How to Get Moving Again – Carefully
We love spring – the fresh scents, the daffodils and cherry blossoms, and more hours of sunlight. Like us, many of our clients are excited to shake off winter and move their bodies a bit more, whether inside or outside. It’s wonderful to see older adults want to get more movement and exercise into their lives, at any time of year. And we want to help you do it safely.
The very first step is to get clearance from either a physical therapist (PT) or your doctor to be sure it’s okay to start. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, Cheryl Walsh, MPT, a licensed physical therapist and one of our life care managers, offers these tips.
- Start slow and keep it doable. “I evaluate the client’s abilities and build from there,” says Cheryl. That includes looking at their strength, balance, and endurance. “Then we start small. We’ll work on perhaps four or five standing exercises, and maybe six sitting exercises. We want to get the muscles moving and the blood circulating.”
- Don’t talk yourself out of it. “I do sometimes hear clients who are in their 70s or 80s say ‘I’m too old to exercise,’” Cheryl says. “Baloney! Just start moving things.” She believes firmly in the saying move a muscle, change a mood. “The mind-body connection is real,” she says. “If you’re down in the dumps, just start moving a little bit. You’re going to feel better not only physically but also mentally.” What’s more, exercise has been proven to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in people who have been diagnosed.
- Find help with motivation. We’re all human – many of us have trouble keeping ourselves motivated to exercise. Having a physical therapist like Cheryl come into your home can help, especially if you live alone. But you can also have an “exercise buddy,” someone you call when you’re about to start your exercises. Let them cheer you on! You might also consider going to classes at a local senior center or gym.
Cheryl’s expertise with the human body and its movement can also help her clients avoid injury or have a stronger recovery if they are injured. If a fall or injury happens, the client’s improved strength, endurance, and flexibility can help their body recover faster.
If you’d like to learn more about Cheryl’s physical therapy services or any of the services provided by LifeCare Advocates, please contact us.