Older people commonly face more healthproblems than younger individuals. In fact, with age, our organismbecomes less resistant to diseases. Combined with the “wear andtear” effect that life has on our bodies, once we reach older age,we need more medical assistance than we ever did before.
Fortunately, geriatric physical therapyhas ways of boosting the health of elderly patients. The main tool ofthis medical discipline is therapy which makes it possible for peopleto live with conditions such as osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease,cancer, joint or hip replacement etc., reducing the symptoms of thesehealth problems significantly.
Physical Fitness for Geriatrics
One of the main purposes of geriatricphysical therapy is helping older individuals improve their balanceand strength, while at the same time increasing the levels of theirself-confidence, remaining physically active throughout the process.Thus, the physical activity, practiced regularly during old age isbound to be a factor which results in increased levels of fitness,reduction in pain and the introduction of various other healthbenefits which make life of the elderly much less difficult.
Furthermore, this form of physicaltherapy may be useful after the older patients have suffered fromsome form of injuries, sustained through accidents such as falling,leading to fractures or some other, similar problems. Keeping in mindthat, according to the information obtained from the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, about 1/3 of all elderly people fallat least once every year, exercising and geriatric physical therapycan prevent such occurrences and lead to a faster recovery if theyhappen nevertheless.
Hip fracture is the common result offalling affecting the elderly. This form of injury usually involvesstaying in a hospital for at least a week. Hence, about 20% of allolder people who experience this die from the effects of the injury.Yet, those who have been physically fit before they sustained theinjury have much greater chances of recovering quickly andcompletely, being strong, independent and productive.
As far as the actual exercises thatolder people are recommended to perform, stretching, walking, weightlifting, aquatic therapy and some specific forms of physical activitydirected towards a certain injured body part, all are highly advised.Moreover, these forms of exercising can be done at home. Yet, it isbest for the elderly person to consult with his/her health providerand therapist in order to learn the necessary, safe and productiveexercises being the most effective for his/her purposes.
Next, the geriatric physical therapyinvolves manual therapy, manifesting through manipulation of thepatients joints and other forms of tissue, promoting bloodcirculation and restoring mobility lost after an injury or due to theeffects of a health condition.
Also, once undergoing geriatricphysical therapy, the elderly patients are taught about the theoreticparts of recovery and injury prevention that exercising applies,learning how to manage daily tasks without risking their health,boosting their independence and self-confidence, raising theirquality of life to a higher level.
The help of the physical therapistduring this form of therapy can be extremely beneficial. Thetherapist may help an individual through one-on-one therapies orthrough group therapies. Either way, these qualified peopleunderstand and know everything related to the health and well-beingof the elderly. So, they are capable of performing all thediagnostic, educational and therapeutic parts of the treatments,teaching their patients how to use physical activity for preventinghealth problems even when they leave the hospital or any other formof health facility.
Can Hiking Be Helpful?
Speaking of the importance of physicalactivity in preventing health problems which might stem from old ageand injuries characteristic for this part of a person's life, wecannot fail to mention hiking. Namely, this activity is more thanbeneficial for all elderly people.
It results in stronger leg muscleswhich makes regular walking much easier. However, during hikingsessions, elderly people need to be very careful not to go overboardand get injured or strain their joints and muscles too much. Also, inorder to prevent leg and muscle cramping, you are advised to takemagnesium supplements prior to engaging in hiking activities.Nevertheless, consult with your doctor about these beforehand.
Hiking demands a steady pace which doesnot to be intensive. Rather, the elderly can modify it according totheir liking, keeping injuries and health problems at bay. Thus, itis a low-intensity, long-term endurance activity.
In general, hiking can be very helpfulif you follow a set program and pace yourself in the right way,choosing easier and less challenging routes and making sure that yoursession can be matched with your current physical fitness levels.
The benefits of physical activity aremany, and older people can reap countless of these, reflectingpositively on their general health. So, regardless of your age, donot neglect the importance of staying physically fit at all times.