Preventive health is sometimes an underexposed aspect of the healthcare system. Any program or intervention that can improve your current physical and emotional health will in the long run decrease the possibility of incurring an injury or illness. Many aspects of today’s society are detrimental to our physical health. We live in communities where travel occurs by automobile, rather than on foot or by bicycle. We spend increasing hours at sedentary jobs operating computers or automated equipment. Our food is increasingly processed and preserved.
Overall, this leaves Australian residents in poorer physical health. As well, our children are demonstrating shocking trends toward increasing levels of obesity and time spent at television and computer screens, rather than participating in healthy levels of physical activity. As a result, diseases of lifestyle such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension are also on the increase.
However, the solutions to these problems are within our grasp.
Physiotherapists know how to help those who have sustained impairments because we understand the processes that initially caused them at the start. Whether it’s a, sports injury, neuropathy, overuse or anything else that may cause impairment, physiotherapists can offer advice and guidance on how to avoid these root causes of disability. We can be leaders in prevention.
Individuals who hope to improve their level of physical health can make very large improvements with very small changes to their lifestyle. For example, research suggests that for overweight individuals, a decrease as small as 5–10 per cent of body mass can significantly improve health in terms of blood pressure, blood glucose, levels of pain and cardiac function.
Increased physical activity levels in conjunction with proper nutrition are the recurring themes in management of these “lifestyle-related” ailments. Better still, prevent such illnesses by incorporating a healthy level of physical activity into your lifestyle, before the problem occurs.
Physiotherapy offers several preventive health programs to help you get started, which may include:
- Fitness testing and exercise program design
- Cardiovascular exercise programs
- Weight/diabetes management programs
- Sport specific conditioning
- Injury prevention
- Falls prevention
- Prevention and management of injury in the workplace
- Pre-operative rehabilitation for joint replacement/reconstruction surgery
- Pre-operative rehabilitation for general surgery
The secret of the achievement of a healthy physical state is in the prevention, everybody knows that prevention is better than cure according to popular wisdom. Talk to your physiotherapist about what you can do to prevent and treat a variety of health problems related to your family history, living or work environment, and lifestyle activities.