Keep Fit Over 50 with Physical Therapy
By Ryann Roberts, DPT
Owner and Doctor of Physical Therapy
Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy (AzOPT)
Why should I be in physical therapy if I’m over 50 years old?
Physical therapists play an important role in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Nobody understands this more than the “Active Adult” community. As we age, we lose flexibility, strength, and balance – which makes staying fit after 50 challenging for even the most determined adults.
Working with a physical therapist can help active adults address these challenges, maintain fitness, and avoid injury – in many cases without expensive surgery or long-term use of prescription medications. Physical therapy is no longer simply about rehabilitation. Physical therapists help restore and improve motion to achieve long-term quality of life. Physical therapists significantly improve mobility, and ability to perform daily activities.
Physical activity may be the closest thing we have to the ‘fountain of youth.’ It’s a fact of life that health and mobility concerns often arise as we grow older. The good news is that we can keep many of these concerns at bay through regular physical activity.
What can physical therapy help with if I’m over 50?
Being active plays a crucial role in improving and preserving health and quality of life. Regular physical activity can improve:
- bone density
- heart and lung function
- muscle strength
- joint function
- sleep and memory
- and many other benefits!
By sticking with a physical activity plan, adults over 50 can lower their risk of health conditions such as:
- certain cancers
- heart disease
How much physical activity do I need if I’m over 50 years old?
As experts in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives, physical therapists define physical fitness as having good aerobic capacity, muscle strength and endurance, and flexibility. We encourage adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the 2, each week. In addition, we recommend working all major muscle groups — arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, hips, back, and legs at least 2 times per week and incorporate flexibility activities such as stretching, dancing, and yoga, into a physical activity regimen.
Why should I work with a physical therapist instead of just do it myself?
Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to help people of all ages stay fit and mobile. Here are 4 (of the many) reasons you should work with a physical therapist:
- PTs are highly educated musculoskeletal specialists
- PTs are able to treat the whole person, not just a single body part
- PTs not only do rehab after an injury, they also provide health and wellness programs
- PTs can designs individualized programs to improve your health
When should I consider seeing a physical therapist?
You should consider seeing a physical therapist when the following occurs:
- You have no idea why something hurts
- Pain persists longer than three days
- You injure the same body part twice over a few week time period
- The pain travels (i.e. lower back pain moves down your leg)
- You swear you are doing everything right, but changes are just not occurring
At AzOPT, our mission is to create long lasting results through one-on-one personalized care, detailed explanations, and education. To learn more about how we can help you at Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy (AzOPT), please visit our website or call us at (623) 242-6908.