In my role as a physiotherapist I often feel a bit like “the ambulance at the bottom of the hill”. What I mean by this is that us Physio’s spend a lot of our time helping folks get better after they have suffered an injury. Customers want us to make them feel better, take the pain away, help them move and get back to their busy lives.
As rewarding as it is to see people get better, I’ve found that in many instances there is little focus on prevention. Prevention of re-injury, or even better preventing first time injuries and other lifestyle diseases.
I once heard the famous radio and TV personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki say:
“Blokes take better care of their cars than they do of their bodies.”
This struck a chord with me as ringing true: as blokes (and women too!) are usually diligent when it comes to preventative maintenance of our cars. We do the service every ten thousand k’s, change out the oil, filters, rotate the tyres etc. with the knowledge that if we take care of the vehicle then it will serve us well for many years and hold its value. But when it comes to our bodies we don’t think this way.
We tend to put up with pains, aches and other problems and it’s not until the issue is really affecting us and our partner has dragged us along to the doctor or another health professional that we do something about it. And even then, we typically take a very short-term view on getting over the problem. Prevention rarely even gets a mention!
So, what is the one best preventative thing you can do for your health?
The answer is 30mins exercise per day or 150mins per week.
Are you performing any regular exercise? You don’t need to be flogging yourself in the gym and it can include just going for a walk for 20 minutes, it all adds up. Just move more.
Those of us working mine rosters find it especially challenging to get that exercise into our lives. Rotating shift work constantly changes up sleep patterns making it hard to be regular.
Studies have clearly shown that if you can achieve this amount of exercise per week then your life will improve across a number of areas: mental health, blood pressure, obesity, osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, quality of life and life expectancy. Check out this great mini lecture by Dr Mike Evans:
Ask yourself honestly if you are you happy with your physical health. If the answer is no, then commit yourself to 30mins exercise every day and I promise you will soon see the benefits.
Guy Higgins, APA Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Singleton and Branxton Physiotherapy and Allied Health