The Benefits of Physical Therapy in the Golden Years
Preventing and delaying the challenges of growing older
Life after 60 should be golden, filled with rest and relaxation while enjoying a senior agenda.
Often times enjoying the golden years is overshadowed by the obstacles and challenges of growing old; simple activities like walking, climbing stairs and even getting out of a chair can be painful and seem more like a chore.
As an older adult, it is important to realize that incorporating a daily routine of physical activity is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your health. It is a way to prevent and delay the many challenges experienced from growing old by improving muscle growth and tone and helping with balance and endurance.
The CDC recommends adults aged 65 and older should follow the below guidelines for physical activity:
• At least 150 minutes a week (30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking or 75 minutes a week of vigorousintensity activity such as hiking, jogging or running.
• At least two days a week of activities to strengthen muscles.
• Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot for at least 10 seconds and up to 30 seconds about three days a week.
If just reading the recommendations is overwhelming, keep in mind that some physical activity is better than none. The benefits will increase with the more physical activity that you do. If a chronic condition affects your ability to meet these recommendations, have a conversation with your primary care physician and decide on a routine you can handle.
Understanding the true benefits of physical therapy can also offer some resolve to “aging gracefully.” It is common for physical therapy to be used in treatment plans when someone is recovering from an illness or injury, but there are so many benefits for older adults. It can treat various ailments, including osteoporosis, arthritis, vertigo and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Older adults sometimes struggle with losing flexibility, strength and balance, making daily activities and exercise difficult, increasing the risk of falls and serious injuries. Physical therapy can improve these functions, regain independence and lessen the risks of falls and injury while creating a healthier lifestyle.
If you are struggling with everyday tasks, it is worth a conversation to decide if you are a good candidate for physical therapy and if a physician can prescribe it. A physical therapist will create a therapy plan targeted to improve your condition through strength training and exercises. They will also work with you on methods to relieve discomfort and teach you important modifications for daily activity until the condition improves.
Enjoying your “Golden Years” is worth being healthy and strong. For more information on the benefits of physical therapy, visit www.CHRISTUShealth.org and search physical therapy.
Jay Sessions is a physical therapist at CHRISTUS Outpatient Therapy-Stonewall. Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation therapy services are now available at CHRISTUS Outpatient Therapy-Stonewall with the help of Jay and his team.