Neurological Conditions and Exercise

What is a Neurological Condition vs Abnormality?

The World Health Organisation (2019) defines neurological conditions as diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. This includes conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction and muscles. The common neurological conditions are epilepsy, dementia, stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy.

Brain abnormalities are different to neurological conditions and are defined as any structural, functional or biochemical change to the brain. There are many types of brain abnormalities however individuals with congenital structural changes to the brain such as Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum or Dandy-Walker Malformation can share similar symptoms to the neurological conditions mentioned above and therefore can benefit from exercise in a similar way.

What are the common neurological symptoms?

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscular tremors and involuntary contractions
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Increased or decreased muscle tone
  • Decreased balance and proprioception
  • Decreased muscle coordination
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and Depression

 

How can people with neurological conditions benefit from exercise?

There are many benefits of exercise for neurological conditions apart from the general benefits of increased cardiovascular fitness, improved muscle and bone strength and changes in body composition.

Researchers have now discovered a correlation between exercise and the prevention or delay of neuro-degenerative symptoms, such as the reduction in motor skills, in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease (Foundation, 2019). They have also found this neuro-protective effect in individuals with Parkinson’s disease as exercise slows the disease progression and has been shown to improve their gait, balance, tremors and flexibility (Parkinson’s Foundation, 2019).

There is a strong evidence supporting progressive resistance training in individuals with neurological conditions (Kjølhede, Vissing and Dalgas, 2012). This type of exercise improves muscular strength, joint stability and reduces muscle wasting in individuals with low muscle tone. It has also been shown to improve overall functional capacity, balance and self-reported fatigue levels.

 

This is Anna, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum, completing a structured and individualised exercise program at Longevity Exercise Physiology.

 

Poor mental health is of high prevalence in individuals with neurological conditions. Our understanding of exercise has evolved to play a very important role in the management and treatment of these conditions. Exercising regularly releases what is known as endorphins, which is a ‘feel good’ hormone and other neurotransmitters. Once triggered, this hormone can provide a protective effect to future episodes of depression. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress levels, improve concentration and self-confidence.

 

What is the NDIS and how can an Accredited Exercise Physiologist help you get started?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support for Australians with disability, their families and carers. The aim of the NDIS is to provide support for those affected to build skills and capability so that they can participate in the community and employment. The NDIS allow services under the Improved Health and Wellbeing Category and the Improved Daily Living Skills Category for exercise and physical activity via Accredited Exercise Physiologists.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist’s are university qualified allied health professionals that specialise in the treatment and management of individuals with chronic health conditions. They can design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions to suit the individual’s needs.

Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology provide these services at our four locations in Sydney – Edgecliff, Lindfield, Randwick and Marrickville.

 

Please contact us for more information:

Ph: 1300 964 002

E: info@longevitypt.com.au

W: www.longevitypt.com.au

 

Written by

Daniel Elias Arciuli
AEP AES ESSAM
Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Accredited Exercise Scientist
Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology

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