Category Archives: Aging

PT News PTandMe

PT News November 2019

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout November 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

low back pain

1. Low Back Pain – A Powerful Guide

Written by Wright Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout the heart of the Magic Valley, Boise and Eastern Idaho.

Daily, we see patients who are concerned about the course they should take to heal their back pain.  Our aim with these individuals is to utilize a skilled classification system and evidence-based treatments to aid in identification and treatment of Low Back Pain (LBP). Read more

 

Snow Shoveling

2. Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling Snow

Written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Central VA. 

As I was shoveling the snow off my driveway this week, I quickly realized that I needed to adjust my technique or I was going to pay for it later. Injury can result from repetitive movements with a general lack of awareness and variability in movement and may be prevented with some easy steps. Read more

 

physical therapy

3. Relieving Your Pain the Natural Way – Physical Therapy as the Safer Relief Alternative

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Greater Columbus, OH.

It is no secret that the United States is a country with very high levels of medication. It is also a common practice for physicians to prescribe heavier pain relievers, such as the opioids that have resulted in a country-wide epidemic. While the effects of these drugs can be frightening, there is a safer solution available: physical therapy.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

physical therapy near me

PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2019

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout October 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

sport specialization

1. Sports Specialization Vs. Sports Diversification in Youth Athletes

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout greater Grand Rapids.

Early specialization in one sport has become a trend in youth athletes across the country. This shift is one that has young athletes training year round to develop a specialized skill be able to play at the highest level of competition. Read more

 

food is fuel

2. Food is Your Fuel

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout greater Bend, OR. 

Truth: we are not nutritionists. That said, after a bit of trial and error and working with patients and various health professionals, we have picked up on these and common do’s and dont’s. Lindsey Hagen, PT, and healthy running nut discusses the importance of balance in your diet and making sure you do what is best for your body, as they say, “You do you…” Read more

 

walking up stairs

3. Climbing Stairs – One Step at a Time

Written by The Jackson Clinics an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations across Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa

Although going up the stairs may feel challenging, some people experience more pain going down. This is because your muscles have to work hard to control your weight as you descend. If you have suffered from knee problems in the past or continue to have problems, it is probably time to look at increasing strength to make navigating stairs less difficult. Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

physical therapy near me

help parents with their physical therapy

Helping Your Parents With Their Physical Therapy

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

help parents with their physical therapy

As our parents get older, they are faced with all kinds of challenges, mostly pertaining to their health. These challenges include reduced mobility and increased pain in the limbs, joints, and muscles, as well as an increased risk of injury.

Many senior adults are in physical therapy to recover from surgery, a fall or other accident. A significant number of seniors will also choose physical therapy as a way to improve their overall mobility and actually prevent falls from happening. If you have a parent who is undergoing physical therapy, here is how you can help your parents with their physical therapy and make the most of recovery.

Be aware of the benefits

If you have ever suffered an injury that has kept you more or less tied to your house for over a week, you know just how frustrating it can be to have a limited ability to move.

Improved mobility is not the only benefit of physical therapy – there is also pain relief. If your parents suffer from chronic pain, PT can help them manage it, or even significantly improve it.

In elderly patients, especially, this kind of improvement can have a tremendous effect on the quality of life, helping them cope with all aspects of life better. As chronic pain often limits the elderly from getting out and about, they can become isolated, and even sink into depression. PT is a great way to help them find relief and improve their life

This is why physical therapy is so important, and why you need to encourage your parents not only to attend every session but also to adhere to the advice and guidelines the therapist prescribes. Even if this is an inconvenience at times – especially in that case – you need to ‘be the parent’ and keep on encouraging them to stick to the prescribed regime. Do what you can to help your parents manage through their PT sessions until the benefits are clear to everyone.

Help them get there

When it comes to physical therapy, one of the biggest challenges for elderly patients, is actually getting from their home to their appointment.

And while they can certainly perform some, if not all, of the exercises at home, it is important that they are seen by a therapist. Professional help is there to monitor progress, make sure that the exercises are performed correctly, correct the exercise plan when necessary, and prevent any injuries.

