Category Archives: Aging

Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

5 Ways to Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

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Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

While winter is undoubtedly a time of joy – with the holidays and all the Christmas spirit – it is also a time of harsh weather, dark nights, and worsened moods.
Seniors can often feel winter more strongly than younger people do, as the weather conditions can limit their access to shops, family, and even doctors. It’s typically a time when they’re cooped up at home, afraid of harsh conditions and potential injuries, which doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

Here are 5 ways to help you protect the seniors in your life from winter injuries.

Bundle up

As we get older, we tend to lose body heat much more quickly, and we can even be unaware of how cold we actually are. This can lead to colds, pneumonia, or even hypothermia, which, in turn, can also lead to heart problems, kidney problems, or even death.

To prevent this, seniors need to dress in layers and stay as warm as possible. Remind them of the importance of wearing layers and make sure they have plenty of winter gear at the ready.

Stay active

On the other hand, the cold weather and snowfall will often mean seniors are stuck in the home for long periods of time, which will have a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing. This makes staying healthy in the wintertime that much more of a challenge.

Moving around is crucial, especially as we get older, as is keeping our moods up and eating healthy food. Try to encourage your seniors to do what they can – exercise at home, focus on the positive aspects of winter and the bad weather, and take it as a time to recharge rather than a limiting factor.

Help them move around as much as you can by taking them out, bringing them healthy foods, and encouraging them to stay active in the house as well.

Stock up on the necessities

Stock up their cabinets with food that can last for longer periods of time (for example, canned and frozen foods) well in advance, so that you won’t have to worry in case bad weather comes along and prevents you from getting to them. Also, make sure they have plenty of drinking water, and that their medicine cabinet is stocked up not only with their prescriptions but also with anything else they might need in an emergency.

Ask their neighbors to include them in their weekly shops for the things you can’t reasonably store, like bread, fresh veggies, and fruits. That way, they won’t have to leave the house and risk falling on the ice.

Talk to them about the weather

If there’s a severe storm coming, expected to affect either them or yourself, talk to them about it and help them understand what they can and can’t reasonably do. If you expect to be cut off from them for a while, help them understand it’s due to the weather, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Have a communications system set up in case the power or phone lines are cut off. Once again, enlist the neighbors to check in on them, just to make sure they are okay and have everything they need.

Prevent falls and potential hip fractures

Broken hips are a common injury in seniors, and they can lead to serious health complications.

To prevent them, make sure they don’t venture outside before the ice and snow have been cleared up from their preferred paths. If they are going outside, try to encourage them to have an emergency kit with them, with a bottle of water, a whistle, a flashlight, and their most urgent medications. Of course, they should also have a cellphone on them, but in case they are not quite sure how to use it, a whistle can draw the attention of passersby.

You can also install a medical alert system in the home, or have them wear an emergency bracelet that they can use to call for help if a fall does occur.

Final words

Preventing an injury or illness is often better than actually treating it. By using the above ways to help protect the seniors from winter injuries, we hope this winter will be full of fun with as little stress and worry as possible.  If you do find yourself in need of a physical therapy team that can help a loved one recover from injury, please reach out to one of our partnering locations and let us help you get your 2020 back on track.

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

How to Manage Movement after a Total Hip or Knee Replacement

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After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will be showing you how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement. We would like to begin by preparing your home before you go into surgery. We call it our pre-op prep!

Simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you heal from a joint replacement. 

  • Keep a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the hip.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have a temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/downstairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk of falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any medications you might need.
  • Purchase a shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat. This will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post-surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Purchase assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoehorn and/or sock aid may be necessary during your post-operative recovery.

After surgery, your health care provider will show you how to use a walker. Use your walker for as long as directed by your surgeon. This is important since the walker relieves some of the weight off of the leg and can protect it, even when just taking a few short steps.

Steps to take while using your walker on a level surface

  1. Advance the walker
  2. Step up to the walker with your surgical leg
  3. Next, step forward with your nonsurgical leg
  4. Make sure all four legs of the walker are in firm contact with the floor or ground.

using a walker on a level surface

How to use your walker while going upstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step up with your nonsurgical leg.
  • Follow with your surgical leg to the same step.

how to go upstairs with a walker

How to use your walker while going downstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step down with your surgical leg. Follow with your nonsurgical leg to the same step.

how to use a walked going downstairs

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News November 2019

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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!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2019

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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!

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help parents with their physical therapy

Helping Your Parents With Their Physical Therapy

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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.

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exercise benefits mental health

Senior Tip: How Physical Exercise Benefits Mental Health

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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.

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prevent joint pain physical therapy

6 Ways to Find Relief and Prevent Joint Pain

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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 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.

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fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Risks & Tips in your home

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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.


  • 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



  • 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?


  • 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.

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

PT News PTandMe

PT News February 2019

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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

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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

American Heart Association

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada


Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: 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: Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

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