The Pill That Everyone Should be Taking
By Benita Helmore and Jack Armfield, 4th year physiotherapy students at Good Country Physiotherapy
If there was a pill that would keep your bones and muscles strong, improve your mood and help maintain your independence, would you take it?
Statistics from the Social Health Atlas of Australia show a higher rate of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis in the Naracoorte & Lucindale District compared to the state average. Although this might seem disheartening, The Heart Foundation states that 80% of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is preventable.
So, what can you do about it and what is this magical pill?
Well, this pill is physical activity. Getting enough physical activity reduces your risk of developing various chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. Research has shown that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a 20-30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. Exercise has been shown to provide many other positive benefits too, especially as we age. Regular exercise helps bones and muscles become stronger. This can protect your body from injury and reduce pain. There is strong evidence that any type of exercise reduces the rate of falls in people over 65 by 23%. Even more benefits are found when this exercise includes balance training. Being active releases ‘feel good’ hormones in the body which can improve your mood, ease anxiety and help fight depression. Exercise allows you to maintain your independence, keeping you stronger for longer so you can continue to do what you love.