To help your parents from missing an appointment here or there, the best thing you can do is set up a plan for them to make it to each session. If you or a family member can’t drive them every time, arrange a taxi or an Uber to help them get there. You can even establish a schedule with a specific driver, so you always know there will be someone to get them there. There are also specialized services for the transportation of elderly patients, so you can check them out as well.

Understand what is covered by insurance, and what isn’t

Insurance can be difficult to understand, and you might need to double-check what your parents’ plan will cover, and what is not included. Make sure to inform yourself on the issue well, as there may be certain aspects of therapy that are not covered by the insurance company.

Once you have all the facts, talk to your parents’ PT and their doctor and come up with the best plan that is either covered by insurance, or which you can pay for yourself. Be honest with them about your means, but make sure your parents are getting what is best for them.

Make sure they are safe at home

If your parents have difficulty moving around, you need to make sure they don’t injure themselves further. This can be tricky, as some elderly patients will be stubborn and try to act as if the injury is simply not there.

Try to fall-proof your parents’ home as much as you can. If they need to adjust their bathtub or shower, or the layout of the furniture, help them do that and get rid of any carpets or clutter that might trip them up.

You should also equip them with a walking cane that will help support them while walking around, especially when they are going out of the house. Also, try to help them understand that all these precautions are there to help them, not make them feel less like themselves.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that the more you communicate with your parents about their physical therapy, the better you will be able to help them. Talk to them often, and be there when you can – they will appreciate it, even when they don’t say it outright.

Find a physical therapist that is convenient for your family.

physical therapy near me

 

exercise benefits mental health

Senior Tip: How Physical Exercise Benefits Mental Health

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

exercise benefits mental health

We all know the importance of exercise in our lives. Exercise keeps our body, soul, and brain, healthy. It keeps us fit physically as well as mentally. According to Senior Guidance, older adults who exercise regularly have lower rates of getting any kind of mental illness. Moreover, exercise also helps in treating anxiety and depression. Many people believe that with growing age, exercise loses its effect. Hence, there is no need for elderly people to strain their bodies. That’s just not true. Exercise benefits mental health at every age.

Per health experts, regular exercise is highly beneficial for elderly people. It would not only let them live an active and healthy life but would help in increasing their life span. If you want to be physically, emotionally, and mentally fit, try doing regular exercise. Exercise benefits mental health by keeping seniors active and healthy, which would further help them live independently.

A regular, healthy part of senior living should be to find the motivation to do regular exercise. Routine exercise will help older adults become mentally strong and fight mental conditions like depression and anxiety, which are quite common at their age.

Benefits of exercise for aging adults and golden oldies include:

1. Helps You Sleep Better

One of the most common problems faced by senior people is the lack of sleep. As we get older, we tend to have a lighter and less deep sleep. Various researches have proved that exercise boost sleep. Regular exercise improves the quality of sleep. Physical activity like exercise increases the time of deep sleep, which further helps in boosting the immune system and controlling anxiety and stress. Moreover, exercise results in energy expenditure, which makes you feel tired, which results in longer and peaceful sleep.

2. Helps to Maintain the Level of Chemicals in Brain

Brain chemicals or neurotransmitters are responsible for how we feel, physically as well as mentally. This holds true for young and elderly people. Regular exercise stimulates the production of brain chemicals- dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Regular exercise boosts the release of these brain chemicals, which help us in improving our overall well-being. Exercise stimulates the production of norepinephrine, which counters the effect of stress response in our body. Exercise gives a relaxing and calming effect on our brain and body because of the release of serotonin. Hence, regular exercise is essential for senior people as it helps in maintaining the level of brain chemicals, which decreases mood disorder symptoms, reduces stress, and gives a feeling of calmness and relaxation.

3. Boosts Energy Levels

Fatigue is very common among elderly people. Exercise does not only help in overcoming fatigue but also increases the energy level in the body. Just taking a simple walk in the fresh air not only refreshes your mood but would also boost your energy levels. While exercising, we use the energy which is stored in our body and start making more of it. Sitting and remaining inactive will not bring any change in the state of fatigue. However, getting involved in some physical exercise will make you feel active.

