By world standards, the U.S is quite a young nation – with a median age of jut 38.5. However, thanks to improved nutrition and sanitation, improved availability of wellness and health information, and better access to healthcare, the senior population of the country is growing rapidly. According to the U.S Census Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and over is set to double between 2012 and 2050.
In simple terms, aging is a process that’s characterized by the physiological changes that our bodies undergo as we grow older.
As we grow older, the speed at which our nerves relay messages to the tissues slows down. Consequently, the reaction and response time of our muscles slows down, which sometimes leads to balance issues and complaints of unsteadiness.
Decreased blood vessel diameter, thickening of heart valves, and stiffening of the heart wall are cardiac changes that are considered normal in the aging body. They can lead to a decreased maximal heart rate, a higher resting blood pressure, and decreased endurance of cardiovascular muscles.
Typical aging-related musculoskeletal changes involve bone, muscle, cartilage, spinal cord discs, and can lead to stiffness in the joints, postural changes, a higher risk of fractures, lower muscle endurance, and increased muscle fatigue. If left uncontrolled, they can lead to fractures, osteoporosis, posture dysfunction, and arthritis.
The Importance of Exercise
While the aforementioned changes are considered a normal part of aging, with an active lifestyle and regular exercises that target these systems, it’s possible to slow them down and avoid any negative consequences.
According to the WHO, seniors should practice at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
Seniors are generally advised to work with a professional physical therapist – particularly those who are recovering from injuries or surgery, or those who suffer from bone or muscle problems. A physical therapist will carefully evaluate your condition and limitations and devise and exercise program that’s suited to your specific goals and needs. This minimizes the risk of injuries, and helps improves overall ability and strength.
We understand that it’s often difficult to take your senior loved one to a clinic for a physical therapy appointment. Mobile Physical Therapists (Mobile PT) provides physical therapy at home for senior adults for this very reason. If you live in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, or Escondido, you can easily get in touch with us at (760) 536-2377 and discuss your requirements.