Physical Therapy Helps an Aging Population

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Maintaining physical health and fitness becomes increasingly more important as we grow older.

With age come a number of physical hardships that are common to older people – including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and other serious health conditions.

The Baby Boomer generation has become the largest group in the United States. By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to an estimated 71.5 million and will grow to 86.7 million people by 2050, according to the U.S. Census.

And as more of the general population moves toward middle and old age – the treatments and resources provided by physical therapists are becoming popular tools to combat the challenges of aging.  

As we grow older, our bodies require “reprogramming.” We lose flexibility, strength and balance, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly more difficult.

Older people are also more likely to experience falls that can cause serious long-term injuries – reducing the quality of life and driving up high medical costs.

Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls, with the most common being fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand, according to the CDC.

And for older adults recovering from even minor injuries it is generally much more difficult than for someone younger – stressing the importance of injury prevention.

Staying fit and healthy is critical in helping the body transition as it grows older – and to avoid injury.

But unfortunately, approximately 70 percent of older adults report no regular exercise, according to the CDC. The lack of mobility and physical activity can make lifestyle adjustments hard.

Physical therapy aims to change this statistic.

Physical therapists are trained to tailor specific plans that help older patients achieve fitness goals, maintain health and, most importantly, stay injury free.

Using a series of exercises, physical therapists build up strength and improve balance – the foundation to avoiding serious and life-threatening injuries. Specialized exercises can also help decrease the loss of bone density and muscle mass, a common problem seem among older people.

Physical therapists provide the tools and resources to reduce the aches and pains of aging and to help ease daily activities that maintain their independence.

While aging may be a difficult transition, physical therapists are key to providing the knowledge that will instill preventative measures that help you now – and in years to come.

For more information and tips on staying “fit after fifty” visit www.moveforwardpt.com

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