Physical Therapy and the Effects of Aging

active agingA new article released by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reviews peoples’ perceptions about the effects of aging on their bodies, their expectations for when they themselves will age, and Physical Therapy’s role in the aging process.

The APTA performed a survey that showed that half of people have resigned themselves to physical decline, but at the same time, more than half still felt optimistic about their future mobility and independence as they age. According to the survey, about 50% of people expect to lose strength and/or flexibility as they age. However, 68% believe that they will be able to perform the same physical activities that they do now when they are 65+ years old, and 59% expect to be living at home independently at age 80.

healthy agingThe importance of this article and these statistics is to show that most people are unclear about the effects of aging and how it will affect their bodies. It is important NOT to resign yourself to the negative effects of aging, nor to feel that they are unavoidable.Improvements can be made at any age and Physical Therapists can help to make your expectations of being physically active and living independently a reality. Appropriate exercise plans can be created that help to improve or maintain flexibility, strength, and physical function at any age. Physical therapy can also be successful to avoid major surgeries, if initiated at the appropriate time.

APTA spokeswoman, Alice Bell, PT, DPT, GCS states:

“So many patients first come to physical therapy believing they have no choice—that they can’t avoid difficult surgeries or dependence on prescription drugs as they get older. These patients are genuinely amazed to see how conditions like low back pain, arthritis, diabetes—even bladder leakage—can be managed or even reversed with physical therapist treatment.”

The key point to bring home is that nobody should resign themselves to thinking that they will physically decline as they age. To continue to be mobile and independent, you can work to maintain or improve your strength and flexibility, thus avoiding the negative affects of aging!

Here are some tips to consider about common age-related conditions:

  1. Chronic pain can be eased with exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques
  2. Your muscles CAN get stronger when you’re older
  3. You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain
  4. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise
  5. Exercise can help you avoid falls, and keep your independence
  6. Your bones can get stronger with exercise
  7. Exercise is one of the top ways to prevent cardiovascular disease
  8. People who are physically active are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s

To access the full article, please feel free to visit this

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