Healthy Ageing

25 February 2022

Overview

It is a commonly held misconception that, as we age, all aspects of our health slowly but surely deteriorate. We know that this does not have to be the case. The wide-ranging benefits of physical activity can help you sustain and even improve your health as you grow older. Preserving your independence should not be an unrealistic feat, and by utilising our multidimensional view of physical activity and incorporating regular movement into your daily routine, you can find activities which suit your lifestyle and context, keeping your body mobile and your mind active. As such, age is no barrier to good health. One of the things we are passionate about at KiActiv®, is affording each and every individual the opportunity to realise this aspirational view of healthy ageing and continue to live independently with confidence; ultimately, we have made it a key part of our mission to empower older adults to enjoy a happier, healthier life, for longer.

Physical Activity & Healthy Ageing

Physical activity is clinically proven to help maintain both physical and mental health into older age. Physical activity is a crucial modifiable risk factors for many chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and therefore should be actively encouraged to provide greater independence in later life. Being physically active can enable older individuals to continue to live an independent life, whilst also significantly reducing the reliance on medications. As well as preventing chronic conditions, maintaining regular physical activity into older age can help increase your confidence and self-efficacy in your day-to-day life, and ease any concerns associated with falling, as well as improving your general wellbeing.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Healthy Ageing

There are a variety of benefits to being active for healthy ageing, including:

  • Builds and maintains muscle mass, strength, power, and balance, all of which contribute towards improved physical function and greater independence
  • Reduces the risk of developing chronic health conditions
  • Increases bone mineral density, which lowers the risk of developing Osteoporosis
  • Increases joint range of motion and flexibility
  • Improves stamina and resilience
  • Improves cognitive function and memory, which reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Boosts the immune system, reducing the likelihood of suffering from illness and infection
  • Improves mood, mental wellbeing and sleep quality

There isn’t one type of physical activity that’s best for everyone, as everyone has different levels of confidence, varying levels of physical function, and a range of preferred activities which best suit their individual lifestyle. It is important to build up levels of physical activity gradually and avoid excess stress on particular muscles or joints. Physical activity is inherently multidimensional, and we know that. As such, we promote all types of movement, giving you the autonomy to make your own choices about the activities and movements you want to incorporate more of into your daily routine.

KiActiv® for Healthy Ageing

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them.

In the context of healthy ageing, understanding how physical activity reduces the risk of chronic health conditions, as well as improving confidence and self-efficacy with regard to moving more is key to benefitting self-management.

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many older adults, physical activity is something that is often feared due to lack of confidence and risk of injury, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals on this programme, focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with is likely to result in sustained behaviour change.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential for Falls Prevention, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to these individuals, and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with many older patients to empower them to self-manage their health and improve their physical activity in a personalised way. As such, KiActiv® Health provides an accessible option for everyone.

Client Quotes

“It’s changing my lifestyle and that’s good. That’s why I’m determined to keep it going. It’s not a 3-month programme, it’s a whole life programme”- Male, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“I realise now how important it is to keep active and exercise as much as possible for the rest of my life as I wish to remain mobile and useful.” – Female, 74, Asthma

“I have noticed I’m able to go up and down stairs quicker as I feel stronger, my legs are stronger.. I’m not as breathless as I was as I’ve been doing it more regularly.”- Female, 80, Hypertension

“Generally living a more healthy life because of the programme. It has given me a new understanding of physical activity.”Male, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“I feel fitter and have more energy than before the programme started.” – Female, 81, Type 2 Diabetes

“I was pleasantly surprised with what extra health benefits I received with very little extra effort on my part” – Male 84, Type 2 Diabetes

Illness Prevention

25 February 2022

Overview

On average, every adult will experience the common cold or other similar infection approximately 2-4 times a year. However, those who are physically active will experience fewer bouts of illness, and when they do fall ill, their bodies will be able to fight the infection faster and they will experience less severe symptoms. Physical activity is known to be one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle, alongside a good diet and sleep pattern. It’s role in preventing chronic diseases is well-established, as well as the impact that physical activity has on the immune system.

Physical Activity & Illness Prevention

One way that physical activity can help boost your general health and prevent illness is through strengthening your immune system – a network of cells and proteins that defend your body against infection. Physical activity has been shown to increase the levels of antibodies within the blood and has an anti-inflammatory effect, which improves your chances of both or fighting off illnesses such as colds and flus. As well as improving the immune response to stave off infectious diseases, physical activity can also act as an effective medicine against long-term diseases, by reducing the common risk factors for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, respiratory conditions, certain cancers and cardiovascular conditions.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Illness Prevention

There are a variety of benefits that being physically active can provide to prevent illness and infection, including:

  • Boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of contracting viruses and other common infections
  • Reduces stress and chronic inflammation, which reduces the likelihood of subsequent infections developing
  • Increases the effectiveness of vaccinations
  • Lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of many cancers
  • Reduces the risk of all-cause mortality
  • Keeps the brain healthy and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Optimising the level of physical activity in your usual daily routine can help to reduce the chances of contracting an illness, or can help you recover as quickly as possible when you do. There isn’t any single type of physical activity that’s best for everyone, but it is important to remember that every move matters, and even the small changes you make can help to improve your general health and strengthen your immune system.

