Physiotherapy keeps elderly physically active
Regular physical activity has been shown to have important beneficial effects on physical and mental well being across all age groups. There are very few medical conditions that regular exercise doesn’t help to prevent, reduce the risk of developing, or improve symptoms.
Physical activity in older adults can benefit from participation in regular physical activity. The potential effects of exercise on the health of older adults include:
- Reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancers and diabetes, these problems come under non communicable disease (NCDs),
- Prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis and protection against osteoporotic fractures by reducing the risk of falls,
- A reduction in accidental falls,
- A reduction in loneliness and isolation, along with a reduction in depression, which may be as effective as antidepressants,
- A reduction in the complications of immobility, such as deep vein thrombosis and pressure sores.
Being active from an early age can help prevent many diseases just as regular movement and activity can help relieve the disability and pain associated with these conditions. Importantly, the benefits of physical activity can be enjoyed even if regular practice starts late in life. It has been suggested that older adults engaged in regular physical activity demonstrate improved:
- Balance and proprioception
- Coordination and motor control (better control over daily activities)
- Endurance (carry out activities for longer duration without much fatigue)
Consequently, physical activity can reduce falls risk, a major older age cause of disability.
Physical activity has also been shown to improve mental health and cognitive function in older adults and has been found to contribute to the management of disorders such as depression and anxiety. Active lifestyles often provide older people with regular occasions to make new friendships, maintain social networks, and interact with other people of all ages.
Type of exercise recommended for older adults:
- Aerobic activity depending upon older adult’s aerobic fitness,
- Activities that maintain or increase flexibility are recommended, and
- Balance and proprioception exercises are recommended for older adults at risk of falls.
Implications of maintaining physical activity in older adults:
Reducing and postponing age-related disability is an essential public health measure and physical activity can play an important role in creating and sustaining well-being at all ages.
‘Move for health’ is WHO’s world health initiative and response to the fact that:
- Each year at least 1.9 million people die as a result of physical inactivity.
- At least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity physical activity on 5 days per week reduces the risk of several non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
- Physical inactivity is an independent modifiable risk factor for common NCDs.
- More than 35 million people died of NCDs in 2005 – this represented 60% of all deaths worldwide.
- 80% of deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Without action to address the causes, deaths from NCDs will increase by 17% between 2005 and 2015.
Feel free to contact PAIN FREE PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC for management of fall, increase flexibility and control, endurance and strength and exercises for osteoporosis in elderly people.
Dr. Roshan Jha (PT)
Pain Free Physiotherapy Clinic