Friday, 25 August 2017

Addressing Multiple Injuries

Because biokinetics involves looking at the entire body and the way in which it moves, biokineticists are able to assess and rehabilitate more than one injury at a time. Often two injuries may even be linked and it is then useful to rehabilitate them together anyway. This is one of the main differences between biokinetics and physiotherapy, a common question among the general public.

Physiotherapists treat symptoms, providing immediate relief by use of massage, heat, cold and various other techniques. Biokineticists look at the entire body to establish what is causing the problem in the first place, such as imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility. Appropriate exercises are then prescribed to try and correct these imbalances so that hopefully the injury does not keep recurring. It is, therefore, a slower process and changes are often only noticed after six weeks of regular rehabilitative exercise. However, it is hopefully a long-term solution.

It is for this reason that biokineticists can rehabilitate multiple injuries at the same time and, often, it is easier to do so. For example, one may have tendinitis in the ankle and also complain of knee pain in the opposite leg. There is a very good chance that the knee pain is as a result of overcompensation for the pain in the opposite ankle. Or, one might experience pain in the knee of the same leg as the ankle, again due to compensation. If there is a sore or weak point somewhere in the body, chances are very good that somewhere else, something will be compensating for that weakness, which may lead to further pain or injury.

This is also why it is so important to complete a rehabilitation programme. Until the injury is completely rehabilitated, meaning there is no longer an imbalance in muscle strength or flexibility, the injury may recur or other problems may arise due to compensation.

So, biokinetics may be a long process, but if you follow the programme you are given properly and to the end, it can be very successful and you may be tackling two birds with one stone. The knowledge you will gain regarding body awareness and technique will also stand you in good stead for the future in terms of your physical functioning.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Autism and Exercise

Autism is a developmental condition that is normally diagnosed in childhood and is present throughout a person’s life. It affects one’s social skills, as people with this condition struggle to communicate normally and social interaction is generally a problem. These individuals like to stick to a specific routine and don’t cope well when this routine is disrupted. Due to the psychological nature of the condition, those with autism may experience low self-esteem, leading to poor posture and low muscle tone. They may also be overweight due to physical inactivity.

Exercise cannot change the actual condition; however, it is an important tool in managing the symptoms associated with autism. An individual who participates in a regular exercise regimen will reap all the benefits associated with any regular exercise routine, including improved cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and endurance, as well as enhanced ability to perform daily activities.

More specific to those with autism are the psychological benefits. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, or happy hormones, which improve mood and mental wellbeing. Specific exercises to improve posture should also be included in the exercise programme. By performing new exercises, individuals are given a sense of achievement, leading to enhanced self-esteem. Exercising in an appropriate social environment can contribute to improved social interaction.

There are some factors that need to be considered by the exercise specialist when working with a person with autism. These individuals may come across as lacking in intellectual capacity because their social cues are not the same as people without autism; however, they are in fact very intelligent individuals and should be treated as such. Like all people, they will have good and bad days; however, these mood changes are often amplified as they are unable to ‘hide their feelings’ and so we must be sensitive to this. The environment should have minimal distractions and be a safe and positive space. The most important thing is that these individuals enjoy their exercise sessions so that they are a rewarding and positive experience. It is the role of the biokineticist or exercise specialist to encourage and promote this positive, healthy and active lifestyle.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a complex breathing condition affecting not only the ventilatory system, but also the respiratory, cardiovascular and muscular systems. Ventilatory problems include increased resistance of the airways, increased effort to breath, weakness and fatigue of the ventilatory muscles, inefficient breathing and later, failure to breathe. Respiratory problems refer to the impaired exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) at a cellular level in the lungs. Cardiovascular complications include reduced cardiovascular fitness due to decreased physical activity, and inadequate cardiac function with increased demand. Muscular problems include deconditioning as a result of reduced physical activity.

People with COPD also often suffer with psychological complications such as depression, as they are unable to perform normal daily activities, and anxiety linked to their symptoms, the most common of which is breathlessness.

As exercise increases breathing rate and cardiac output, people with COPD will most likely experience difficulty with exercise and thus often do not participate in any regular physical activity. It is important, however, that individuals with this condition do participate in regular exercise in order to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance, balance, flexibility, and body composition leading to enhanced self image. Exercise also helps to desensitize one’s response to breathlessness, assisting in the management of symptoms and thus reducing anxiety. Breathing also becomes more efficient and effective with appropriate exercise.

It is important to consider the effects of certain medications on exercise capacity, as these individuals are often on various medications to manage their condition. Exercise programming will thus need to be individualised and must be adjusted each day, depending on how the individual is feeling. Some individuals may need to monitor their oxyhaemoglobin saturation levels, especially in the early days of starting an exercise programme. It is important to always listen to one’s symptoms and adjust the exercise intensity accordingly, and allow lots of rest intervals.

The main goal is to keep one engaged in an ongoing regular exercise regimen. It must therefore be manageable from a physical capacity perspective, and enjoyable to ensure that it is continued. Then, not only will one reap the disease-related benefits, but also the many other benefits of participating in a regular exercise regimen.

ACSM’s Exercise Management for Person’s with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities

Thursday, 9 February 2017

What can a Biokineticist do for you?

Biokinetics is the use of exercise and movement as a form of rehabilitation or therapy. A biokineticist, therefore, uses exercise and movement to enhance the wellness and functionality of an individual’s physical state to improve the individual’s quality of life.

There are three main areas in which biokinetics is involved, namely orthopaedic rehabilitation, chronic disease management and general wellness.

Orthopaedic rehabilitation: generally, if a person suffers an injury or has surgery (ligament reconstruction, joint replacement, spinal fusion, etc.), s/he should see a biokineticist, after physiotherapy, to strengthen the affected muscles, so that the person can return to their daily activities or sporting activities with reduced risk of recurrence. Often, biokinetics is also recommended prior to surgery (prehab), to strengthen appropriate muscles to support the affected area, thus speeding up the post-surgery rehabilitation.

Chronic disease management: exercise is used as a form of medicine to assist in the management of numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, arthritis and many more. Certain conditions respond to certain types of exercise, so the biokineticist will provide appropriate exercises for the specific condition.

General wellness: biokineticists will assess and then provide exercise programmes to improve an individual’s general health status, by assisting with weight management, general fitness and muscle strengthening.

So, if you require assistance with any of the following, contact a biokineticist:
·         Sports injury rehabilitation
·         Post-operative rehabilitation
·         Orthopaedic rehabilitation
·         Chronic disease management
·         Posture and gait correction
·         Diabetes and exercise education
·         Pre-and post-natal exercise
·         Other physical conditions

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Keeping Active this Holiday Season

As we approach the holiday season, we must not let ourselves lose all the physical fitness we have worked so hard to improve throughout the year. Having said that, it is important to take a break from the everyday routine that we find ourselves in, so that we are motivated to start afresh in the new year. So, here are some suggestions on how you and your family can keep active during the holiday season.

If you are staying home this season, try to do different physical activities, such as walks in the park with your family or friends, going to the zoo, going ice skating, playing with your children in the garden, and swimming. Go to the gym and attend different classes that you normally aren’t able to get to.

If you are going on holiday, walk on the beach, swim, play with the kids, walk instead of taking the car/bus whenever possible, and take the stairs instead of the lift. Choose 3 simple exercises that you can do each morning to start your day.

Remember: you feel better when you keep active! Exercise also helps you relax. So, look for ways to stay active this holiday, rather than loafing around. Do enjoyable and different activities with your families. Most importantly, relax and have fun!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017!!!