Aging Successfully

What do five people ages 80, 86, 92, 93, and 94 all have in common? Read on to find out. Successful aging refers to the physical, mental, and social-well being in older age.  It can also be defined as absence of chronic disease and risk factors for disease, good health, and high levels of independent … Continue reading “Aging Successfully”

What do five people ages 80, 86, 92, 93, and 94 all have in common? Read on to find out.

Successful aging refers to the physical, mental, and social-well being in older age.  It can also be defined as absence of chronic disease and risk factors for disease, good health, and high levels of independent physical functioning, performance, mobility, and cognitive function.

So what does this mean? People who age successfully are resilient and motivated. They are able to deal with factors out of their control. They may have been dealt a bad hand, but they are optimistic and roll with the punches.  For example, a person who is diagnosed with Parkinson’s embraces the things they can do and works hard to overcome the difficult obstacles. They accept the diagnosis, but do not give in to it. They optimize their physical and mental abilities to be able to move on.

Successful aging also includes certain controllable factors such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking. I know what you are thinking, “Yikes I don’t get enough sleep” or “ I have been wanting to change my diet”, well it is never too late to start and now you have extra reason to stick to it.

Social well-being is a very important factor in aging and being happy as we enter our golden years. Staying active with family, friends, and in the community gives a sense of belonging and self worth. It can take effort, but the benefits will come back to you ten fold. We all want to feel needed and to have a purpose. Being active socially can help with these feelings.

Physical well-being includes keeping the mind and body strong. It is crucial to actively use your mind. Playing bridge and doing puzzles are known to help the synapses’ connect. But did you know exercises also make your brain turn on?  Physical activities can include a simple walk, gym exercises, swimming, and exercises to strengthen your arms, legs, and core muscles.  Balance training to decrease the risk of falls can also be included. Being active and staying strong builds self-confidence in your physical and mental abilities.  By staying active a person has a far greater chance of maintaining independence in living, mobility, and activities of daily living.

Physical therapy is a great asset when it comes to working on your physical, mental and social well-being. It offers programs to build strength and improve balance. Therapists can help problem-solve issues that may be limiting your independence.  It also provides balance training to decrease your risk of falls. Coming to a local therapist’s office also offers socialization.  Many clinics are full of people in your same situation.  It becomes a social outing when you meet new people and connect with others you met on a previous visit. And it can be FUN!

So what do these five people have in common?  They are all patients at an outpatient physical therapy clinic. They are all wonderfully young seniors working on strength, balance, and endurance so they can continue to drive, live independently, and avoid falls. The clinic is a community.  The seniors are an important part of that community.  While they are getting the physical activities, they are also receiving the mental and social stimuli needed to age successfully and continue their zest for life. Would you benefit from physical therapy? If so, make a call to Team IPT now at 619.260.0750 and schedule an evaluation today.

To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving

Movement. The key to growing, an every day occurrence in any human’s life since birth. A baby kicks and squirms, a toddler crawls before walking, a kid learning to ride a bike. All movements that lead to balance strength. But with keeping that balance there can come falls. While a baby, child or young adult … Continue reading “To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving”

Movement. The key to growing, an every day occurrence in any human’s life since birth. A baby kicks and squirms, a toddler crawls before walking, a kid learning to ride a bike. All movements that lead to balance strength.

But with keeping that balance there can come falls. While a baby, child or young adult can fall and sustain a minor injury, a fall for someone older can be detrimental and even fatal.

The NY Times posted an article stating that “ In 2010, 13 million Americans reported being injured in a fall, often caused by simple trips on the sidewalk or on the stairs at home. For the over 65s, the figures are worse: one in three in this age group falls every year, resulting in some 250,000 hip fractures and more than 25,000 deaths, usually from traumatic brain injuries. The health care cost of treating these falls is estimated to be $34 billion a year.”

With the rise of “falling” continuing how do we stop or at least prevent this?

Balance is both physical and mental. A lot of us can walk, run, skip, jump around without hesitation, but focused balance can be more challenging. Think of standing in a position on one leg for longer than thirty seconds…simple enough? Now close your eyes and try it again. Not so easy right?

Balance is defined as an individual’s ability to maintain their line of gravity within their base of support. Think of this definition as the physical action. The mental action of balance is maintaining equilibrium where all acting forces of one’s body and mind are cancelled by each other resulting in a stable balanced system.

What are some ways to regain that balance?

Standing Up Right – Each human has sensors in their muscles and tendons throughout their body that detect stretches and deformations. These are known as proprioceptors.

Your balance won’t be stable unless your brain is attuned to the signals from these sensors. Even wearing socks can interfere with this subtle feedback and may worsen your balance.

Walking – Everyday balance training. While it looks easy, it is a lot of mental balance for your brain to calculate where your feet should be placed to avoid a fall.

Gross Motor Skills – The movement and coordination of one’s arms and legs in coordinated skills like running, jumping, crawling. These can enhance your cognitive performance and strengthen your balance.

Physical Therapy- Improves mobility. Physical Therapy will help regain the ability to move around with more ease, coordination, and confidence. Creating an individualized treatment and exercise program to gradually build your strength and movement skills.

How to find the right balance?

By combining physical and cognitive movements together you can achieve balance. Simple balance training, aerobic exercise and strength training will physically build endurance and growth, but it is the coordination of the movements of your body through more unpredictable exercises that will enhance the cognitive movement in your balance.

For more information on balance and best balance practices please reach out to your IPT therapist.