4. Reduces the Muscle Tension

Muscle tension is another common health problem faced by elderly people. Prolonged semi-contracted state in muscles results in muscle tension. This further results in muscle pain and muscle spasm. One of the major causes of muscle tension is lack of exercise. In addition to this, with age, people start losing muscle mass and strength. Older adults who spend most of their time in remaining sedentary faces more muscle related problems. Tense muscles generally lack oxygen and vital nutrients. Exercise increases the flow of blood to muscle cells, which further increases the oxygenation in muscles.

5. Decreases the Risk of Falls

The risk of falls is much higher in older adults. Falls are quite dangerous for them as it not only causes physical damage to the body but also hampers their independence. Recovery time after falls increases with growing age. Regular exercise or enrollment in a fall prevention physical therapy program increases muscle strength and flexibility. Physical exercises result in better bone density, which makes bone stronger and reduces the risk of getting fractures and osteoporosis. Exercise reduces the risk of falls by improving coordination and balance.

6. Makes You Happier and Boosts Positivity

Regular exercise brings positivity in life and makes you feel happier. Exercise stimulates the release of the happy hormone ‘Dopamine’ in our brain. This hormone is very essential for feeling happiness. Studies state that with age, the dopamine level decreases in our brain. This makes regular exercise more important for senior adults.

7. Reduces the Risk of Developing Dementia

Recent studies show that inactivity increases the chances of Dementia among seniors, requiring memory care or assisted living at later stages of the disease. Dementia is an umbrella that covers various mental conditions, including judgment impairment, memory loss, etc. Regular exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, which keeps the cells healthy. Moreover, exercise increases the production of brain chemicals and growth factors, which helps in keeping existing cells healthy and also helps in the growth of new brain cells, which results in increasing memory and control thinking.

Regular exercise is essential for everyone irrespective of age. Exercise benefits mental health by reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. Just make sure to make exercise a part of your everyday regime. It will help you in living a healthy and happy life.

Please consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. If you are looking for help developing an exercise routine that fits your needs and skill level, please reach out to your physical therapist for guidance.

physical therapy near me

prevent joint pain physical therapy

6 Ways to Find Relief and Prevent Joint Pain

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

prevent joint pain physical therapy

Joint pain is a common issue that can have many causes and can lead to an array of complications. Joint pain affects such a large percentage of the population. It is estimated that by the year 2030, 67 million—one in every four American adults—will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That doesn’t mean that we have to live in pain. It’s important to understand your pain and to take the steps needed to make sure it doesn’t lower your standard of living.

So, what are some great ways to relieve and prevent joint pain?

Going to Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a good solution for treating various joint pain symptoms. Physical therapists can help prevent or delay joint replacements, manage symptoms of arthritis/ chronic joint pain while providing tools to minimize pain or further damage to the joint, and help acutely injured joints recovery from injury. Improving flexibility and range of motion in the affected joints is also a key component in most physical therapy programs.

Getting enough movement and exercise

Even though the natural inclination for a person experiencing joint pain would be to move as little as possible, movement and light exercise will often time do the exact opposite, and be a great ally on your journey towards pain relief.

Good exercises for those who suffer from inflammation causing joint pain are aerobics, water aerobics, bicycling, burst training exercises, social activities that include movement, Tai Chi, light weight lifting, and yoga.

Go for a massage

Massaging the affected joint can be a treat, especially for joint pain occurring in the hips and knees. You can have this done at a treatment center, or have a professional who provides this type of service come to your home, but this is also something that a loved one can do for you, or that you can do yourself. An infographic from spa-hotels.ie has shown the benefits associated with massage therapy, including reducing joint pain and stress levels.

