Physiotherapy involves the use of movement to restore skeletal and muscular function, correct impairments, ease pain, and maintain a better quality of life. For example, adults aged 18-60 with back pain and sciatica showed less disability and decreased back pain after one month of physiotherapy compared to a group of adults who just attended back care education sessions, a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals. Whether your goal is to improve pain, gain strength, boost fitness, or lose weight, physiotherapy can complement your fitness regime and even help you stick to it.
Physical therapy may involve strengthening exercises designed to improve muscle strength, efficiency, function, and quality of movement, as well as reduce energy expenditure, lower risk of injury, and prevent arthritic conditions. Strength training usually involves graded resistance training exercises. For beginner exercisers, starting with an intensity of 60-70% 1 repetition maximum (1RM) is recommended – your 1RM simply being how much weight you can lift, press, squat, push, or deadlift. Training at a certain percentage of your 1RM puts an amount of stress on a muscle over time, which will help ensure the fastest rate of muscle growth. Above all, your strength training programme should be designed for your individual health and fitness level and goals.
Make Time for Massage
Whether it is myofascial release, petrissage (a massage technique that involves kneading the body), or compression, massage therapy is an important component of physical therapy. By looking at how massage affects muscle tissue and cellular function, one study found massage to be effective at regulating post-exercise inflammation and promoting healing. After intense exercise, the body naturally shows an increase in genes associated with inflammation and repair. In the study, massaged legs displayed a 30% increase in PGC-1alpha expression, a gene that aids muscles in the building of mitochondria, which are responsible for converting cell’s food into energy. They also had three times less NF-kB (an inflammatory protein) than unmassaged legs. An excess of NF-kB is linked to inflammation, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), as well as even autoimmune disease and cancer.
Physiotherapy is also effective at improving mobility and range of motion. For example, if you have lower back pain, there are stretches and spinal movements that can help ease discomfort, release any stress on your spine, and improve mobility. Cat camel, in particular, is a simple yet effective exercise that can help in this regard. All you have to do is get down on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists. Inhale deeply and arch your back. Exhale and drop your chest while keeping your head lifted. Make sure to keep your abs engaged. Repeat this exercise ten times. Cat camel effectively stretches the connective tissue surrounding nerve branches connected to the spine, therefore decreasing inflammation and improving range of motion.
Physical therapy can be a beneficial addition to your fitness regime. Strengthening exercises, massage, and mobility exercises can each improve quality of life and help prevent health conditions and chronic diseases like obesity, osteoporosis, and Type 2 diabetes.