Walk, Run, Swim …
- The buoyancy of the water supports the body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can
move more fluidly;
- It can be counted as cardiovascular exercise if you swim hard enough to get out of breath;
- Swimming is good for those with arthritis and joint problems, especially in the legs;
- Water can provide resistance to help improve strength;
- It has also been shown to improve mental state and make you feel happier.
- Strengthen muscles so they become more efficient at using oxygen;
- Keep your heart healthy – reducing the risk of a heart attack;
- Keep blood pressure under control;
- Improve bone strength;
- Engage your abdominals and strengthen your core;
- Promote the release of endorphins which make you feel happy and more awake.
But be careful not to overdo it as the impact on your joints could lead to stress fractures and cartilage loss. If you are going to run regularly make sure you know how much is appropriate for your body.
- Improved cholesterol levels and strengthened bones
- Keeping blood pressure in check and lowering the risk of a number of diseases including diabetes and some cancers;
- Helping to lift your mood:
- A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical exercise can even improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.
- Try to make activity part of your day. Walk or cycle rather than take the car. Go for a brisk walk at lunchtime. Use the stairs at work rather than the lift. And taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
- Beneficial activity is strenuous enough to raise your heart rate, make you breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity. You’ll be able to talk but not sing the words of a song.
- If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. During vigorous activity you will be breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate will go up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
- strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)
- at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling, walking, dancing, doubles tennis, water aerobics, pushing a lawn mower every week
- 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running, fast swimming, football or a game of singles tennis every week.
- a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week. For example, two 30-minute runs, plus 30 minutes of fast walking.
WHAT ARE MUSCLE CRAMPS AND HOW CAN WE PREVENT THEM
- Poor blood circulation
- Dehydration – insufficient fluid intake pre and post exercise
- Overexertion of muscles whilst exercising causing muscle fatigue
- Exercising in the heat – causing dehydration and muscle fatigue
- Lack of conditioning (weak muscles that will then fatigue early)
- Insufficient stretching prior to exercise (tight muscles)
As you can see its all about hydration, nutrition and fatigue!
Treatment and prevention
An attack of cramp can be relieved by moderate static stretching of the affected muscle.
For recurrent bouts of cramp it’s advisable to see a physiotherapist who can take a proper medical history to determine any predisposing conditions that may have triggered the cramps, as well as ruling out any more serious injury.
In terms of prevention, there are a few things worth considering:
Drinking a litre of water or a hypotonic sports drink at least an hour before sports or exercise will help ensure that fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients have been absorbed and are available in the body, therefore acting as a preventative measure for muscle cramps.
Try prevention exercises that target calf muscles such as ….
Plyometric exercises are designed to train the elastic strength and explosive ability of muscle to enhance performance. This combination of speed and strength is power.
Endurance training may also be an effective way of preventing muscle cramps by helping you keep going for longer.
For further guidance and advice on the treatment and prevention of muscle cramps, or how to be your own physio then I can help. Contact me today to arrange a consultation.