We can’t stop time. Or can we? The right type and amount of physical activity can help keep many age-related health problems at bay. As physical therapists and experts on movement, we can help you age well by prescribing physical activities that can help you overcome pain, gain and maintain movement, and preserve your independence—often helping you avoid the need for surgery or long-term use of prescription drugs.
Here are nine things physical therapists want you to know to age well. (Download the list in Adobe PDF)
1. Chronic pain doesn’t have to rule your life
Each year 116 million Americans experience chronic pain, costing billions of dollars in medical treatment, lost work time, and lost wages. Proper exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques can ease pain while moving and at rest, improving your overall quality of life.
2. You can get stronger as you age
Research shows that improvements in strength and physical function are possible in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond, with an appropriate exercise program. Progressive resistance training has been shown to help tremendously.
3. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise
A quarter of Americans over the age of 60 has diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity can put you at risk, but a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to prevent, and manage, type 2 diabetes.
4. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain
Low back pain is often over-treated with surgery and drugs despite a wealth of scientific evidence and research showing that physical therapy can be an effective alternative—and with much less risk than surgery and long-term use of prescription medications.
5. Exercise can help you avoid falls—and keep your independence
About one in three U.S. adults over the age of 65 fall each year. More than half of adults over 65 report problems with movement, including walking 1/4 mile, stopping and standing. Customized exercises led by a physical therapist can improve movement and balance, and reduce your risk of falls. It can also reduce your risk of hip fractures, which are most often caused by falls.
6. Your bones want you to exercise
Osteoporosis or weak bones affects more than half of Americans over the age of 54. Exercises that keep you on your feet, like walking, jogging, or dancing, and exercises using resistance, such as weightlifting, can improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.
7. Your heart wants you to exercise
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. One way to help prevent it and other cardiovascular diseases is exercise. Research has shown that if you already have heart disease, appropriate exercise can improve your health.
8. Your brain wants you to exercise
People who are physically active—even later in life—are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition which affects more than 40% of people over the age of 85.
9. Bladder leakage – You don’t just have to live with
More than 13 million women and men in the US have bladder leakage or incontinence. Don’t spend years relying on pads or rushing to the bathroom, physical therapy can help!
We can help you age well
If you find yourself feeling aches, pains, or other ailments as you age, consider giving physical therapy a try. We offer free consultations where you can sit down with a physical therapist, talk about your issue, and determine if physical therapy is the right path for you. You’ve only got one life to live, we can help you age well!