So, what can you do? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that trouble getting around is just a part of aging. The importance of physical therapy and the role it can play in helping your mobility cannot be overlooked.
Physical therapy for senior citizens can be an important first step to increase your quality of living. You may think that it’s only available for those with recent injuries. However, this is a common physical therapy myth. It is also available to those who are struggling with limited mobility from aging.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading to discover 10 ways physical therapy can be beneficial for seniors.
1. Help Build Strength and Endurance
Have things like cooking, cleaning, and running errands become a difficult ordeal for you? Daily tasks that you were once able to do in a breeze may now be tiring and painful.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Regular physical therapy sessions can increase both your strength and endurance. Building strength will make doing things like lifting household objects, pushing the vacuum cleaner, and carrying the groceries easier. Building endurance can help you do these tasks longer without tiring out.
You’ll be less likely to get lightheaded from overexertion by just trying to go grocery shopping. You’ll enjoy being able to clean the house without taking several breaks.
2. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Being active and moving around is vital to maintaining your health – no matter what your age is. However, many seniors tend to forget this and opt for a life with little activity.
There are several dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, including a weakened immune system, poor blood circulation, weaker bones, and losing muscle strength. All these symptoms could then develop into worse health problems and increase your risks for falls.
However, partaking in regular physical therapy can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle, so you won’t have to worry quite as much.
3. Reduce the Risk of Falls
Falls can be very dangerous for senior citizens. In fact, falls are the number one cause of death and injury for seniors. One of the biggest benefits of physical therapy for senior citizens is that it can reduce the risk of falls.
If you are experiencing weakened muscles, a lack of flexibility, poor balance, or just got released from the hospital, you are at a higher risk of experiencing a fall.
However physical therapy for older adults can help prevent this. It can help strengthen your muscles, work on your flexibility, and improve your gait. The encompassing nature of physical therapy makes it the perfect plan to stay safe.
4. Lesson Incontinence
Incontinence can be one of the most embarrassing side effects of aging for many seniors. It can also make it more difficult to leave your house for extended periods of time.
So, what can you do? You may not think this can be helped with physical therapy, but you’d be surprised. Studies have shown that exercising the right muscles to help you regain bladder control is one of the benefits of physical therapy for seniors.
5. Lessen Chronic Pain
If you are experiencing chronic pain, you’re not alone. Many seniors experience joint pain, such as adhesive capsulitis, that makes their daily life difficult and painful.
If this is the case, physical therapy might be the last thing you want to do. You may think that it will increase your pain by wearing your joints out – but it’s quite the opposite!
Living a sedentary lifestyle actually causes your joints to stiffen. This can cause a lot of pain when you do try to move them. By opting for physical therapy, you’ll be up and moving around more and your joints may start to feel better.
6. Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic pain for older adults.
Similar to other types of chronic pain, it can be caused by stiffening of the joints, which can be helped with regular physical therapy sessions. Arthritis tends to show up all over the body, including in the hands, spine, and knee.
Senior physical therapy can be customized to help your specific needs. If your arthritis is centered in one area, your physical therapist can focus on just that spot. But, if it’s in several locations, they can help by providing an encompassing session to get you moving every part of your body.
7. Recover from a Stroke
If you have suffered from a stroke, you will probably be told the importance of physical therapy for your healing process. The negative side effects of a stroke are numerous. Incontinence, muscle weakness, and difficulty picking up your foot are just a few.
Strokes can cause a major set-back and make it very difficult to get around. However, physical therapy for senior citizens can help you retrain your brain to bring your mobility back.
8. Fight Off Infection
One thing you may not consider is the importance of physical therapy in fighting off infections. One of the reasons seniors are more susceptible to pneumonia and ulcers is their lack of mobility.
By partaking in physical therapy and living a more active lifestyle, you can boost your immune system to better fight off infections. This is especially important if you are in the hospital recovering from an injury.
9. Exercise Your Brain
Physical therapy can do more than just help your body – it can help your mind too!
Many seniors don’t use their brain as much as they used to. However, using your brain can help you with your memory and problem-solving skills. Now, there are many ways you can achieve this, including doing crossword puzzles and playing chess.
However, physical therapy can also help. You’ll be learning about all new types of exercises which can stimulate your brain. Remembering to stick to your daily or weekly physical therapy routine can help improve your memory.
If you are going to a physical therapy center, you may meet and socialize with new people which can help lessen depression and boost your mood!
10. Battle Alzheimer’s and Dementia Symptoms
If you are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, you may want to consider signing up for physical therapy.
One way to help battle the symptoms of these diseases is to exercise your brain. Now, we’ve mentioned that learning new exercises and memorizing a new routine can help improve memory and brain function.
However, there are also special types of physical therapy that incorporate memory-building techniques. Examples of this would be using your daily routines and hobbies in the physical therapy sessions to help you remember certain movements.
The Importance of Physical Therapy
As you age, it becomes increasingly vital that you live an active lifestyle. The importance of physical therapy in your life cannot be overlooked.
Physical therapy for older adults can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle by building your muscle strength, preventing falls, and exercising your brain, among other things.
If you’ve never been to physical therapy, check out our article on what to expect during your first physical therapy appointment!
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