Maintain an ideal weight

Having a high BMI can cause joint pain. The more weight on the joint, the more effort is needed to move and support the body. Introducing movement and light exercise to a daily routine, as well as working towards a healthier diet, can reduce the strain on the joints. Before beginning an exercise regimen, it is important to consult your healthcare provider. A physical therapist or physician can introduce an exercise program that is tailored to your needs and ability level.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet

Making the change to an anti-inflammatory diet is a great way to naturally alleviate joint pain. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of what anti-inflammatory eating habits should look like. One thing to be aware of is the fact that some of the most inflammatory foods out there are dairy and gluten products.

In order to mitigate joint pain through diet would be to eat a healthy amount fruits and vegetables, berries and nuts, various types of spices and herbs, as well as teas, such as green tea or ginger tea. Processed meats, fast food, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and chips should be cut as much as possible. Working with a nutritionist can help introduce long-term meaningful changes to a diet plan.

Get enough sleep

Believe it or not, the quality and quantity of sleep is a factor in pain relief. New research suggests that irregular sleep contributes to pain in a variety of ways, including the ability to tolerate pain. By adjusting your posture at night to keep pressure off of the painful joints, the body is able to more easily relax and allow for sleep. Exercising and remaining active throughout the day should also help you get better sleep at night.

As joint pain has become common, we tend to accept it as something we can’t really control. However, when looking at the most common causes for joint pain, we can clearly see that a sedentary lifestyle, high anxiety levels produced by stress, and unhealthy food choices are leading causes related to the issue in question.

In order to prevent inflammation, as much as in the purpose of relieving joint pain, we have to make better decisions regarding our way of living. This means creating an environment for ourselves and for our families where movement is valued and practiced on a daily basis. It also means that we should make an effort in order to ensure that there’s always a bit of time during the day to help clear one’s head by engaging in mindful practice, or by taking up a relaxing leisure activity. Equally important, it is essential to set dietary boundaries and to respect our body by not constantly abusing it with food that’s poor in nutrients, and lacks all of the advantages healthy food brings to the table when talking about the general health of the human body.

physical therapy near me

fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Risks & Tips in your home

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

fall prevention tips at home

While falls can happen anywhere, more than half of them happen in the home. One in every three adults 65 and older fall AT HOME each year in the U.S. One of the easiest ways to help prevent a fall is to make sure that certain tripping hazards are addressed and removed. We’ve compiled a short list below to help you get started.

COMMON WARNING SIGNS FOR FALLING ARE:

  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year

RISKS TO CONSIDER WHEN FALL PROOFING YOUR HOME:

Lighting

  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering
    a dark room?

Surfaces

  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the
    appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

Trip Hazards

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?

If you feel that you are at risk for falls, talk to your physical therapy provider. Most physical therapy clinics offer fall risk assessments that can help determine any areas of risk. By participating in a fall prevention program, you can reduce the likelihood of a fall and increase the ability to live independently. Fall prevention programs mainly focus on core strength, flexibility, and patient education.

physical therapy near me

 

FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


    
PT News PTandMe

PT News February 2019

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

 

2. Can I Exercise Safely with a Cold?
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics with physical therapy locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The average adult gets one to six colds every year, with symptoms lasting a week to 10 days. Should you let these colds interrupt your exercise routine? Probably not, as long as you pay attention to what your body tells you. Read more

 

3. Physical Therapy for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
Written by the physical therapy team at Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates with locations throughout Montgomery, Berks and Chester, PA counties.

Osteoporosis is the leading cause of fractures in the elderly. It is a disease which causes diminished bone mass and leads to a decrease in bone quality which results in increased risk for bone fractures. Fractures can lead to functional disability, chronic pain, and at times, early death. Read more

seniors start exercising

Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

seniors start exercising

For years, seniors have attributed their aches, pains, and illnesses to the normal aging process. Age is often used as a reason to avoid exercise. But a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life and help you avoid illness, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.

