Therapeutic exercise is the foundation of physical therapy, and a fundamental component of the vast majority of interventions. Prescribed accurately, therapeutic exercise can be used to restore, maintain, and improve a patient's functional status by increasing strength, endurance, and flexibility. Therapeutic exercise enables the patient/client to
- remediate or reduce impairments
- enhance function
- optimize overall health
- enhance fitness and well-being.
When prescribing a therapeutic exercise program it is important to consider the functional loss and disability of the patient.
Muscles are metabolically active and must generate energy to move. The creation of energy occurs initially from the breakdown of certain nutrients from foodstuffs.
The energy required for exercise is stored in a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is produced in the muscle tissue from blood glucose or glycogen. Fats and proteins can also be metabolized to generate ATP. Glucose not needed immediately is stored as glycogen in the resting muscle and liver. Stored glycogen in the liver can later be converted back into glucose and transferred to the blood to meet the body's energy needs.
If the duration or intensity of the exercise increases, the body relies more heavily on fat stored in adipose tissue to meet its energy needs.
During rest and submaximal exertion, both fat and carbohydrates are used to provide energy in approximately a 60% to 40% ratio.