KiActiv® for Illness Prevention

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them.

Understanding how physical activity impacts the immune system as well as how it can reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases is key to self-management and reducing the risk of illness.

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people, physical activity is something that is often feared due to lack of confidence, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals on this programme, focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with is likely to result in sustained behaviour change.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential for illness prevention, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to everyone and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with many people to empower them to self-manage their health and improve their physical activity in a personalised way. As such, KiActiv® Health provides an accessible option for everyone.

Client Quotes

“A sense of achievement. Good overall sense of wellbeing. Getting out and about into the fresh air. Keeping me free from colds.” – Female, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“Generally living a more healthy life because of the programme. It has given me a new understanding of physical activity.” – Male, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“It has been a good experience learning how to improve my health” – Male, 59, Type 2 Diabetes

“it’s been small steps in the right direction, and I am determined to keep it up. Health wise I have felt so much better.” – Female, 66, Type 2 Diabetes

“It’s my life, it’s my health, you’re not asking me to paint a picture which I can’t do. All you’re asking me to do is put one foot in front of the other and move my arse. Anyone can do that.” – Female, 57, Lymphoedema

Prehabilitation for Surgery

15 November 2021

Overview

An individual’s level of physical fitness significantly impacts multiple outcomes following a major surgery. Poor pre-surgery levels of fitness can lead to an increased chance of post-operative complications, increased length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays, and a slower return to everyday activities and a pre-surgery quality of life. 

Prehabilitation aims to improve patients’ physical activity tolerance (how much physical work your body can cope with) by steadily building up physical activity over the weeks leading to surgery, meaning you can return to normal as quickly as possible post-surgery. It is important to find ways to be active that work for you and are likely to be continued post-surgery to help rehabilitation.

Physical Activity & Prehabilitation

Research shows that increasing your physical activity levels is safe and feasible in the weeks leading up to major surgery. It can result in increased cardiorespiratory fitness and lung function, alongside many other benefits. Many patients can become deconditioned due to fatigue, poor appetite and poor nutrition because of their illness, meaning undergoing physical activity can be challenging, so prehabilitation focuses on increasing physical activity gradually in a sustainable way to produce the greatest health benefits. 

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Prehabilitation.

There are many benefits of being physically active both in the lead up to and following surgery, including:

  • Reducing the risk of post-operative complications
  • Reducing recovery time and length of hospital stay after surgery
  • Helping to improve and maintain muscle mass, strength, power, and balance, which can improve physical function and independence
  • Helping you to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight, if needed
  • Helping to managing your blood pressure. 
  • Improving your circulation
  • Helping your joints and flexibility

Physical activity benefits your mind as well as your body. It is proven to reduce stress levels and improve low mood, and give you energy and help you sleep better, as well as improving your memory.

How do we Help Prehabilitation?

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them. 

In the context of prehabilitation, it is important that individuals understand the impact that improving their physical health will have on their outcome and recovery from surgery, and that physical activity levels should be increased gradually depending on each individuals’ experiences of symptoms.

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people awaiting surgery, physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared due to a decline in physical function due to illness, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals waiting for surgery, focusing on movements and lifestyle changes that are sustainable following their surgery can deliver the numerous benefits of physical activity and promote faster recovery.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential for prehabilitation, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to individuals pre- and post- surgery and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Here at KiActiv®, we have supported individuals to ‘wait well’ whilst waiting for treatment. We have worked with patients waiting for a major surgery to ensure they optimise their physical health and gradually improve their physical activity in a personalised way, resulting in a smooth recovery and continued self-management after surgery.

Importantly, by providing individuals with the knowledge, tools and support to self-manage, they can ensure they take it at their own pace, incorporating more activities into their daily routine as they feel ready, unlocking the numerous benefits to their health beyond recovery from surgery.

Client Quotes

“Overall its been great. Without it I would not have had the incentive to make the improvements I needed before my surgery. Looking forward to getting back on track when my knees have recovered.” 65, Male, Type 2 Diabetes & Knee Surgery

“In retrospect if I had not done the programme and become so much fitter I would not have coped with the surgery so well. The anaesthetist seemed quite impressed!”- 72, Male, COPD & Hypertension

“In a quiet way, you’ve boosted my confidence and made me realise it’s in my hands to improve my mobility.” 83, Female, RUH Cancer Prehab, (Colorectal Cancer)

“I don’t see any reason why any of this won’t continue up to and then post the operation. The people supporting me are really quite excited because they can see (the improvements) too.” – 52, Male, Obesity, Surgery & Lymphoedema

“Once the actual immediacy of the surgery is behind me, I will be looking to ultimately exceed what I have started over the past two months.”  – 52, Male, Obesity, Surgery & Lymphoedema

Falls Prevention

15 November 2021

Overview

Falls affect approximately 30% of those aged 65 and over each year, with many resulting in damaging injuries, a loss of confidence and a resultant decline in independence. Reductions in physical function only make the thought of physical activity seem more daunting. Thankfully, engaging in physical activity that is accessible and appropriate to each individual’s own context and capacity can instead help to retain muscular strength, mobility and balance, whilst also gradually rebuilding confidence. One of the things we are passionate about at KiActiv®, is affording each and every individual the opportunity to live independently in confidence; we empower people to remain competent and self-sufficient, even into older age.