WHAT WE KNOW
Most people know that with age, come certain physiological changes. Studies show that we lose the following as we age:
• Lean muscle tissue—Most of us will lose muscle mass as we get older. We usually hit our peak muscle mass early—around age 20—and begin losing muscle mass thereafter.
• Aerobic capacity—The aerobic capacity is the ability of the heart and the body to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Changes in the heart and decrease in muscle tissue decrease aerobic capacity.
• Balance—As we age, our ability to balance decreases, making falls and injuries more likely. The loss of muscle is a major contributor to losses on balance.
• Flexibility—Our joints and tendons lose some of their range of motion with age, making it difficult to bend and move around comfortably.
• Bone density—Most of us reach our peak bone density around age 20. After that, bones can become gradually thinner and weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help delay some of these changes and give you the energy you need to do everyday activities like walking, shopping, and playing with your grandchildren. Exercise may even help decrease depression and stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and postpone age-related cognitive decline.

By adding endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance training into your routine, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic.

senior push ups

ENDURANCE
Decades ago, doctors rarely recommended aerobic exercise for older people. But we now know that most people can safely do moderate exercises. Studies have shown that doing aerobic exercise just a few days a week can bring significant improvements in endurance.

Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming—at least 5 days a week. You do not have to do 30 minutes at once—you can break these sessions up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. Moderate exercise will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to be slightly elevated, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

STRENGTH
It is not just aging that makes people lose muscle. One of the main reasons older people lose muscle mass is that they stop exercising and doing everyday activities that build muscle.

Building stronger muscles can help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and make it easier for you to move around in general. Even small changes in your muscle size and strength—ones that you cannot even see—will make things like walking quickly across the street and getting up out of a chair easier to do.

Aim to do strength exercises (eg, weight lifting) every other day, or at least twice a week. For each exercise, do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

FLEXIBILITY
Increasing your overall activity level and doing stretching exercises can markedly improve your flexibility.

To improve the flexibility—or range of motion—of your joints, incorporate bending and stretching exercises into your routine. A good time to do your flexibility exercises is after your strength training routine. This is because you muscles will already be warmed up. Examples of exercises that you may enjoy include Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and exercises that you do in the water.

By regularly stretching, you will be able to move around easier. You may also feel less stressed, and your posture will improve.

BALANCE
Just becoming more physically active will improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. If you add some basic balancing exercises to your exercise routine, you will begin feeling more stable on your feet. Balance exercises can be done just about anywhere and usually require no more equipment than a chair.

Keep in mind that if you are having severe problems with balance, a fall prevention physical therapy program can be a great way to regain your balance, increase strength or improve flexibility.

GETTING STARTED
To avoid injury, start slowly. Add one or two sessions a week at first and progress from there as you begin to feel stronger. A physical therapist, or other health professional, can help develop a program that will be both safe and effective. Check with your local fitness or community center, which may offer exercise classes designed especially for older adults. Check with your primary health care provider if you are planning to participate in vigorous activities.

Remember, it is never too late to start exercising. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling healthier, more energetic, and less stressed.

RESOURCES:
American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191. Updated September 2009. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Exercise and physical activity: your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging-1. Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Physical activity: glossary of terms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/terms/index.htm#Moderate. Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed on April 4, 2016.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

how do falls happen

How Do Falls Happen?

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

Statistics show that the majority (60 percent) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining (40 percent) are falls from a height. This document will summarize information on “falls on the same level” (slips and trips). Falls from an elevation, such as falls from ladders, roofs, down stairs or from jumping to a lower level, etc., will discussed in another document since each type of fall requires different features in a fall prevention program.

Slips
Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface.
Common causes of slips are:
• Wet or oily surfaces
• Occasional spills
• Weather hazards
• Loose, unanchored rugs or mats, and flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas

tripping

Trips
Trips happen when your foot collides (strikes, hits) an object causing you to lose the balance and, eventually fall.
Common causes of tripping are:
• Obstructed view
• Poor lighting
• Clutter in your way
• Wrinkled carpeting
• Uncovered cables
• Bottom drawers not being closed, and uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces

Find a physical therapist near me

Click here to see the Fit2Wrk presentation: Slips and Falls in the Workplace

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


    
Tips for Seniors: How to Avoid Injuries During Sports and Exercise

Tips for Seniors: How to Avoid Injuries During Sports and Exercise

like what you see? share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin

Tips for Seniors: How to Avoid Injuries During Sports and Exercise

Our bodies change with age. It may not be a pleasant thought, but at least most changes are gradual. One thing that does not change as the body ages is the need for physical activity. Physical activity promotes physical and mental well-being. Before you head out the door, learn why your risk for injury is higher as you get older.

