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The Importance of "Physical Exercise" from the Perspective of Disuse Syndrome

Do you know the term "disuse syndrome"? Disuse syndrome refers to various symptoms that occur in the body due to excessive bed rest or reduced activity (1).

For example, prolonged bed rest (continuous bed rest) in hospitalization is one of the causes. Specific symptoms include the following

Muscle atrophy: Muscles become thin and weak.

Joint contracture: Loss of movement in joints.

Bone atrophy: Bones become brittle.

 For example, it is estimated that muscle weakness of 10 to 15% occurs in one week if muscles are not stretched or contracted while the patient is at absolute rest. In the case of the elderly, it is estimated that 20% of the muscles in the lower limbs (legs) atrophy in two weeks. Other symptoms include decreased cardiopulmonary function, depression, delirium (mild confusion of consciousness), aspiration pneumonia, orthostatic hypotension, and bedsores.

 It may be easy to understand that not exercising causes muscle atrophy and joint contractures, but did you know that it also has adverse psychological effects such as depression and delirium?

 These symptoms are not something to be taken lightly, and once disuse syndrome has actually set in, it is difficult to bring the patient back to his or her original state, and in the worst case scenario, hospitalization may result in bedridden conditions. In the worst case scenario, the patient may become bedridden due to hospitalization.

 Recently, it has been suggested that patients should be encouraged to sit up more and to do exercises to move their upper and lower limbs in bed, in order to keep them in bed as long as possible. When I attended a medical conference some years ago, a professor asked me, "Is the current medical rehabilitation for disuse syndrome being provided in sufficient quality and quantity? In addition to strokes and fractures, many patients are forced to stay in bed for long periods of time (prolonged absolute bed rest). If a system that provides rehabilitation medical care is not established whenever invasive treatment (such as surgery) is performed, a large number of bedridden patients will be created in hospitals," he warned. It is important to be "physically active" both physically and mentally.

 As technology advances day by day and robots and IoT appliances abound in our world, it may be necessary to consider the possibility of using robots to make life too easy. We need to be mindful of daily exercise to maintain a long-term quality of life.

 Medical science and engineering are advancing day by day. Therefore, what was once considered common knowledge may be subject to change. Nowadays, we are able to investigate various things by ourselves. It may be a good idea to actively research anything that interests you.

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