Physical Activity & Falls Prevention

A fall, or a fear of falling, can have a massive impact on an someone’s quality of life and independence, causing the simple act of stepping out of the house to become a frightening task. This can cause many older people to restrict their level of movement, progressing to inactivity as the norm – ‘just in case’ of a fall. This can lead to a vicious cycle of declining muscular strength and balance, which can increase the risk of falling. Conversely, building up day-to-day physical activity in a safe way can help to overcome this fear, making you stronger, healthier, and more independent. 

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Falls Prevention

There are a variety of benefits to being physically active to prevent falls, including:

  • Increase and maintain muscle mass, strength, power, and balance, which can improve physical function and independence
  • Increased bone density, which lowers the risk of Osteoporosis
  • Increased joint range of motion and flexibility
  • Improved stamina and physical resilience 
  • Improved cognitive function and memory, which lowers the risk of dementia.
  • Improved confidence when it comes to day-to-day activities
  • Improved mood, mental wellbeing and sleep quality

There isn’t any single type of physical activity that’s best for everyone, as everyone has different levels of confidence, fitness, and ranges of motion. It is important to build up physical activity gradually and avoid excess stress on particular muscles or joints, with the overall goal of improving physical health and confidence with regard to physical activity. 

KiActiv® Value Proposition for Falls Prevention

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them. 

Understanding how physical activity impacts strength, bone density, and balance, as well as how it can instil and improve confidence when it comes to movement is key to self-management and reducing the risk of falls. 

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people who would qualify for the Falls Prevention Pathway, physical activity is something that is often feared due to lack of confidence and risk of injury, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals on this programme, focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with is likely to result in sustained behaviour change.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential for Falls Prevention, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to these individuals and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with many older patients to empower them to self-manage their health and improve their physical activity in a personalised way. As such, KiActiv® Health provides an accessible option for everyone.

Client Quotes

“My balance has improved in that I now save myself from falling rather better than I used to do.” – Female, 85, FAES, Back Pain

“I’m feeling much better, and better balance. When I move I am moving faster.” – Female, 80, Hypertension

“I have noticed I’m able to go up and down stairs quicker as I feel stronger, my legs are stronger. I’m not as breathless as I was as I’ve been doing it more regularly.”- Female, 80, Hypertension

“I am walking now with no frame.” Male, 73, FAES

“In a quiet way, you’ve boosted my confidence and made me realise it’s in my hands to improve my mobility.”- Female, 83, Colorectal Cancer

Cancer

15 November 2021

Overview

Cancer is a condition which develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Old cells do not die and can begin to function abnormally. These abnormal cells begin to divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way, creating more abnormal cells. This can eventually lead to the formation of a tumour which is created by the mass of tissues building up and can sometimes be felt as a lump under the skin. There are over 100 different types of cancer with symptoms varying depending on the type of cancer. 

Physical Activity & Cancer

There is a growing pool of research highlighting the positive impact of physical activity in both protecting against, and reducing the risk of many cancers. Evidence has shown that individuals who participate in approximately 25-minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day cut their risk of the following cancers by up to: 

  • Male Colon Cancer: 14% 
  • Breast Cancer: 10%
  • Endometrial Cancer: 18%
  • Kidney Cancer: 17%
  • Myeloma Cancer: 19%
  • Liver Cancer: 27%
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: 18%

Additionally, there is a positive dose-response relationship between increasing physical activity levels and decreasing the risk of cancer, showing the more physical activity one does the better.

It is acknowledged that there are benefits associated with being physically active at every stage of cancer, from prevention, to diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Not only can physical activity improve peoples’ health outcomes, but empowering people to self-manage their physical activity in the context of their condition also helps them to feel more in control.

Being physically active after a cancer diagnosis is associated with increased survival time and reduced risk of disease progression. Conversely, physical inactivity can worsen treatment-related losses of physical conditioning and muscle strength. This may lead to a cycle of deteriorating function and accumulating fatigue that is hard to escape.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Cancer

There are numerous benefits of physical activity to prevent and treat cancer:

  • Improves fatigue management
  • Strengthens muscles, bones and joints
  • Increases mobility and balance
  • Maintains and improves cardiovascular health
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight 
  • Improves quality of life 
  • Improved confidence 
  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers coming back
  • Reduces the risk of developing other health conditions
  • Helps individuals return to work and live independently 

How do we Help?

