The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) and Sport England have spent a year listening to people living with long-term health conditions about their thoughts on strengthening activities. They have produced a campaign based on their findings, called ‘Stronger My Way’. The aim of the campaign is to empower people to do strengthening activities on a more regular basis.
Many people can feel daunted by the idea of doing strengthening activities. But being stronger lets you do more, feel better and stay active! Whether you’re feeling the affects of getting older, living with a health condition or have never done strengthening activities before, it is so beneficial in so many ways. This is why so many people are finding doing strengthening activities makes a real difference to their quality of life.
Why focus on strengthening? There are many benefits of doing regular strengthening activities, these include:
- Maintain independence, function, bone density & balance
- Ability to carry on daily activities
- Helps manage long-term conditions and/or symptoms (pain)
- Improved confidence
- Physical appearance
- Improved mood & mental health
Misconceptions about getting stronger. When we talk about strengthening activities, people often think this means having to go to a gym and lift heavy weights, but this isn’t the case! It is also a common misconception that if you work on strengthening activities, you’ll end up looking too muscular and bulky.
In addition to this, there are many common barriers, that people living with long-term health conditions stops them from taking part in strengthening activity. These include:
- Fear that their health condition stops them or they could deteriorate as a result of doing activities
- Low mood and little motivation to get started
- Fear of embarrassment
- Any symptoms related to health conditions and energy levels vary day to day, particularly feeling disheartened by ‘bad days’
Overcome the barriers! But these don’t have to be barriers, there are many ways of overcoming these barriers.
- A great way to start is to set yourself a short-term, memorable goal. Something you’d love to work towards that’s really important to you.
- Seek some help or support, whether that’s from a friend or family member, using online resources or from a professional, such as one of our team at goPhysio.
- Have a range of options to do strength activities, so that you can adapt what you do, depending on how you feel that day.
- Be confident that strengthening is for everyone! The research on it’s benefits is overwhelming positive.
What strengthening should you do? For adults and older adults, the UK CMO Physical Activity Guidelines say:
- You should do strengthening activities at least twice a week
- Effective activities should make muscles feel tension, shake or feel warm
- Strongly effective activities include resistance training, aerobics, ball games & racquet sports
- Daily activities also count, including gardening, carrying heavy shopping bags and decorating
Resources – take a look at these resources that might help you if you’re interested in getting started with strength work.
At goPhysio, in addition to 1-2-1 support and guidance provided through our team of Physio’s & Sports Therapists, we offer Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates and individual exercise based rehabilitation, in our aptly named ‘Strong Room’! Both of these are great ways of working on your strength in a gentle, progressive and supportive environment. For more information, please give us a call on 023 8025 3317.