Staying Active and Independent
Aging is inevitable, but there is a choice to how well we age. To maintain our ability to care for ourselves and loved ones depends a lot on our health and physical function. We all want to be able to keep doing the activities we love for as long as possible. To stay active and independent through life we need to remember two main things: Stay Fit and Stay Balanced.
Staying fit and healthy is vital to maintaining our independence and our ability to stay safe. Exercise in some form is crucial and has been proven numerous times to improve balance, strengthen bones, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, improve diabetic control, reduce stress, improve pulmonary function, reduce osteoarthritic pain and stiffness, and reduce depressive symptoms. Muscle loss is a normal part of aging. By age 40, people start to lose about one percent of muscle mass each year which doubles by age 50. As this progresses, our bodies become more susceptible to injuries including strains, sprain, and accidents such as falls. In addition, exercise also increases our mental capacity and reduces and the chance of cognitive decline (Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease). A prescribed strength training and aerobic exercise program will help you maintain and strengthen critical muscle groups to help you do all the things you want to keep doing. One study found that regular physical activity introduced later in life can boost the likelihood of “healthy aging” seven-fold. The study titled, “Taking Up Physical Activity in Later Life and Healthy Aging: the English Longitudinal Study of Aging” compared the benefit of exercise in those who initiated an exercise routine later in life versus individuals who are consistently inactive.
According to the CDC, about 70 percent of older adults report no regular exercise.
Reasons for reducing our physical activity:
- Chronic pain
- Fatigue from diseases and/or medications
- Fear of pain/discomfort/falling
- Lack of understanding of how aging can cause frailty
Staying Balanced is another crucial aspect of aging well. As we age, we are more likely to experience falls that can cause serious long-term injuries and reduce our quality of life. According to the CDC a third of all people over 65 fall each year. A person over 50 years of age takes longer to heal compared to a younger person, so injury prevention is very important. If an injury or fall has already happened that is a clear sign that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from being active. The good news is there are clinically proven ways to prevent most falls and we can help.
As movement experts, physical therapists are trained to tailor individualized plans that help patients achieve fitness goals, maintain health, stay injury free, and improve your life now and for years to come. We want you to get back normal with daily tasks such as preparing meals, bathing, dressing, moving about your community, caring for a family member and maintaining your independent lifestyle.
EVALUATION AND TREATMENT MAY INVOLVE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Strength Testing
- Flexibility Testing
- Walking (Gait) Patterns
- Your Health History
- Sight and Hearing Screenings
- Blood Pressure
- Assistive/Adaptive Device Use & Education
- Footwear Recommendations
- Review of Your Medications
- Strength Training
- Balance Training
- Flexibility Exercises
- Visual Exercises
- Functional Exercises
- Weight-bearing Exercises
- Sleep Hygiene
- Risk Reduction/Modification Education
- A Personalized Home Program
Everyone is different, therefore treatment programs will vary. The best thing you can do is contact our office and schedule an initial evaluation to evaluate your strengths and limitations and address your goals. In most cases, insurance will cover it.