KiActiv® Health is a personalised and guided digital behaviour change therapy that empowers people to optimise everyday physical activity in the context of their condition. Optimising the benefits of physical activity is about understanding that every move we make matters, and our approach expands the therapy window from just a few hours of exercise per week, to include all 112 waking hours, helping people to discover the opportunities to move more within the context of their health, capacity and environment. 

According to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, cancer survivorship extends from time of diagnosis to end of life. At all stages of cancer survivorship, having a personalised approach which fits round their needs and helps them manage their fatigue is crucial. We have helped individuals in prehabilitation, during recovery following surgery, during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, and supported individuals to ‘wait well’ whilst waiting for treatment.

Our patented method of analysis that ensures that physical activity data is accurate, complete and representative. This is a crucial step for making physical activity data meaningful and actionable in the context of each individual’s circumstances, empowering them to self-manage in a way that suits them, improving their physical health, mental wellbeing and quality of life.

Client Quotes

“Thanks again for all your support & encouragement during the course – it has been really helpful and made a big impact in my recovery!” – 50, Male, Lung Cancer

“When I first had my surgery I struggled up the stairs, now I can run up two flights of stairs without any problem at all.” 53, Female, Breast Cancer

“In a quiet way, you’ve boosted my confidence and made me realise it’s in my hands to improve my mobility.” – 83, Female, Colorectal Cancer 

“When I’m moving and doing things, it’s with a bit more get up and go.” – 83, Female, Colorectal Cancer 

“When I needed to return my health to a reasonable state after surgery, I could see that it helped me gain strength and mobility again.” 83, Female, Colorectal Cancer 

“Seeing and doing it like this gives me the motivation to do it. Because now I can see how much I have improved, it’s saying to me ‘keeping going, you can do this’.”60, Female, Bowel Cancer

“Kirstie’s guidance throughout the programme benefitted me enormously, by making me rethink my attitude towards my future, gently encouraging me to slowly but steadily increase my ambition as well as my confidence that following the programme was showing a distinct improvement in all aspects of my life.” 81, Male, Colorectal Cancer

“Since commencing the programme I have found a new confidence in my life. I now look forward to a betterment in all aspects, instead of a fear of what the future may hold after the operation and subsequent chemotherapy the I am undertaking. Life is for living!” – 81, Male, Colorectal Cancer

“It was definitely what I needed to get me moving more, increase my activity and make me realise it’s not just about the big things like cycling or walking or whatever, its just getting off your backside and moving!” – 53, Female, Breast Cancer


Cardiac Rehabilitation

15 November 2021

Overview

Cardiac rehabilitation is a structured set of services that enables people with heart problems to have the best possible help physically, psychologically, and socially to enable them to return to as full a life as possible. It is aimed at anyone who has experienced a cardiac event such as a heart attack, heart surgery or stent procedure or has been diagnosed with a heart condition, such as Coronary Artery Disease, Angina, or Heart Failure. The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to improve strength, adopt healthy behaviours, and ultimately decrease the risk of further heart complications in the future. 

Physical Activity & Cardiac Rehabilitation

Physical activity is essential in the management of heart conditions and is the cornerstone of cardiac rehabilitation pathways, to help individuals become more active and in a safe, effective way. Physical activity is essential for improving cardiorespiratory fitness, which can lead to a reduction in all-cause and heart related mortality. It also helps the heart work better and may reduce the risk of another cardiac event, such as a heart attack, which it does by:

  • Preventing blood vessels from narrowing further
  • Preventing blood clotting
  • Helping deliver blood to the heart
  • Helping maintain a normal heart rhythm 

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Cardiac Rehabilitation

The benefits to those completing cardiac rehabilitation programmes are well established and include:

  • A reduction in cholesterol 
  • A reduction in blood pressure
  • Increased smoking cessation
  • Increased quality of life
  • Improved functional capacity
  • Maintains independence and supports return to work
  • Development of self-management skills
  • Increased fitness
  • Weight loss and reduction in waist circumferences
  • Reduction in fasting blood glucose and increased insulin sensitivity

However, despite the numerous known benefits of physical activity, for many people eligible for cardiac rehabilitation, it is something that is often dreaded or feared, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous, or exercise based. In fact, physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure, and as such it is important that we account for all of the movement in our lifestyles, not just exercise.

How do we Help?

The focus of KiActiv® is on empowering individuals to make the right choices for their health and to create new habits relating to their physical activity that benefit them during cardiac rehabilitation and in the future. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management.  

By avoiding activity, you use your muscles less and they become weaker. Your heart is a muscle, so inactivity weakens your heart, as well as increasing your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots, all of which increases your risk of suffering another cardiac event. We call this the vicious cycle of inactivity. However, the opposite is also true. When you chose to be active, and it is never too late to start, your heart will become stronger. As you get fitter, your everyday tasks and other activities will become easier, so you will be able to move more for the same level of effort. 

