Physical resilience


What is physical resilience?

Physical resilience is the body’s ability to successfully adapt to imposed physical stressors. Such as infection, injury, physical activity, surgery and even the aging process. 

There seems to be a variety of definitions attempting to explain physical resilience and as far as my research goes there is no universally accepted definition. They do however all imply the same thing. 


A few examples

According to Whitson E. H et al (2018)Physical resilience, which we define as one’s ability to withstand or recover from functional decline after an acute or chronic health stressor.” 

According to Schorr et al (2017)Physical resilience is the ability of an organism to respond to stressors that acutely disrupt normal physiological homeostasis.” 

 According to Deuster et al (2013) We define resilience as the ability to withstand, recover, and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.”


Why is sufficient physical resilience important? 

All physical activities and anything affecting your health require a certain amount of physical fitness/resilience. The amount of what is needed varies greatly amongst the population. 

An athlete for example would require a certain amount of endurance, strength and flexibility to successfully perform their sport with minimal injury risk. The same can be said for the weekend tennis player, recreational runner and the routine gardener. 

The following quote fits well here: “If you have a body, you’re an athlete” – Bill Bowerman 

Problems arise when physical demand exceeds our physical capacity. As mentioned above, demands can be surgery, infection, activity, injury and aging. 


How do we improve it?

Exercise. It is one of the most powerful tools we have to improve our physical state. Sufficient levels of exercise are associated with a 40% decrease in all cause mortality (Zhao et al, 2020). 

If you are new to exercising, it is important to start low and slow. It might mean a 5 minute walk once a day, wading in a swimming pool or performing exercises with a 1 kilo weight. The point is we want a gradual and eased exposure. This approach builds confidence and sustainability.

It is vital to gradually increase your body’s exposure to exercise. This can be achieved through increasing the duration, frequency or intensity of your exercise. A general rule of thumb is to not increase your exercise in any of these domains by more than 10% each time (this depends highly on the individual – more or less may be needed).


If you have pain or discomfort preventing you from exercising, Michael is available for consultation. He is a Melbourne based chiropractor who consults from Medical clinics in Croydon.

He uses a variety of manual therapy approaches such as therapeutic massage, trigger point therapy, dry needling and rehabilitative exercise. 

For more information please contact Michael on 0430 300 257. Chiropractic care is covered by Private Health Insurance (depending on your plan) and some patients may be eligible for a Medicare EPC referral. 






Whitson E. H et al (2018). Physical Resilience: Not Simply the Opposite of Frailty. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 66 (8), pg. 1459 – 1461.

Schorr et al (2017). The potential use of physical resilience to predict healthy aging. Pathobiology of Aging and Age-related Diseases, 8 (1), doi: 10.1080/20010001.2017.1403844.

Deuster et al (2013). Physical fitness: a pathway to health and resilience. U.S Army Medical Department Journal, 24 – 35,

Zhao Min et al (2020). Recommended physical activity and all cause and cause specific mortality in US adults: prospective cohort study, BMJ 2020; 370, doi:


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