Exercise the best medicine for veterans

Article image - Exercise the best medicine for veterans Exercise psychologist Brianna Perry with active veterans at InSports Logan Metro Gym.

A program offering exercise interventions is helping veterans in the City of Logan in Queensland manage chronic conditions, have fun and make friends.

The inSports Logan Metro Gym is providing evidence-based exercise classes for people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, depression, respiratory disease, asthma, osteoporosis and musculoskeletal injuries.

Exercise psychologist Brianna Perry is using her knowledge and skills to design and deliver the exercise interventions for individuals and groups.

The interventions include health and physical activity education, advice and support, and lifestyle modifications, with a strong focus on achieving behavioural change.

“Exercise psychology can help manage and treat all of these acute, sub-acute and chronic conditions, injuries and disabilities,” Ms Perry said.

“Our participants are changing their lifestyles and improving their overall wellbeing by taking part in the classes which are innovative and fun.

“By taking part in regular, prescribed programs, exercise can be a form of medicine and help manage – and even cease – some of these preventable conditions.”

One participant, John, 71, is a veteran who was diagnosed with Type II diabetes mellitus and hypertension, as well as experiencing back pain for years.

John was managing his conditions with prescription drugs but, after being referred to inSports Logan Metro Gym, he began individual, evidence-based classes twice a week and has recovered from all three conditions.

His program included a combination of stretches, resistance, aerobic and Pilates based exercises. The lower-back pain has since ceased, and he is no longer living with diabetes or hypertension.

“John can say that exercise has changed his life, and he rejoices in not taking any medication,” Ms Perry said.

“Our clientele from the Department of Veterans Affairs really enjoy their exercise classes. They like the camaraderie and fun, form friendships and improve their wellbeing.

“Being evidence-based is the key. Exercise is medicine!”