At KiActiv®, we empower individuals eligible for cardiac rehabilitation to focus on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with, and learn how to pace themselves, which can help alleviate fear and deliver the numerous benefits of physical activity and promote self-care. Staying physically active can take a variety of forms, from small, everyday changes, such as walking an extra bus stop or taking the stairs instead of the lift, to the structured exercise in rehabilitation programmes, and we help put you in control of your health and your recovery.

Client Quotes

“I feel 100% better” – 61, Female, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling a lot fitter, fitter than before the heart attack. My stamina is getting better.” 49, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“I feel fitter, stronger and more motivated to reach health and lifestyle goals in the future.” – 55, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“I have improved my diet and lost some weight.” – 72, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“You do feel better when you’ve done it, don’t you.” 62, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“It’s made me more aware of what I’m doing and trying to make sure I do something on a daily basis.” 72, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“This has been an absolute lifeline for me. Really educational.” 60, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“You just don’t count housework. I’ve never thought of it like that, incredible. Love it.” 60, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“After my heart attack, it was not easy to motivate myself to improve my fitness. The KiActiv® program, plus the discussions and advice I had from you, really helped me to get back the fitness I had enjoyed prior to my illness. I would certainly recommend the program.” – 78, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“It helped me plan my exercises and improve my fitness after having a heart attack in 2020. I also found the KiActiv® staff very knowledgeable and helpful, I would highly recommend this programme to all.” – 50, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

“After being given the chance to use KiActiv®, I now feel I have a lot more control over how activities I partake in affect my health and wellbeing. The ability to look at and categorise activities in graphs and see the impact, has been invaluable. I feel so much more positive about my recovery as I am able to plan and assess my recovery on a daily basis. Because of this I would not hesitate to recommend KiActiv® to anyone.” – 67, Male, Cardiac Rehab, CVD

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

15 November 2021

Overview

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a treatment programme that is designed to help individuals with pulmonary conditions stay physically active. PR covers any disease affecting the lungs and airways, the two primary conditions being Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma. PR involves a structured exercise programme, educational materials regarding looking after your body and your lungs, and professional advice on managing your condition and your symptoms. 

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Airflow limitation is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs, usually caused by cigarette smoke. Asthma is characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways, which can make it difficult to breathe. Inflammation can trigger a tightening of airways and mucus secretion. Both conditions cause breathlessness and coughing, and both can be effectively managed with PR.

Physical Activity & Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Physical activity is the cornerstone to PR. Regular physical activity improves blood circulation and your heart deliver oxygen around your body. It also strengthens your respiratory muscles, making it easier to breathe. Everyone with a pulmonary condition can be physically active, regardless of age and severity of disease. 

Often individuals living with a pulmonary condition will avoid physical activity due to fears that it will worsen their symptoms and condition. Despite this, by avoiding activities you are using your muscles less and they then become weaker. Weaker muscles mean that you have to work harder and so require more oxygen to perform your daily activities. Over time, this contributes to feeling more and more breathless. We call this the vicious cycle of inactivity.

PR is designed to educate individuals living with a pulmonary condition on how to use physical activity to benefit their condition and their overall health. PR programmes encourage the use of techniques such as breathing exercises, pacing, and avoiding negative behaviours such as avoidance of activities or ‘boom or bust’ cycles, in which doing too much activity causes worsening of symptoms and leaves you unable participate in further physical activity. Completing a PR course has been shown to effectively teach individuals living with a pulmonary condition how to partake in physical activity and daily tasks safely and at the right intensity level.

The Benefits of PR

There are many benefits of PR:

  • Improves muscle strength so oxygen can be used more efficiently
  • Reduces breathlessness
  • Helps you cope better when breathlessness does occur
  • Improves fitness and physical function so you feel more confident to do everyday tasks
  • Regain or maintain independence 
  • Improves mental health
  • Improves understanding to enable better self-management of your condition
  • Teaches you to enjoy physical activity and find what works for you
  • Allows you to meet and connect with other individuals in a similar situation to yourself

Regular physical activity can help prevent the vicious cycle of inactivity, and has numerous benefits to your physical health, mental wellbeing and can significantly improve your quality of life. There isn’t one type of physical activity that’s best for everyone with a pulmonary condition. It can take a variety of forms because physical activity is multidimensional. Ultimately, it’s about finding what works for you as an individual.

KiActiv® Value Proposition for PR

At KiActiv®, we work with patients living with a pulmonary condition that are on the waiting list or currently undergoing PR to support them to find the value of everyday movement in their daily routine. This enables them to optimise their physical activity to benefit their health in the context of their condition and environment.

All patients completing PR should be encouraged to find activities outside of PR to benefit their health and to continue to be physically active beyond the PR programme. Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people living with symptoms of breathlessness, physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, we help individuals to effectively self-manage their physical activity, using everyday tasks and all forms of movement to benefit their health, improve confidence and understanding, and enable them to maintain or increase their physical activity levels outside of their traditional PR programme. Importantly, for individuals with symptoms of breathlessness, focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with, and learning how to pace themselves effectively, can help alleviate fear and deliver the numerous benefits associated with regular physical activity.

