February 9, 2017 by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute  
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42109724 - senior african american couple jogging in park

Preparing to Age While We Are Young
by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute

Tid Bits of Info.

  • If you are “healthy” at 70 you will most likely remain “healthy” for a longer portion of your life.
  • Almost everyone will live to at least 60 years of age.
  • Biological aging does not always correlate with one’s age in years.
  • Being a healthy senior citizen is usually associated with social and physical environments that present opportunities for healthy behavior throughout their lifetime.
  • Seek the advice and treatment of a Physical Therapist for tips that might enhance your chances of being a healthy senior citizen someday.

Every day we are growing older. No one can stop or avoid aging, but we can prepare to age gracefully. What can we do at a younger age to help live a healthier life when we get older?  Healthcare professionals must spend more time explaining to their younger patients what is in store for them if they do not prepare properly for the later years.  Many physical ailments among the elderly might have been avoided if they had adjusted and modified their lifestyle when they were younger.

The aging process occurs at different speeds in everyone, but eventually, everyone must adjust older bodies. The aging process affects every aspect of our bodies. Sometimes it is not very forgiving.  As the human body ages, the metabolic rate decreases, muscle size, and strength decreases, visual and hearing acuity decrease, bone density might decrease, flexibility is less, endurance decreases,  balance issues arise and falling becomes more common place secondary to many of these changes.   Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that they might be able to avoid or lessen the impact of these changes if they were to modify or change the way they live when they are much younger.

Healthcare professionals could offer their expert advice to help change the way their patients age, but usually treating the present problem overshadows any long-term preparations. Taking a few minutes to discuss issues such as diet, exercise, and general healthy living could have a tremendous impact on the patients’ lives.

Physical Therapists are in a great place to affect the quality of their patients’ lives and to teach them how to age more gracefully.  When a younger patient is being treated, it would be extremely beneficial to discuss the ways to modify and change current lifestyle habits in order to avoid some of the natural aging processes.  By doing certain tests or demonstrations, Physical Therapists could point out weaknesses that might become major issues during the older years.  For example, many people at all ages have muscular weakness that predisposes them to balance issues or orthopaedic conditions that limit their ability to move.

26569073 - senior couple doing exercise in the park.

Physical Therapists are healthcare professionals that specialize in movement and function.   They should take the time to educate a younger patient about their current weaknesses and help them change their lifestyle to include certain exercises or activities that will enhance their chances of avoiding the pitfalls of the aging process.  Forethought and prevention are always the best way to avoid the negatives of aging.

If people would include daily exercise, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid over-indulgence of anything, don’t smoke and maintain that lifestyle throughout their lifetime they would age gracefully.   The chances of being a “healthy” senior citizen improve significantly if someone starts living a “healthy” lifestyle as a younger person.   As Physical Therapists, we need to take the lead and educate our patients in a way that will help them avoid the negatives that so many people experience because their bodies are going through a natural process that cannot be stopped but might be able to be controlled.

Read more articles on our main website blog at: ACE-pt.org/blog

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