National Physical Therapy Month: Aging Well for Seniors

October was National Physical Therapy Month, an annual event hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The APTA seeks to highlight the importance of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in our communities. They are recognized for contributing to the health, wellness, and mobility of society.

This year’s campaign featured the hashtag #agewell. Physical therapy is, of course, an integral part of aging well. The right therapy reduces the limitations impairments, injuries and pain often put on one’s independence.

For the senior population, maintaining muscle helps to prevent life-threatening falls and injuries. To help you and your loved ones stay fit, we’ve created a list of strength building exercises.

Why Do Seniors Need to Maintain Muscle Tone?

Muscle loss is a normal part of the aging process. By age 40, people typically begin to lose about 1 percent of muscle mass each year, a progression that doubles at age 50. This decline leaves your body more susceptible to injuries and even sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of lean muscle mass. According to Sarcopenia Cure, around 53 percent of men and 43 percent of women in the United States over 80 years old are sarcopenic. This muscle degeneration makes performing daily tasks such as lifting a chair or bringing in grocery bags more difficult. It also raises your risk of injury, falls and even death from related accidents.

Building and maintaining muscle mass through regular exercise reduces your risk of becoming sarcopenic.

Strength Building Exercises for Seniors

NIHSeniorHealth recommends that beginners start with 1 to 2-pound dumbbells. You can increase the amount of weight you use as you build up more strength.

For each exercise, begin with 2 sets of 8 reps each.

Arm curls

Here’s an exercise that’s great for newbies and fitness regulars alike! Sometimes called the dumbbell curl, this move works your biceps and forearms.

Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Rotate your palms outwards so they are facing away from your body. Curl arm inward and contract the biceps. Pause for a beat and lower your arms back to your original position.

Side arm raises

Side arm raises are great for working your shoulders, upper back and of course, arms. To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Have your palms face your side. Slowly raise your arms, making a “T” shape with your body.

Pause for a beat, lower and repeat.

Toe Stands

This body weight exercise can be done anywhere and builds muscle in your calves, quads and core. To perform, simply lift your feet, putting your body weight on the balls of your feet.

Hold for a one second beat, lower your feet and repeat. Keep in mind, this move does test your balance and may not be a good option for seniors struggling with coordination.

Lunges

Here’s another fantastic body weight exercise! This classic move works your abs and legs. To begin, stand normally and step forward. Lower your leg, creating a 90-degree angle.

Be sure to keep your knee aligned with your ankle. Push back, repeat and switch legs.

At Matrix Home Health Care, we value your loved one’s quality of life and health. Our residential care homes offer personalized fitness programs and a spacious exercise area. To learn more about our commitment to the highest standard of care, contact our team today.

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Posted in Diseases and Conditions, Geriatric Care Manager, Health Care Advocate, Home Health Care, Residential Care Home, Senior Care / Older Adults