Due to the host of problems that come with aging, many people don't get want to get older. However, it's inevitable. In today's day and age, though, there are a number of things that you can do to help you take control of your life, preserve your independence, build your strength, overcome your pain, and improve your health. In other words, it is possible to age well. Here are a just a few specific ways that physical therapy can actually help you live a better, healthier life as an older adult:
Build Your Strength
One thing that seniors dread when they get older is their frailty. You start getting weaker, feeling exhausted more often than not, and having low levels of physical activity. However, if you start taking steps early on to build up your physical function and improve your strength, you can keep this from happening to you. Even if you don't make the decision to start a physical therapy program until you are in your 60s, you still have a shot at improving your health. In fact, one study showed success in improving physical function in older individuals with a mean age of 60 and above through progressive resistance strength training exercises.
Manage Chronic Pain
There are more than 76 million people – of all ages – who suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain can be debilitating. For older adults, chronic pain can come from a number of things, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other medical conditions. When one is dealing with chronic pain, the pain can be so terrible that it can lead to one losing time off work, which can result in lost wages and increased medical bills. Luckily, it is possible to improve your quality of life by learning how to cope with that pain through physical therapy. According to WebMD, a physical therapist will work with you on strengthening exercises, pain relief, and low-impact aerobic and stretching exercises, some of which you may even need to or want to do at home. In addition, you can help manage your pain with ice packs and heat as well as massage.
Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's
Most people know that physical activity is good for losing weight and keeping the ticker going, but is it true that it is good for the brain? Research suggests that it is. This is because exercise increases the amount of blood vessels that send blood to your brain and has the ability to improve the cognitive function in the brain, particularly when it comes to envisioning the future and recalling memories. It even improves the executive function in the brain, which is helpful for planning and organizing tasks, like preparing dinner.
To learn more about how physical therapy can help you, contact a physical therapist like those found at DeSoto Memorial Hospital in your area.