Client Quotes

“Realisation that any movement is worth it. Can now walk happily for 45 mins (I started at 15 mins) locally. This is good for my asthma, and if I keep busier all day, I sleep better. All in all feeling more positive and happy about doing stuff, because all movement is worth it.” – 67, Female, Asthma & Type 2 Diabetes

“I can feel its made a difference. Been trying to get vo2 levels up, and it has started going back up!” 65 , Female, COPD

“I know that the changes that I have made and continue to make will benefit me for a long time to come, my asthma has already improved.” – 54, Female, Asthma & IgA Nephropathy

“I have used knowledge of the plans to improve section of the KiActiv® charts to increase activities like walking daily and working harder at the exercises taught in the Pulmonary Rehab course.”  – 77, Female, Chronic Sarcoidosis (in both lungs)

“An eyeopener to things I could do as I have COPD” – 66, Female, COPD

“I’ve learned quite a bit, but the thing that sticks in my mind is ‘one minute’. Every time I think about it, I get up and do something.”  79, Male, Bronchiectasis & Pulmonary Fibrosis

“I am actually finding that I’m not getting breathless as I was” – 65, Female, Asthma & Emphysema

“The more I move, the better my breathing is.” 65, Female, COPD, Arthritis, Osteoporosis

Mental Health

15 November 2021

Overview

Mental Health involves ones emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Two of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions are anxiety and depression, both of which are can be associated with feelings of dread, fatigue and sadness.

Physical activity, a balanced diet and sufficient sunlight are just a few of the many things that can help you to improve and manage your mental wellbeing. 

Physical Activity & Mental Health

Physical Activity is crucial for the prevention and management of long-term health conditions, is the cornerstone of many rehabilitation pathways, improves our mental and physical wellbeing, and enables us to age well, living our best lives for longer. 

Engagement in physical activity has been found to significantly enhance mental wellbeing across the entirety of the lifespan. The link between physical activity and enhanced mental and emotional wellbeing is well established within the scientific literature, demonstrating a consistent ability for physical activity to reduce anxious and depressive feelings, alleviate stress, improve cognitive function and act as a key regulator of mood.

Physical activity can both prevent and directly combat depression and anxiety. It is recommended as a “first line” of treatment for depression and has been shown to be as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy for both depression and anxiety.

Physical activity doesn’t need to be strenuous to be effective. For many people, traditional exercise is daunting and off-putting and engaging in these forms of activity could even heighten stress levels instead. Similar benefits are gained from simply undertaking everyday activities such as gardening, housework, or walking. Simply getting your body moving can help get endorphins flowing and relieve stress.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Mental Health

There are several mechanisms thought to be responsible for these benefits, ranging from physiological to psychological. Regular physical activity may help treat depression and anxiety through stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of wellbeing. It also helps by taking your mind away from worries, allowing you to remove yourself from the constant cycle of negative thoughts that contribute significantly to depression and anxiety

It is not only those who suffer from a diagnosed mental health condition that can benefit from regular physical activity. The majority of people have experienced periods of low mood and low self-esteem at some point during their life. The mechanisms that help to combat symptoms of mental health disorders will apply to the general population when experiencing these feelings. Physical activity has also been shown to improve sleep quality, which in turn leads to more positive mood and higher energy levels. In addition to this, regular physical activity can improve fitness and body image, which is a source of negative feelings for many.

Therefore, regular physical activity is a valuable tool to help regulate mental health and wellbeing for everyone, with or without a mental health disorder

How do we Help Mental Health?

We believe that physical activity can break the perceived barrier between mental and physical health due to the simultaneous benefits it can provide to both. 

Whether people are managing long-term conditions, mental health or simply looking to age well, we can harness physical activity to put the power back in their hands, empowering them to self-care and be proactive in the pursuit of their health and wellbeing goals.

 Our digital therapy is clinically proven to empower sustainable behaviour change for physical activity and improve self-care, without the need to visit clinics or gyms. It’s not about sport or exercise, but rather finding the value of movement in you daily routine and re-establishing everyday physical activity as the foundation for health and wellbeing.

We utilise a personalised, mentor-guided digital service which empowers individuals to make sustainable changes to their lifestyle. Imparting an understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matter can allow anyone to make simple yet effective changes that result in a variety of health benefits. As such, KiActiv® Health provides an accessible option for everyone. 

Client Quotes

“It’s helped my depression. My psychologist has said it’s made me get out more in to the air which all helps my mental health.”

