The Importance of Functional Movements in Seniors

September is Healthy Aging MonthMark Twain once famously said: “ Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  He was being facetious, but the notion that age is just a number has really taken on new meaning with the Baby Boomer generation.  So many are living longer thanks to better, more accessible healthcare, and staying productive well past retirement age, that they are challenging our notion of what it means to grow old in our society.  Not only is this generation receiving better healthcare, but they are also better informed about their personal health and how to reduce their disease risk.

Physical therapists know that functional movement is important at every stage of life, but studies have shown that it is essential for seniors.  As you well know, exercise can help stave off many conditions, including Alzheimer’s and heart disease.  But what about your patients with limited strength, mobility or other impairments?  There are a number of unique programs out there that can be incorporated into their ADLs.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Chair Dancing:  A fun way to incorporate a low impact cardiovascular workout that also improves muscle tone and flexibility.
  • Conductorcise:  Combining the teaching of musical skills with upper body strengthening workouts.
  • Fiddle Fit: A program designed to improve core balance while encouraging social interaction and psychological support for seniors.
  • Water Pilates:  An aquatics program to elongate the body combined with core-building conditioning exercises.

It is important to encourage your older patients to make exercise part of their daily routine, even those with limited mobility.  Compliance and consistency are easier when those programs don’t “feel” like work. If you have a program you wish to share with your colleagues, please let us know.

Are you a PT interested in working with seniors?  Call Centra at 800 535 0076 and we will make your interest a reality.

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