As you age it’s possible to notice a couple of significant changes:

  • Tendons and ligaments lose some of their elasticity. This can lead to reduced range of motion in the joints, making these areas more prone to injuries. And unfortunately, older bodies tend to take a bit longer to recover from injuries.
  • A loss in muscle. This loss usually begins in the mid-40s (earlier if you are inactive) and may decline as much as 10% after the age of 50. This muscle loss can certainly mean a decline in physical abilities and make it easier to gain weight. Fortunately, regular exercise can significantly slow this muscle loss. If you do not use your muscles regularly, the tissues become weaker and less compliant.

Although older adults accumulate a variety of injuries, the most common injuries involve sprains (stretching or tearing of a ligament) and strains (stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon) around the shoulders, knees, and ankles. These injuries may only cause minor soreness or stiffness. People often do not recognize soreness as a problem, and they work through the pain. This may lead to more soreness and injury. Other common injuries include tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, and shin splints.

How to Avoid Injuries During Sports and Exercise

To live a longer, more productive life, you have to exercise. You may need to exercise at a lower pace or for shorter periods of time than you did when you were younger. Remember that you may not be able to play hoops to the level of your 30-year-old colleagues, or play as many back-to-back tennis matches as you once could. This is a great time to make some changes to your routine and play smart. Before you get started, follow these tips so you can avoid injuries during sports and exercise:

  • Get a basic medical screening. Talk with your doctor. Find out if you have any conditions that would put you in jeopardy while exercising. If you have a chronic condition that is limiting, you may be able to work out an activity plan within the scope of your ability.
  • Find a balanced exercise program. Do not rely on one sport to keep you in shape. Follow a program that includes cardiovascular activity, strength training, and stretching.
  • Warm up before and cool down after physical activity. Adding a few minutes to your warm up can make your workouts smoother. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, which is why you are asking for trouble if you skip the warm-up. Try some light jogging or walking.
  • Keep it regular. You will not make gains in fitness by cramming your activity into the weekend. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Take lessons. Hire a trained professional such as a physical therapist or licensed athletic trainer to help you attain and maintain proper form in your sport, even if it is weight training.
  • Get the right equipment for your sport. You want to make sure the gear you use for your activity is in good shape and used properly. Think about the condition of your shoes, or if you will need a helmet.
  • Follow the 10% rule. When you are ready to increase your activity level, do so in 10% increments. In other words, increase activity small increments per week. This rule also applies to working with weights.
  • Be cautious about adding new exercises. Whether you are a seasoned fitness enthusiast or new to exercise, avoid taking on too many activities at once. Add activities gradually.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you. If your knees hurt after you ski, find an easier ski run or maybe think about a different activity that does not hurt your knees.
  • Be careful about jumping right back into your routine. Gradually return to your workout routine if you had to take a brief time out because of illness or injury. If an injury requires additional help make sure to follow the return-to-play guidelines provided by your physical therapist.
  • Seek professional help if you injure yourself. Consult your physical therapist for injuries that are not relieved with home care. Some injuries require medical treatment and will not go away on their own.

Old age no longer means less activity. In fact, it means quite the opposite. The more active you are the better your body will age. Play smart, listen to your body, and you will find more abilities than limits. For help finding a workout that fits your lifestyle and ability levels don’t hesitate to call your physical therapist. They have the expertise and skills needed to help keep you active and safely avoid injuries during sports and exercise.

RESOURCES:

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
www.health.gov

Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Healthy Canadians
http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca

Public Heath Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Effects of aging. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191. Updated September 2009. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Making physical activity a part of an older adult’s life. Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/getactive/olderadults.html. November 9, 2011. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Physical activity guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Sports injury prevention for baby boomers. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00178. Updated August 2011. Accessed October 26, 2016.

Last reviewed October 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 12/10/2014