People participate in physical therapy for a number of reasons, usually after a recommendation from a specialized physician. More often than not, we visit a physical therapist after some sort of injury, but many people are discovering that physical therapy sessions can be beneficial for those that haven’t suffered from an injury. Actually, physical therapy is a great way to prevent injuries before they even happen, especially in seniors. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of physical therapy exercises for seniors.
Benefits of Physical Therapy Exercises For Seniors
Physical therapy can help increase balance in seniors.
Balance is something we all take for granted, and as we age, our balancing abilities decrease, causing us to fall, and unfortunately, 2.5 million elderly individuals are sent to the hospital with fall-related injuries every year. Because of this, many people believe seniors should regularly participate in stretches and activities that will help increase balance, and where better to do that than in the safety of a physical therapist’s office.
Exercises like standing on a balance ball, or even something as simple as balancing on one leg with assistance can help increase balance. This will also help to prevent any future falls as well. Other exercises like leg lifts and squats can also help to improve leg strength which will also help with balance.
Physical therapy can help prevent and treat age-related disorders.
People tend to assume physical therapists only treat issues such as knee pain or back problems, but it can also assist in a lot of age-related disorders. Sound a little outlandish? Well, believe it!
Here are just a few of the disorders physical therapy can treat in seniors:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Broken bones
…and let’s not forget the normal wear and tear of aging.
There are literally hundreds of exercises out there that will help with cognition in seniors. One of the best physical therapy exercises for seniors is walking. Walking not only stimulates the legs, arms, and various joints but it also helps with cognitive function as well. More unconventional physical therapy exercises for seniors include boxing, interactive video games, and water aerobics. These will not only help with physical health but mental health as well.
Physical therapy can help reduce pain and swelling in seniors.
Did you know that there’s a strong link between seniors and opioid abuse, and it almost always stems from issues with pain? If a senior is recovering from some sort of injury, or simply the aches and pains of aging, physicians are quick to provide them relief through the form of medications, but physical therapy is becoming an increasingly popular option.
Physical therapists pinpoint the painful areas and provide seniors with an exercise regimen that will help ease any discomfort. Many people still question why physical is a better choice than medication, and the answer is simple: medication is temporary, and physical therapy, although gradual, can help those aches and pains stay away for good. Not to mention, pain medications have so many harmful side effects in seniors, such as grogginess and lethargy.
Physical therapy exercises for seniors targeting the joints are often the best way to reduce pain and swelling. Simple stretches can often help ease pain, especially in the morning. We recommend you tell your patients to stretch out their knees, elbows, ankles and hips the first thing in the morning.
Physical therapy can make the aging process a lot easier and a lot less painful. So instead of stressing about confusing medications, or setting limitations due to mobility issues, take Grandma and Grandpa to a physical therapist, and help them truly enjoy their golden years with the best possible quality of life.
What are some of the top physical therapy exercises for seniors that you recommend? Feel free to comment them below!