Best 5 Ways Physiotherapy can improve your Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular health is paramount to overall well-being, influencing not only our heart and circulation but our body as a whole. While we’ve seen a general trend towards “strengthen everything” and “you can’t go wrong getting strong”, it’s important to never underestimate the benefits of cardio and your cardiovascular health. 30-years ago I remember my PE teacher saying to us, cardiovascular health is the foundation for all other fitness, and he placed as the base of the pyramid. While medications, dietary changes, and regular medical check-ups are normal interventions, physiotherapy has emerged as a valuable complementary approach to enhancing cardiovascular health. Here are the top five ways physiotherapy can benefit the heart and circulatory system:
Improving Exercise Tolerance:
Cardiac Rehabilitation: After a cardiac event like a heart attack or surgery, the body needs a structured approach to regain strength. Physiotherapists can develop individualised cardiac rehabilitation programs. These programs gradually increase in intensity, ensuring that the heart gets stronger over time without unnecessary strain.
Increased Stamina: By working on muscle strength and endurance, physiotherapy helps patients improve their exercise tolerance, meaning they can be active for longer periods without fatigue.
Home Exercises: Our physios will set you exercises that are appropriate for you, and they’ll be your accountability coach. A cardio exercise could be something simple like this:
Or something more common like this:
Optimised Breathing Techniques:
Enhanced Oxygenation: Proper breathing techniques ensure that the blood receives optimal oxygen, which is essential for the heart and other organs. A physiotherapist can teach techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and piston breathing (see video below), which enhances lung capacity and efficiency.
Stress Reduction: Breathing exercises can also reduce stress by activating the body’s relaxation response. Since stress is a known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, this aspect of physiotherapy can indirectly support heart health.
Managing Peripheral Vascular Diseases:
Improved Circulation: Peripheral vascular diseases restrict blood flow to the limbs, which can result in pain and reduced mobility. Physiotherapy exercises can improve circulation by promoting vasodilation and strengthening the muscles, which in turn assist with blood flow.
Oedema Management: Swelling or oedema in the legs can be a symptom of many things including a side-effect from blood pressure medication, and poor heart health. Getting exercises to pump the calves is a great way to help the heart. The calf muscles are known as the second
Maintaining Healthy Body Weight:
Weight Management: Being overweight or obese increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Physiotherapy not only helps patients recover from cardiac events but can also provide exercises tailored to weight loss or maintenance.
Muscle Strengthening: Stronger muscles require more energy to function, increasing daily calorie burn. This can assist in weight management, which subsequently benefits cardiovascular health.
Promoting an Active Lifestyle:
Lifestyle Education: At Surrey Physio we provide education to patients about the benefits of an active lifestyle, offering strategies and exercises to incorporate into daily routines.
Improved Mobility: For patients with mobility issues, physiotherapy can address those limitations, making it easier for them to be active and engaged in cardiovascular-friendly activities. At Surrey Physio we use hands-on mobilisation to improve joint mobility. It really helps get our patients moving. You’ll feel an improvement almost straight after the session.
In conclusion, our team at Surrey Physio offer a holistic approach to enhancing cardiovascular health. By addressing the individual needs of patients, physiotherapists can tailor interventions that support heart health, improve quality of life, and reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events. Whether you've had a cardiac event or just want to take a proactive stance on your heart health, consider physiotherapy as an integral part of your cardiovascular care team.
(Therapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool www.rehabmypatient.com. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, and it’s affordable to buy, with pricing starting from £11.23 per month.
If you are a patient and struggling to exercise, please call us to discuss your case further. Surrey Physio have an amazing team of therapists that can help you rehab after surgery, or get back on your feet again after an injury or fall. Improve your cardio health ASAP. We’re here to help you recover from pain, and get you back to living a normal life. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or click the link at the top to book online.)