Physiotherapy and Healthy Aging

Physiotherapy and Healthy Aging

As the years advance, our bodies undergo natural changes that can impact our mobility, strength, and day-to-day function. However, aging doesn’t have to be synonymous with a decline in physical health!

At Beverly Physiotherapy, we understand the unique challenges that come with aging and are committed to promoting healthy aging through our personalized physiotherapy programs. No matter what stage of life you are in, physiotherapy can help you feel good about your body, and improve your quality of life. It’s never too early or too late to start making positive changes for your health!

Age Related Changes

As we age, there are a variety of changes that happen in the body- and many of them start earlier than you may think! Some changes to the musculoskeletal system include:

Muscle Changes: Muscle mass decreases and the composition of the muscles change, which combine to reduce overall strength. Muscles, tendons, and connective tissues can also shorten which can make them feel tight and limit movement.

Joint Changes: Joints may lose cartilage and joint fluid- both in the spine and peripheral joints. This can make them feel stiffer, reduce their flexibility and sometimes cause pain.

Bone Changes: Bones lose density and volume, which increases the risk of fractures and can sometimes lead to osteoporosis.

All of these changes happen very slowly and may not be noticeable at all for some time. Problems can start to occur though, when these changes progress to a point that they start to impact daily functioning and quality of life. Reduced mobility can make it difficult to get your shoes on/off, weakness can reduce your ability to climb stairs normally or get up off a low couch and postural changes may lead to pain and movement restrictions. The combined effect can lead to changes in walking patterns, slowness of movement, reduced balance, fatigue, and reduced activity tolerance.

Risk of Falls

Another serious concern with aging is the increased risk of falls. Seniors fall at a rate that is significantly higher than the rest of the population and falls are the most common type of accident in this demographic. The risks increase even more for individuals over 85 years of age or those with other risk factors. Falls can result in serious injuries such as hip fractures, other types of fractures and even brain injuries. Injuries from falls are a major source of hospitalization, morbidity, reduced quality of life and mortality among older adults.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Aging Well

Although age related changes are natural, there are definitely things we can do to make them better or worse! I think we can all agree that we want to enjoy a healthy body and mind as we age! Physiotherapists have deep knowledge of the impacts of aging on the body and how to best maximize health, wellness, and physical function. At Beverly Physiotherapy, we know that each individual has unique health related needs and concerns, and we provide customized treatment to suit each person.

The Powerful Benefits of Physical Activity

Physical activity is one of the single most powerful things we can do to minimize the negative effects of aging. Research consistently shows that adults of all ages, including the very elderly, can gain major benefits from engaging in regular physical activity. Physical activity can come in many different forms, such as dancing, swimming, going for walks, gardening or opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Basically, any body movement that expends energy! The most important thing is to do something that you like, and you will be more likely to stick to it!

Not only is physical activity good for the body and disease prevention, but it is also good for the mind too! Research shows that leading an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Targeted exercise training has also been shown to improve brain function and cognitive function in older adults.

If anything is holding you back from being more physically active such as an injury, pain, balance concerns or other physical or medical concerns, call Beverly Physiotherapy and one of our physiotherapists would be happy to help get you back on the right track!

Strengthening Exercises

Resistance exercises have been shown to increase muscle size and strength in adults including the very elderly. Even as we age, resistance exercises can help prevent or even reverse age-related changes in the muscle tissues. Physiotherapists are experts in exercise prescription and progression, and we would be happy to help you get started with a targeted strengthening program!

Flexibility and Mobility Exercises

Quantity and quality of movement in the body is important. It allows us to shoulder check, reach our arms over our heads and pick up an object from the floor. At Beverly Physiotherapy we emphasize the importance of mobility and flexibility in aging well. Our physiotherapists can provide an individualized stretching program designed to improve your joint movement and flexibility, allowing for greater ease of movement in daily activities. 

Balance Training

The importance of balance as we age cannot be understated. Balance issues can result in falls, which can lead to serious injuries and sometimes very poor health outcomes for older adults. Physiotherapists are highly trained at assessing and treating balance problems. At Beverly Physiotherapy, we can provide balance training to improve your balance and coordination and make sure you are safe while performing your exercises and daily activities.

Need pain management strategies? 

Although the natural aging process certainly does not guarantee pain, research generally shows a higher prevalence of pain among older adults. There are a number of reasons for this. Older adults are more likely to have developed conditions that can lead to pain, for example, arthritis. Older adults also have a reduced speed and ability to recover from injury. As we age (especially if there are concurrent medical conditions) we just simply take longer to heal.

Pain can significantly impact quality of life for seniors. Research shows that pain can lead to functional impairment, impaired sleep, decreased appetite, depression and social isolation in older adults. Treating pain is also more difficult in older adults as other health conditions, multiple medication use and propensity for adverse reactions to medications is more common in this group.

If you are looking for treatment options for a painful condition, physiotherapy is an excellent option with proven results. Physiotherapists have thorough knowledge of assessment and intervention options to help manage and relieve pain. We can also modify your treatment plan as needed if there are concurrent medical or other concerns. Our physiotherapists also provide home programs to compliment our in-clinic sessions and to help patients manage their condition at home.

Dynamic Physiotherapy Programs

Aging is a dynamic process, so your physiotherapy plan should be as well! At Beverly Physiotherapy, our physiotherapy programs are designed to adapt to any changes in your health and physical function. Whether your shoulder tendonitis is getting better, and you need to be challenged with harder exercises or you slipped on the ice and tweaked your already sore knee, regular reassessments and adjustments to the treatment plan give our patients the most effective and relevant care.

At Beverly Physiotherapy we are dedicated to helping older adults navigate the aging process with personalized physiotherapy programs. By addressing common challenges, providing tailored exercises, and promoting a holistic approach to well-being, we empower our patients to lead active and fulfilling lives. If you’re ready to embrace aging with confidence, schedule a consultation with us today! Your journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle starts here!

Contact Beverly Physiotherapy at 204-774-8385!