We all know that there is no way to stop time – but with the right type and amount of physical activity you can can help stave off some age-related health problems. Physical therapists, who are movement experts can prescribe physical activity to help you overcome pain, maintain movement, and preserve your independence! Doing these things will also help you avoid the need for surgery or the use of long-term use of prescription drugs.
Here are nine things you should know…
1. You can get stronger as you age. That’s right – research shows that improvements in strength and physical function are possible in your 60s, 70s, and even 80s if you maintain an appropriate exercise program.
2. Chronic pain doesn’t have to own you. Each year 116 million Americans experience chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions, with costs billions of dollars in medical treatment, lost work time, and lost wages. Proper exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques (taught to you by your physical therapist) can ease pain while moving (and resting) to improve your quality of life.
3. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain. I know I’ve written about this before but low back pain is often over-treated with surgery and drugs despite a wealth of evidence demonstrating that physical therapy is an effective alternative. Plus physical therapy poses a lot less risk than surgery or the long-term use of prescription drugs.
4. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise. One in four Americans over the age of 60 has diabetes, which is mostly due to obesity and low physical activity. Your physical therapist can help you set up a physical activity routine to help decrease your risk. Proper physical activity can also help you manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 🙂
5. Exercise can help you avoid falling, and help you keep your independence. About one in three U.S. adults age 65 or older falls every year – falling might not sound like a big deal but those of you who have experienced it (or know someone who has) know how dangerous balance/movement problems can be. Group-based exercises led by a physical therapist can actually help you improve movement and balance – which will in turn reduce your risk of falls.
6. Your bones want you to exercise. Did you know that more than half of Americans over the age of 54 suffer from osteoporosis or weak bones? To combat this your physical therapist will recommend exercises that keep you on your feet, like walking, jogging, or dancing. He/she will probably also teach you exercises that use resistance, such as weightlifting which helps to improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.
So there you have it – 6 things that you need to know to help you age well. If you are currently seeing a physical therapist it’s important that you bring any concerns you have to him/her right away. Communication is key and if any of these pieces of information jumped out at you it’s important to let your therapist know so that you can start to work towards a better quality of life. If you’re thinking about starting physical therapy and don’t have a therapist yet please feel free to get in touch with us – we would love to be the ones to help you out.
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