“The depressive dips have decreased. About halfway through the programme, I came out of the at risk category. I’m feeling really great at the moment.”71, Female, Depression & Type 2 Diabetes

“Before this I wasn’t really doing much, it’s made me move about again and psychologically its really good” 

“Not only beneficial to your physical health but also very beneficial to your mental health as well” – 75, Female, Type 2 Diabetes

“I believe that participating in the KiActiv, has helped with achieving better sleep, as most of my improvements have come from walking, I can cover much more distance in the same period of time as I allocated previously, It also has been beneficial to destressing and aid relaxation. Now the weather is good I am enjoying much longer walks and feel less tense. I use a fitness app on my mobile which is improving my agility.”– 58, Female, Type 2 Diabetes

“I’m really pleased with it – in terms of mentally for me, it’s been quite huge. equally I haven’t had a depressive episode in a few months now. from that point of view, what I’m doing is the stepping stones for going forward” “I’ve halved my anxiety medication. that’s a positive built in with all of this.”– 55, Female, Anxiety, Obesity & Asthma

“Activity helps your mental state. The more your mental state is improved, the more you want to do activity.” “You’ve really opened my eyes. This is a fantastic thing that KiActiv® are doing.”– 71, Female, Anxiety & Hypertension

“It also made me realise that you don’t have to do a massive exercise, but every movement make a difference in your health.” – 57, Female, Depression & Hypertension

MSK

15 November 2021

Overview

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions refer to a collection of different long-term conditions that affect the joints, bones and muscles. The most common of these being osteoarthritis and back pain. It is estimated that these conditions affect 18.8 million people across the UK, with common symptoms including pain, stiffness and a loss of mobility. As people age, the risk of having an MSK condition rises. However, there are ways to reduce the risk and severity of MSK conditions, such as maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. In fact, physical activity is considered the most effective, non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with MSK conditions.

Physical Activity & MSK

For many people, joint and muscle pain is a reason to avoid physical activity in fear of worsening the condition or causing a flare up. Traditionally, advice for joint or muscle pain has been to rest and avoid any movement until the pain has reduced. However, it has been shown that avoidance of physical activity may lead to more frequent episodes of pain and that resting for long periods of time could be what is making it worse.

Physical activity can help relieve joint and muscle pain by increasing the strength of surrounding muscles, and therefore providing extra support. On top of this, physical activity also leads to beneficial changes in the nervous system and the brain. Essentially, physical activity directly influences how we experience pain by decreasing our sensitivity to the stimulus (pain). This phenomenon is known as exercise-induced hypoalgesia.

Physical activity is also known as a natural painkiller due to the release of chemicals within the brain, called endorphins. These chemicals not only help to reduce pain directly, but have the added benefit of improving mood, so you are less likely to notice low levels of pain. So not only will you be in less pain after getting up and moving about, but you’ll also feel happier.

The Benefits of Physical Activity

There are a variety of benefits to being active with a MSK condition, including:

  • Reducing pain levels and pain sensitivity
  • Helping to build and maintain muscle mass, strength, power, and balance, which can improve physical function and independence
  • Improving joint range of motion and flexibility
  • Increase bone density lowering the risk of osteoporosis
  • Assisting with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Lowering the risk of nerve damage

Physical activity benefits your mind as well as your body. It is proven to reduce stress levels and improve low mood, and give you energy and help you sleep better, as well as improving your memory.

There isn’t one type of activity that’s best for everyone with a MSK condition as everyone experiences different symptoms. It is important to build up activity gradually and avoid excess stress on the affected muscle or joint. 

How KiActiv® Helps

At KiActiv®, we work with patients with a variety of MSK conditions, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic pain, to find the value of everyday movement to help optimise their physical activity to benefit their health.

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them. 

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people living with symptoms of MSK conditions physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared as they believe that movement can make the condition worse, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals with experiencing joint or muscle pain focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with, and learning how to build up their activity levels gradually, can help alleviate fear and deliver the numerous benefits of physical activity and promote self-care.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential in the management of pulmonary conditions, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to individuals with MSK conditions and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Importantly, by providing individuals with the knowledge, tools and support to self-manage, they can ensure they take it at their own pace, incorporating more activities into their daily routine and reducing fear associated with joint and muscle pain, unlocking the numerous benefits to their health.

Osteactiv has been developed as a bespoke service to support people living with an MSK condition in the journey to optimal health.

With Osteactiv, our personalised and guided online programme for people living with an MSK condition, we will help you make the most of your lifestyle and the opportunities it holds for your health. You can learn more about Osteactiv and sign up to the service here. (link to website)

Client Quotes

“I have noticed I’m able to go up and down stairs quicker as I feel stronger, my legs are stronger”  Female, 80, Hypertension & Spinal Stenosis

“It has reminded me how good incorporating exercise into your life makes you feel. Due to many reasons, mainly a back issue, I hadn’t done much exercise for a long time. There are no benefits to that at all. This programme enabled me to remember all the good things.” – Female, 50, Type 2 Diabetes & Back Pain

“I feel a direct benefit in my physical and mental health when I achieve my movement goals. I’m a happier, lighter and more positive than I was at the start of the programme.”- Male, 44, Arthritis

