Exercise to stay healthy! Can people with multiple chronic conditions benefit from Exercising?

by  Mireia Coll I Omaña [physiotherapist]
Life expectancy has improved tremendously over the last few decades exceeding the age of 75 years in many countries worldwide […]

Life expectancy has improved tremendously over the last few decades exceeding the age of 75 years in many countries worldwide [1]. However, the number of people at risk of chronic health conditions, such as stroke, diabetes, mental health conditions, is also growing rapidly [2, 3]. Also, people living with these types of chronic health conditions often have multiple rather than a single condition [4]. “Multimorbidity” is the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions associated with decreased quality of life, functional and mental decline, and increased need for medical attention [5].

People with multimorbidity need health care programs to improve their physical, mental, emotional, and social health [6]. However, beyond pharmacological treatment, there are very few alternative solutions for these patients [7]. Yet, some research studies have found that exercise may be an excellent treatment for those living with multimorbidity [8]. Exercise has been shown to have an incredible positive overall effect on health, such as lowering blood pressure [9], improving muscle strength, body coordination [10], and cognitive function [11]. Exercising with regularity is an activity that anyone can do and can benefit a range of chronic conditions. Physical exercise can be a positive and rewarding behavior that reinforces itself and poses a low risk of harmful side effects except that the impact will diminish if exercising is stopped.

Exercising can improve quality of life and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms [12]. But, can people with multiple chronic conditions benefit from exercising as well? According to recent research [8], people with multimorbidity can improve mental and physical health by exercising on a weekly basis. Light aerobic workouts, strength training, or a combination of the two can promote health benefits for people living with chronic conditions.

So let's start start slowly with some healthy exercising! Remember the amount of exercise you need depends on your health and age. Always check with your physiotherapist on what is right for you.

 

References

[1] World mortality report https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/mortality/WMR2013/World_Mortality_2013_Report.pdf

[2] Hurst, J. R., Agarwal, G., van Boven, J. F., Daivadanam, M., Gould, G. S., Huang, E. W. C., … & Soriano, J. B. (2020). Critical review of multimorbidity outcome measures suitable for low-income and middle-income country settings: perspectives from the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) researchers. BMJ open10(9), e037079.

[3] Salisbury, C. (2012). Multimorbidity: redesigning health care for people who use it. The Lancet380(9836), 7-9.

[4] Tran, V. T., Diard, E., & Ravaud, P. (2020). Priorities to improve the care for chronic conditions and multimorbidity: a survey of patients and stakeholders nested within the ComPaRe e-cohort. BMJ Quality & Safety.

[5] Multimorbidity: a priority for Global health research …… https://acmedsci.ac.uk/file-download/39787360

[6] Smith, S. M., Wallace, E., Salisbury, C., Sasseville, M., Bayliss, E., & Fortin, M. (2018). A core outcome set for multimorbidity research (COSmm). The Annals of Family Medicine16(2), 132-138.

[7] Smith, S. M., Wallace, E., O’Dowd, T., & Fortin, M. (2016). Interventions for improving outcomes in patients with multimorbidity in primary care and community settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).

[8] Bricca, A., Harris, L. K., Saracutu, M., Smith, S. M., Juhl, C. B., & Skou, S. T. (2020). Benefits and harms of exercise therapy in people with multimorbidity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Ageing research reviews, 101166.

[9] Cornelissen, V. A., & Smart, N. A. (2013). Exercise training for blood pressure: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of the American heart association2(1), e004473.

[10] Seguin, R., & Nelson, M. E. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American journal of preventive medicine25(3), 141-149.

[11] Karssemeijer, E. E., Aaronson, J. J., Bossers, W. W., Smits, T. T., & Kessels, R. R. (2017). Positive effects of combined cognitive and physical exercise training on cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment or dementia: A meta-analysis. Ageing research reviews40, 75-83.

[12] Middleton, L. E., Mitnitski, A., Fallah, N., Kirkland, S. A., & Rockwood, K. (2008). Changes in cognition and mortality in relation to exercise in late life: a population based study. PloS one3(9), e3124.

Article written by mireia

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