Optimal health is achieved with good postural alignment, adequate range of motion, adequate strength and endurance, and good balance and co-ordination for performing daily tasks. These can be maintained or improved with some gentle stretching and simple active tasks. The health benefits from exercise are well documented. The World Health Organisation recommends between 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, and muscle-strengthening activities involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week [1]. Sometimes, the body needs specific exercises to prevent problems or facilitate repair after an injury. Exercise are prescribed by a physical therapist, trainer or rehabilitation specialist. An objective functional assessment helps to identify and communicate strengths and deficits in performance. This can be used by health providers to educate people and make recommendations for achieving optimal physical health.

The exercises presented in this document are focussed on improving or maintaining the following basic tasks needed for many activities of daily living, and they are fundamental to some more advanced functional tasks found at work or in sport:

 

1.     Standing posture

2.     Side bending

3.     Balance

4.     Squat

 

Some of the exercises involve progressions to illustrate that even very simple tasks, like abdominal bracing or changing the posture of your feet, can have a profound effect on more demanding tasks like balancing on one leg or performing a single leg squat. People perform these simple tasks every day, but rarely consider how complex the movements are until they are injured or start to age.

The exercises from different sections can be combined. Some exercises might be avoided. Be gentle and be patient with your body. Avoid discomfort at all times. Some people have neglected their bodies for years, or have some underlying problems. Show respect for certain limitations, and be realistic with expectations about the rate improvement. Consult a health professional for individualised recommendations, including the specific exercises to perform or avoid, the amount of exercise, and how to combine the tasks.

 

[1] Global recommendations on physical activity for health, World Health Organisation, 2010

 

Disclaimer: The following exercises are simple suggestions for maintaining optimal function in activities of daily living in uninjured and healthy individuals. We strongly suggest that you seek individual advice and supervision from a health professional. We do not accept any responsibility for any injury or any loss or damage you sustain arising out of an injury. Undertaking any of the following exercises is at your own risk. We take no responsibility for your subsequent actions or any subsequent recommendations made to you.