Exercise therapy: how it is conducted and how it is useful
Date of publication: 23 Sep 2021
Exercise therapy is the most physiological, natural and extremely effective method of treatment, which is used for almost any diseases, injuries, at any age. Physical therapy is based on one of the main biological functions of the body - movement, as the main stimulator of growth, development and formation of the body. The physical exercises used in physical therapy are specially selected depending on the type of disease and the condition of the patient.
Types of exercise therapy
- Morning hygienic gymnastics – it is performed in the morning immediately after waking up in medical institutions, as well as independently at home. Morning gymnastics helps strengthen the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, improve metabolism, and also exerts a general toning effect on the whole body. The duration of exercises depends on the condition of the patient and conditions of the place the exercises are done (in the ward, outdoors) and makes 10-20 minutes.
- Physical therapy – it has a restorative effect on the body, solves the tasks set in accordance with the disease and its stage. Physical exercises are a powerful stimulant of the vital functions of the human body. Exercises in a group are organized with the patients grouped according to the nature of the disease and its stage and course. In the course of the exercises, sports equipment and auxiliary devices can be used to obtain a more pronounced effect.
Methods of physical therapy
- Individual physical therapy – it is used in the early postoperative period for the patients whose motor ability is limited;
- Group physical therapy - patients are recruited into the group in accordance with the patient's disease and their functional capabilities.
- Advisory or independent physical therapy - before discharge, the patient is taught a special set of exercises, which he will later perform at home to consolidate the results already achieved.
Physical therapy is practiced in healthcare institutions: in hospitals, sanatoriums, polyclinics. The duration of individual exercises for patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system is 10-15 minutes, and group exercises last for 30-45 minutes.
Physical therapy classes consist of three parts:
Introductory part. It takes 10-20% of the time of the entire class. The exercises of the introductory part prepare the body for further stress and have a tonic effect on the body. The introductory part consists of simple exercises for the trunk, arms, legs. This may also include quiet games, walking, and breathing exercises.
The main part. It makes up 60-80% of the entire class time. It is focused on restoring body functions, improving the nutrition of muscles and spinal structures, and the formation of compensations. Special exercises recommended for patients with a certain disease are done. Sports equipment and applied exercises can also be used.
The final part. It takes 10-20% of the total time. The main tasks are aimed at reducing the load, restoring the functions of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Breathing exercises, free walking, as well as attention and relaxation exercises are done.
Varieties of physical therapy
- Independent exercises – these are a specially designed set of physical exercises. Exercises should be done 3-5 times during the day to increase the effectiveness of physical therapy. Independent exercises exert a serious effect in the treatment of diseases of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
- Therapeutic walking – it is carried out in the form of walking or dosed walking. Walking is used for prevention of cardiovascular and other diseases and rehabilitation after them. In addition, this type of exercise therapy increases the overall tone of the body. There are individual recommendations for therapeutic walking depending on age, health status, level of physical fitness.
- Standardized climbing (Terrainkur) is one of the varieties of therapeutic walking. Terrainkur represents special walking routes with the elements of climbing, which usually are found in the conditions of a sanatorium-resort area over rough or mountainous terrain. The intensity of physical activity during the ascent depends on the terrain, the rate of walking, the number of stops, their duration, as well as the length of the route developed.
- Sports exercises and sports games are another kind of physical therapy that has become widespread in rehabilitation centers and sanatoriums. Classes are supervised by a physical therapy instructor. He teaches the technique of the game and controls the degree of physical load.
Thus, sports games (tennis, baseball, badminton, croquet, bowling) and exercises (rowing, skiing) restore motor capabilities, increase performance, improve general condition and strengthen the body as a whole.
Types of exercises
- Active exercises - the patient does the exercises independently.
- Passive exercises - the patient does exercises with the help of special simulators or a physical therapy instructor.
In different periods of the disease, the degrees of loads are divided into therapeutic, tonic (supportive) and training ones:
- Therapeutic loads are used for therapeutic effect on the affected organ or system, prevention of possible complications, formation of compensation;
- Tonic loads are used following the rehabilitation treatment of severe chronic diseases or prolonged immobility (immobilization). Moderate or high intensity exercises are prescribed to consolidate the result achieved in the period of treatment, as well as to stimulate the functions of the main systems.
- Training loads are used in the period of rehabilitation treatment and recovery, to restore body functions and improve performance.
When therapeutic exercises are required?
Physical therapy is prescribed by the attending physician. Indications for physical therapy are as follows:
- treatment and rehabilitation of patients after heart and vascular diseases;
- degenerative pathologies of the musculoskeletal system - arthrosis, arthritis, flat foot, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, etc.
- inflammatory and chronic diseases of the bronchi and lungs;
- recovery after injuries - fractures, dislocations, ruptures of ligaments and tendons, soft tissue injuries, as well as the period of rehabilitation after surgery;
- endocrine disorders – diabetes mellitus, obesity;
- diseases and disorders of the digestive system;
- prevention and treatment of inflammatory and hormonal diseases of gynecological profile;
- neurological pathologies - radiculitis, osteochondrosis, paresis, hernia, etc.
Physical exercises are a stimulant of vital functions of the body that help maintain health and lead an active life. However, there may be health restrictions for intense activities in various sports. There is a number of diseases in which physical therapy is the only available type of physical activity approved by doctors. Therefore, it is difficult to overestimate the benefits of physical therapeutic exercises.
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