As the saying goes, “you’re only as young as you feel.” However, it might be more accurate to say that you are only as young as your health permits. If you see elderly people shuffling along on walkers or refusing to leave their favorite chair, you might assume that you’ll be facing the same scenario in your old age.
Finding the time or the motivation to exercise is difficult for many people. The truth, however, is that getting active can vastly improve your health, your comfort, mobility, and overall quality of life.
Fortunately, you can maintain your health, wellness, mobility, and quality of life with physical therapy! Studies indicate that if you can maintain a healthy lifestyle up until 70 years of age, you are significantly more likely to continue to enjoy that good health for the rest of your life.
Do you worry that your current musculoskeletal challenge will not let you stay as active as you should? Physical therapy can help you prepare your body for a new, more energetic lifestyle!
Your physical therapist can identify specific challenges that may need to be addressed. We can then prescribe a personalized package of remedial exercises and other physical therapy techniques to get you back on your feet and moving around again.
Whether you’re currently moving with assistance or you’re getting back into exercise, physical therapy can help you increase your fitness level, reduce your chance of injury, and eliminate pain from sore muscles.
A physical therapist can also teach you the proper techniques for warming up before your chosen activity and the best post-workout stretches for an effective cool down.
Here are three compelling reasons to choose physical activity over a sedentary lifestyle as you age:
Once you get past the age of 50, you’re at risk for an age-related issue known as sarcopenia, or muscle wasting. This condition is the natural consequence of changes in hormonal balances and nutrient absorption. Unfortunately, many older people simply “go with the flow,” allowing themselves to become weaker and frailer.
It’s no wonder that falls become both more frequent and more serious with age. You can minimize this challenge to your wellness and mobility, however, by staying active in ways that challenge your muscles.
Physical therapy exercises that emphasize strength training can help you build up your back muscles, promoting a taller, more natural posture. Exercises to strengthen your legs and the “core” muscles of your lower abdomen can help you center and balance your body for life.
The more active a lifestyle you pursue, the healthier your heart is likely to remain. Research shows that putting in 150 minutes of exercise each week (at a sufficient intensity level to make you break a sweat) can actually slow heart aging.
This level of exercise, which may either aerobic or non-aerobic in nature, can arrest or reverse the age-related rise in blood pressure that can stiffen the heart muscle and lead to heart disease.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine agree that exercise can help you stay mobile and flexible well into your golden years. These organizations recommend that you pursue activities which challenge your range of motion for at least 10 minutes a day, at least twice a week.
These activities will help your muscles and connective tissues maintain their proper length, allowing you to remain more limber and move with less discomfort. Aerobic exercises such as walking are also recommended for arthritis sufferers. If you’re starting to feel an age-related twinge in your knee or hip, regular walks can help to control inflammatory pain and optimize joint mobility.
Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to age more gracefully and enjoy a longer, healthier life? Get in touch with our physical therapist today!