Everyone wants to feel physically fit for their age, but that doesn’t just happen by chance. You need to put in the work and make conscious decisions about your health in order to age well. But what steps should you be taking to ensure you stay physically fit long into your golden years? Here’s a look at five tips from physical therapists about aging well.
Staying Fit As You Age
There are a number of different ways to stay physically fit as you age. Here are five of the best:
- Continue to strength train – Although it’s easier to gain strength and muscle size when you’re young, it’s a myth that physical fitness only seeks to maintain your current levels when you reach a certain age. You can certainly make strength and physical function improvements long into your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. Walking helps to get the blood circulating, but also strive for some strength training in your weekly activity routine.
- Rest isn’t always your best option. Either is surgery – Everyday aches and pains get more common as we get older, but how we respond to these injuries helps shape our fitness days, weeks and years down the road. Simply resting and hoping the injury heals itself is rarely the best answer. Again, strength training, stretching, exercise, physical therapy, and other active treatments often help spur healing and prevent recurrence. On the opposite side of the spectrum, don’t jump into surgery with giving your all to conservative options, because surgery is a major trauma on your body that can cause future discomfort even when things go as planned.
- Checkups, Screenings and Monitoring – As you age, you’re going to have more frequent visits to the doctor for checkups and screenings. The single biggest factor in the success of treating cancer is early detection. Even for non-cancerous conditions, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the outcomes tend to be. Go to all your appointments, get all the recommended screenings and monitor and manage any conditions like hypertension or diabetes that you’ve been diagnosed with.
- Get daily exercise – Exercise has so many health benefits for your whole body. Studies have shown that exercise can help increase bone mass, improve heart and brain health and help ward off conditions like diabetes or obesity. Strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day, and your whole body will thank you for it.
- Treat problems head-on – The final piece of advice we can give is to treat problems that develop head-on. Don’t just assume or hope they’ll go away, and don’t just learn to cope with hip pain or shoulder discomfort. Odds are a little proactive treatment from a physical therapist or another medical professional can either reduce your discomfort or eliminate it altogether. Again, the sooner you seek treatment, the higher the likelihood of success. Treat problems head-on before they snowball, and you’ll have a better chance of remaining physically fit for years to come.
For more tips or help with any aspect of your fitness, reach out to OrthoRehab PT today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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