“I’m coming down step-by-step, instead of sideways. That was something I was finding hard with my knees and my ankles, but I’m OK now, I presume it’s because I’ve been doing more, I’m actually trotting up the stairs now. I’ve not done that in a long time.” – Female, 75, Type 2 Diabetes & Knee and Ankle Problems

“I feel like I’m definitely in better nick than when I started, about a stone lighter at least, I feel more energetic and energised.” Male, 44, Arthritis

“I haven’t been getting my leg aches either… I suffer with shin splints. I haven’t had it for a while… since last month when I started doing this. It shows I’m being more active in my feet and legs. I think its because I’m more active now and my legs aren’t in one position” – Female, 66, Type 2 Diabetes & Shin Splints

Long Covid

15 November 2021

Overview

The World Health Organisation (WHO; 2021) defines long COVID as a condition occurring “in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others and generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist from the initial illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time.” This condition requires careful management to enable individuals to return to their daily activities.

Physical Activity & Long COVID

Since long COVID is a new condition, specific treatment methods do not exist as of yet and so it has required a transfer of knowledge from other conditions that have similar symptoms including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and pulmonary conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). 

Symptoms of long COVID can make daily tasks, such as doing the washing or walking up the stairs, really difficult for individuals with the condition. Fatigue, characterised as debilitating exhaustion, is a symptom of various health conditions including CFS/ME, COPD, cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and type 2 diabetes. Fatigue is extremely common following viral infections such as COVID-19 and whilst it usually settles within 2 to 3 weeks, it appears to linger for weeks or months in those suffering from long Covid. Experiencing these high levels of fatigue can be extremely debilitating, with the impact spanning a variety of domains across work life, social life and general wellbeing.

During recovery from COVID-19 and long COVID, physical activity is important to help relieve ongoing symptoms, restore the body to its healthy condition, and help people get back to their normal routine, which includes daily activities at home and at work. WHO recommend that, during their rehabilitation, people should be provided with the education and support to improve self-management, reduce breathlessness and resume everyday activities. As such, the management of long COVID needs to be tailored to the individual, accounting for their own experience of symptoms.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Long COVID

Respiratory Symptoms:

It is known that inactivity is detrimental to patients with a respiratory diagnosis. The respiratory symptoms present in COVID-19 and long COVID overlap with COPD, in particular shortness of breath which can occur doing daily tasks.

In the context of COPD, physical activity has numerous benefits, including:

  • improving breathing and respiratory muscle strength
  • reducing other symptoms of COPD
  • benefitting mental and physical wellbeing, and quality of life.

Many people find being active helps them more than inhaled drugs.

Fatigue:

Managing fatigue is to ensure those experiencing long COVID retain the highest quality of life throughout their recovery. Physical activity plays an important role in management of fatigue, optimisation of energy levels, and improvement in quality of life.  However, the consensus in the literature is that focus should be on optimising physical activity rather than increasing it through techniques like pacing, activity management, sleep management and relaxation techniques.

How do we Help Long COVID?

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them.

In the context of fatigue, understanding how physical activity impacts on energy balance and how to maintain a level of movement within their energy envelope, is key to self-management. Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people living with symptoms of breathlessness and/or fatigue, physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. Focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with, and learning how to pace themselves, can help alleviate fear and deliver the numerous benefits of physical activity and promote self-care.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential in the management of fatigue, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. It acknowledges that every individual is unique and that their symptoms will present differently, including how different activities impact their symptoms, as well as finding enjoyment in different activities.

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19 and those diagnosed with long COVID to ensure patients have a smooth recovery and empower individuals to self-manage their health and gradually improve their physical activity in a personalised way.

Importantly, by providing individuals with the knowledge, tools and support to self-manage, they can ensure they take it at their own pace, incorporating more activities into their daily routine as they feel ready, unlocking the numerous benefits to their health beyond recovery from COVID-19 and/or long COVID.

Client Quotes

“KiActiv has helped me to set boundaries of activity I can manage to do without adverse effects. I am feeling more at ease with my limitations.”  –  64, Female, COVID-19 Rehabilitation  

“I found the programme to be very useful in monitoring the progress of my recovery. I have been able to set achievable goals and the programme enables me to check how well I am doing in achieving these targets. This, in turn, gives me the motivation to increase my activity levels.” 67, Male, COVID-19 Rehabilitation

“I became aware that the stuff I do sitting down makes a difference, like when I dance along to my music.” 46, Female, COVID-19 Rehabilitation  

“When I first came out [of hospital], it was a struggle to walk up the stairs, now I can as much as a I want.” 46, Male, COVID-19 Rehabilitation

“The KiActiv® Health programme empowers/encourages one to stay active once the 12-week course has finished. The programme has helped me manage my muscle pain and other symptoms of Long Covid. It has also been helpful to have someone willing to listen to you and encourage one to keep going. One of the things I have learnt from this, is that it is about pacing oneself and not pushing yourself too much so that you do not create more issues for yourself.” – 58, Male, COVID-19 Rehabilitation & Type 2 Diabetes

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