Latest News & Research: 14 November 2017

This week: Inflamed muscle? Train it • Why PTs should affiliate with mental health clinics • New free app to help your clients eat 3 veggies a day • Great value of exercise in advanced breast cancer

Great value of exercise in advanced breast cancer

New research has found that regular exercise can bring a host of benefits to women being treated for advanced breast cancer.

A Portuguese study of a small cohort of 15 women found that a combination of aerobic and strength training can reduce fatigue and pain caused by their medical treatment, and improve cardiovascular health and quality of life.

After a 12-week exercise program, study participants that worked out for two hours a week experienced an average increase in VO2max of 12.3%, whereas the non-exercisers who were undergoing regular care showed a 2.7% average improvement. They also displayed a large increase in VO2max power and reported a reduction in self-reported pain.

Lead study author Professor Eduardo Oliveira commented; ‘The research shows that participating in a moderate exercise programme for 12 weeks had a good impact on overall quality of life and, importantly, on control of pain and fatigue, which is a common and hard-to-control cancer symptom. The findings are excellent news for advanced breast cancer patients. The fact that it is easy to implement makes these findings potentially practice-changing when confirmed in larger numbers of patients.’

Inflamed muscle? Train it

Endurance training can assist in the recovery of inflamed muscles, according to recent research.

Myositis, as it’s also known, can be caused by injury, disease or infection. Because of the nature of the condition, it has been widely assumed that training the inflamed muscle could be painful and aggravate the condition.

Swedish researchers at Karolinska University, however, discovered that endurance training creates molecules that decrease the volume of cells that attack the muscle in individuals with muscle inflammation, and by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis also heals the muscle.

Study author Kanneboyina Nagaraju commented ‘what is surprising is the question of why exercise is so effective. It's because exercise takes care of the immune cells that are damaging the muscle while simultaneously targeting specific parts of dead or affected muscles.’

New FREE app to help your clients eat 3 veggies a day

Australia’s scientific research body, the CSIRO, has created an app to help Aussies eat more vegetables in response to data showing that two-thirds of us don’t eat enough plants.

With its gamified 21-day ‘VegEze Do 3 at Dinner’ app, the CSIRO is aiming to get people into the habit of consuming more vegetables.

CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist Professor Manny Noakes said ‘Committing to eating more vegetables every day is one of the most important ways we can improve our health today. Boosting your intake can be as easy as having three types of vegetables taking up half of your dinner plate.’

You may well be eating your fair share of the good stuff, but odds are that many of your clients aren’t yet. Why not suggest they take the ‘VegEze Do 3 at Dinner’ challenge by downloading the app from HERE.

PTs should affiliate with mental health clinics to enhance patient outcomes

The positive correlations between physical activity and improved mental health have been illustrated by numerous studies, and now new research has reinforced this.

In a survey of almost 300 patients at a mental health facility, US researchers found that 80% believed that exercise helped reduce anxiety and boost their mood, and 85% expressed a desire to move more.

A problem, however, is that many study participants said that their ability to exercise was limited by their mood – making it somewhat of a vicious cycle. This lead Carol Janney, lead study author, to suggest that ‘Offering physical activity programs inside the mental health clinics may be one of many patient-centred approaches that can improve the mental and physical health of patients.’

Marcia Valenstein, senior author and professor emeritus in psychiatry at the University of Michigan, concurred, saying ‘Mental health treatment programs need to partner with fitness programs to support their patients' willingness to exercise more. This support might come from integrating personal trainers into mental health clinics or having strong partnerships with the YMCA or other community recreational facilities.’