4 Tips to Stay Active and Independent As You Age
Aging can have a bad reputation. But, there is no reason that growing older can’t be a journey full of adventure and opportunities. Or to living life to the fullest. All you need is proper guidance, proactive steps, and a positive attitude.
And there is proof. Research suggests that improvements in physical function are possible well into older adulthood. It also supports that staying active as you age helps fight cognitive decline. Regular physical activity can benefit your physical, mental, and social health. It can help prevent or improve many chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and some cancers. You can also prevent falling by doing physical activities you enjoy and working with a physical therapist to improve your balance, muscle strength, and endurance.
The following tips can keep you active and independent as you age:
- Stay fit. Whether you participate in regular exercise or just want to stay fit for daily activities, exercise is necessary. Exercise is proven to help improve balance, strengthen bones, and prevent heart and brain conditions. A prescribed strength training and aerobic exercise program will help you keep and strengthen critical muscle groups needed for your life.
- Stay balanced. Maintaining balance and avoiding falls are vital to maintaining a quality of life and living independently. A physical therapist can prescribe a custom program of static and dynamic balance activities and exercises to improve your balance and prevent dangerous falls.
- Assess the terrain. A physical therapist can make recommendations to make your home and other environments safe by removing dangerous barriers. Often this means removing throw rugs, loose carpets, clutter, and modifying entry thresholds with ramps.
- Stay engaged. Successful aging is not only impacted by one’s environment, but also how one interacts with their environment. Fear and social isolation are major factors that increase fall risk and jeopardize independence. To ensure active and successful aging, continue to engage with friends, family, and the community. Social experiences with friends and family help diminish fear and improve physical and mental abilities.
Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
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Authored by Joseph V Libera, PT, DPT, MBA, MPH, GCS