attacks. Preventers can be particularly effective in reducing exercise-induced airway narrowing in most patients.

For people with well-controlled Asthma (i.e. minimal symptoms or flare ups) exercise is a safe and effective way to improve aerobic fitness and reduce the likelihood of an exercise-induced attack. By using pre-exercise medication, most people with asthma can participate in physical activity at a similar level to people without asthma. A specific benefit of a physical training program is that it allows people with Asthma to exercise with less bronchoconstriction at the same exercise intensity, although it does not abolish or reduce airway hyper-responsiveness.

The role of exercise is to assist people with Asthma to lead as normal a physical lifestyle as possible, including participation in sports. Regular exercise should be part of the lifestyle of all humans to maintain health and fitness. A major benefit of regular exercise for asthmatics is improved aerobic fitness (i.e. VO2max). This means that a given level of exercise can be carried out at a reduced percentage of his or her VO2 max, so providing a greater exercise threshold before exercise induced Asthma appears. Psychological benefits ensue and many asthmatics have become elite athletes, and world and Olympic champions despite some having severe asthma. Between episodes of asthma, many asthmatics sustain a healthy cardiorespiratory system that does not interfere with physical performance. If significant airways constriction occurs, exercise performance will be impaired.

If you would like more information on how to start an exercise program to manage your Asthma, it is important to see the right professional to ensure you are exercising appropriately. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist will be able to conduct appropriate exercise testing and prescribe a program tailored to your current fitness levels while taking into consideration your medical history and any physical limitations. Call Motion Health on 03 9825 2697 for further information

May Newsletter – Winter Motivation

Winter is finally upon us. The days are colder and daylight hours are getting shorter. It is also the time of year where exercise tends to take a back seat to more inviting options such as a warm fire place or a good movie. It is important to maintain some form of regular physical activity at all times of the year. In winter there tends to be a higher incidence of illness due to viruses such as the common cold. Physical activity can have positive benefits on our immune system. Moderate intensity exercise has been associated with a 1/3 reduction in contracting an upper respiratory tract infection compared with individuals that had an inactive lifestyle (Nieman et al. 2011). This is in addition to the other benefits of exercise such as improved strength, mobility and psychological aspects such as quality of life.

There are many options for exercise these days that don’t involve being prey to the outdoor elements. You can do aerobic based activity such as exercise on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike as well as strength based activities such as weight training, Pilates or Yoga. Here at Motion Health we can offer a number of indoor based options for exercises. Our group classes utilise a variety of equipment including traditional Pilates reformers, wunda chairs and trapeze table as well as gym equipment such as cables, dumbbells, kettlebells and stationary bike. So whatever your needs, let us help you find your movement and support you through a warmer, healthier winter.

Give reception a call on 03 9825 2697 if you’d like more information about any of our services.

Nieman DC, Henson DA, Austin MD and Sha W (2011) Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine 45:987-992.

April Newsletter – Exercise & Cancer

exercise and cancer

The Role of Exercise in Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a term that describes a disease in which abnormal cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner. There are many forms of cancer though the most common types include prostate cancer, bowel cancer (colon and rectal cancers), breast cancer, melanoma of the skin, and lung cancer. Most people would know of someone in their community that has some form of cancer, be it a family member, a friend, work colleague or you personally are affected.

Although there have been advances in cancer treatment over the years, treatment-related side effects are still common and may persist for long-term survivors. Common side effects of treatment include fatigue, pain, impaired immune function, non-optimal changes in body weight and composition, worsened bone health, fluid build-up that causes swelling in various body parts (lymphoedema), and gastrointestinal (bowel) changes. All of these side effects can greatly impact on quality of life and activities of daily living. This can also impact loved ones or carers of those with cancer and further the burden.

Exercise plays a vital role in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. Exercise can assist to improve aerobic capacity, increase strength, improve bone density and body composition as well as have benefits of psychological status. An appropriately qualified health professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist can assist in designing and implementing an exercise program that is appropriate for the stage of cancer treatment that a patient is at (i.e. during and post-treatment).

Recently, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia received media attention when they released a position statement on exercise in cancer care. The main recommendations that came from this position statement were the following:

“Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment”

“All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines”

“Best practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care”

At Motion Health, we have a team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists that are passionate about giving you quality exercise services and care. If you know someone with cancer that would like to improve their quality of life and physical capacity then contact reception at Motion Health to organise an appointment.