In the Physical Therapy world, we see patients from all walks of life; people who are coming to therapy for anything from acute injuries, with possible orthopedic surgeries; to chronic pain, with sometimes limited movement. The one shared response that we hear is that they are here (in therapy) to get better; be in less pain. However, what is life after therapy? What was life like before therapy? Sometimes you have to ask yourself these questions to consider what may have brought them to therapy.
The image some have when you hear “young”, is agile and able to move freely without restrictions, right? The image some have when you hear “old”, is stiff and unable to get around quick, maybe? Well, it is the lifestyle and activity level that sometimes can dictate how you age.
As we age, we lose the desire and stamina, sometimes, to continue to lead an active life. It is this exact lifestyle change over time that brings us to that image of “old”. The activities like roller skating, riding bikes, playing tag, jump rope, skipping, etc are generally things of the past. Just because we are aging, does not mean we should stop doing some of these things; aka being active. It is important to be active as a child for bone growth and development but it should not mean that we should stop doing them and become out of practice; become “old”, stiff, and slowed down. It is just as important for older people to continue or even start an activity that helps your agility. As people age, their balance sometimes decreases due to being out of practice; their mobility decreases due to less stretching and movement.
It is possible that skipping down the street might not be “fun” anymore now that you are older. What is something that is fun that you can start today to remain or increase your activity level; to become more agile? Start today! Try to add something even if you are already active. If you are a runner, try turning your head side to side to engage your vestibular system. If you enjoy walking, try walking sideways or backwards to engage your hips a different way and work on balance strategies. Join yoga or Tai Chi, these are great options to increase flexibility and balance; a great option for the “older” community. Remember, age is just a number and should not stop you from starting or continuing to live an active lifestyle. This is what helps you age gracefully. Ask a therapist at Premier Therapy for options or ideas to add into your daily activity or exercise routine.
Attached is a fun article covering a similar topic as well as a study regarding aging and the affects on your bodies structure.