What is Australia’s Biggest Killer?
What do you think is Australia’s biggest killer? Sharks? Snakes? Spiders? Car accidents? No to all of them. In 2013 more than 7000 deaths in Australia were due to obesity related illnesses. The Australian Physiotherapist Association has published a great piece talking about ‘the killer couch’ referring to the general population who are leading a more sedentary lifestyle. Obesity increases our risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney disease and certain cancers just to name a few.
Here at ARC we work with people of varying levels of independence and physical activity and quite often with people who have had a stroke or other neurological event or condition. The focus of therapy quite often is towards achieving a functional goal such as standing, walking or dressing. However, if we do not have the cardiovascular (CV) fitness to complete this task it makes it even harder. What I mean by CV fitness is the ability of the heart to pump oxygenated blood to our muscles to be able to perform an activity. Improving CV fitness can improve your endurance to be able to achieve a task.
So how do we improve our CV fitness? First you need to establish your level of CV fitness and this can be completed through a test known as VO2 MAX. This is the maximum volume of oxygen your body can consume and use. Now a VO2 MAX test is not always suitable but a modified version can be carried out. Next an appropriate structured exercise program needs to be developed and carried out. Your CV fitness can then be tested again to see your improvements. However, you will also notice improvements in your CV fitness through your energy levels to perform individual tasks.
So how can we help at ARC? We have many group classes that focus on increasing your independence in activities of daily living such as walking and dressing. However, a component of these exercises is increasing strength and cardiovascular fitness. In the New Year we will be releasing Neuro Fit our new circuit class focusing purely on improving your CV fitness which will be run by our exercise physiologist Jason where your fitness level will be tested then an appropriate exercise program developed and carried out. If you have any questions about any of our group classes or our upcoming Neuro Fit please contact ARC on 02 9906 7777.