Understanding Exercise & Activity
What is Exercise?
Exercise is anything that gets you moving and using your body. It can be anything you enjoy that might raise your heart rate and/or make you breathe a little harder. Exercise does not just mean going to the gym or doing sport.
Why Should I Exercise?
Exercise has a lot of benefits for our Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. Exercise can help reduce our risk of developing cancers, heart disease, mental health conditions, and help us live longer happier lives.
The short video below discusses the broad range of benefits to health, life expectancy, and quality of life from exercise.
Resistance exercise is great at helping manage many conditions including:
Low Back Pain
High Blood Pressure
Peripheral Vascular Disease
What Should I Feel When I Exercise?
It is normal and okay to feel some discomfort while you are exercising and afterwards. If this soreness lasts for more than 24 hours, wait for the symptoms to settle and then try an easier version of the exercise. For most people you do not need to be in pain for exercise to be effective.
How Much and What Exercise Should I Do?
You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise a week. These include walking, running, swimming, climbing stairs, sport, cycling and much more.
You should do something to improve your balance at least 2x a week. This includes dance, bowls, Tai Chi, Yoga, and much more.
You should do strength exercises at least 2x a week to keep your muscles, bones, and joints strong. This includes carrying heavy bags, Pilates, weight lifting, and more.
Why Do We Use Strengthening to Rehabilitate Tendons?
“There isn’t a quick fix for tendons. People want something that’s latest, greatest, expensive; they’re not always the answer for tendons. The answer is unless you have the capacity in your tendon, muscle, kinetic chain and brain, then you’re going to have tendon pain.” (Jill Cook)
When tendons are painful, they also tend to present with weakness in the tendon and surrounding muscles. Imaging may come back as having ‘degenerative’ changes or ‘tears’. These are very common and do not have to be the cause of your symptoms. We will never be able to return the structure of your tendon back to a ‘normal’ tendon; however you can build strength and a pain free tendon.
The role of rehabilitations is to help get you back to your activities with improved symptoms. Strength training is the most effective and most common way to build tendon capacity. This means that the tendon will be able to withstand more load with less pain. In other words, walking, running, jumping and changing direction can be completed with much more comfort.
Your rehabilitation will start by trying to increase the mass of the muscle. Without this, you cannot build maximal strength, power or endurance. The tendon allows the muscle to attach to bone and acts like an elastic band. The stronger the muscle, the longer the muscle becomes. This will then put less stretch and stress through the ‘elastic band’ tendon and in turn reduces the load and demand on the tendon.
How can I have more strength than someone else who doesn’t have pain? You may be stronger than someone else, but are you asking your body to do more? You might need more strength for your body to be able to deal with the loads you are trying to put it through. This might be because you are more active, are a heavier build or just generally ask more from your body.
Ultimately, the stronger you are, the greater the load you can put through your tendon and the better your symptoms can be.
What Help is There for Me to Get Active?
It is often difficult to know where to start when it comes to exercise. We have collected a number of resources below to help you get active.
The Cuppa Routine
A video series of exercises you can do in the time it takes the kettle to boil. Please be aware this video may have adverts before or during its runtime.
Improve Your Balance in Five Minutes
An exercise video to help improve your balance in just five minutes.
NHS Fitness Studio
NHS Live Well – Fitness Studio has a range of fitness and activity support information and videos.
Here you will find general advice, where to start, and how to become more active as well as links to local groups.
Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease
The Walk With Ease program is offered as a self-guided course or in a community setting. Choose the format that suits you best.
CSP Love Activity, Hate Exercise
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapist’s campaign offers help with being active with a long-term condition, getting started with exercise, and advice on getting inspired.