Physiology, is defined by The Physiological Society as ‘the study of life’. Understanding the processes of cell function, through to how our body integrates to function as a whole.
Exercise is a planned, structured progressively repetitive activity to improve health and wellness.
Exercise physiology, or an exercise physiologist is therefore someone who uses evidence-based, scientific research to guide their treatment of subacute and chronic conditions with appropriate exercise-based interventions.
Chronic conditions or injuries range from cardiovascular, metabolic or musculoskeletal but to name a few. Some examples are: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, frozen shoulder or a fractured ankle. These conditions can occur individually or can co-exist with some people experiencing multiple of these conditions at once.
In July of 2019, 65 year old Jerry (not his real name), came to The Neighbourhood Clinic with pain in his right foot, which was affecting his balance. He also had high blood pressure and was overweight. We performed various assessments on Jerry as a baseline measurement when he first come to see us. One such assessment to determine Jerry’s aerobic capacity/endurance is the Six Minute Walk Test. This test requires the client to walk between two points 30 meters apart, repeatedly for 6 minutes. The total distance that the client walks is was calculated at the end.
Jerry was able to walk a total distance of 250 metres in 6 minutes. This distance placed Jerry in the ‘very poor’ category for age related norms.
The second test that we asked Jerry to undertake is called the Sit-To-Stand test. This tests for lower limb strength and requires the client to stand from a chair and sit back down as many times as possible in a 30 second time period. Jerry was able to perform 10 Sit-To-Stands in 30 seconds. Jerry committed to two exercise sessions per week in our clinic and one session at home with his home program. The program that was written for Jerry consisted of progressive resistance training, an aerobic exercise component and balance exercises.
After 3 months we retested Jerry for the Six Minute Walk Test and the Sit-To-Stand test.
The results were impressive - Jerry's Six Minute Walk Test improved from 250 metres to 587 metres - a massive increase of 337 metres. This now placed Jerry in the 'above average' category for age related norms.
Jerry had also improved with his Sit-To-Stand results - he could now complete 15 sets in 30 seconds - an increase of 5 repetitions. We, and Jerry, were so happy with these results. Jerry is only one case, but there are many more.