I dedicate this blog to my Mom!
She lives overseas, is over 70 years old, and a pretty independent woman and I believe is a good example of thriving among older adults.
COVID and Physical Activity
When COVID hit, my parents did what most older adults around the world did – hunkered down!
This meant no more daily trips to the gym, no daily walks, Zero Social Engagements. She could not keep moving.
The only thing that kept these dear older adults going were phone and video conversations with the ones they loved – Thank you technology!! This went on for several months.
Then came vaccinations, and finally the day had come to venture outside – Yay!!
My mom lost sleep eagerly awaiting physically meeting someone outside of the home. They made plans to shop and have lunch outdoors. She got dressed and headed out.
Loss of Confidence in Older Adults
However, as soon as she stepped on a busy street, my mom noticed that her legs were “physically shaking”! She realized that this was not just out of anxiety, but also from the lack of confidence of crossing a busy city street.
What if she couldn’t walk fast enough to cross the street? What if she lost her balance and fell?
She made it across safely, but recognized soon enough how much work she needed to to do. She encountered this indirect problem due to the COVID pandemic. As I write this, I know she is not alone.
What she experienced that day – the loss of movement, the lack of balance, the decrease in self-confidence, effects of general reconditioning – they are all REAL!!
Older Adults and Physical Activity – How much?
Insufficient physical activity is a critical public health issue. This issue has become worse due to COVID-related deconditioning. The World Health Organization has provided guidelines.
- Adults should take part in 150–300 min of moderate or 75–150 min of vigorous activity every week.
- Older Adults (aged 65+ years) and older adults with disability should also do multi component balance and strength training 3 or more days weekly.
- These will help improve their function and reduce falls risk.
Without these regular doses of exercise and activity, the body will decondition. As people become less fit and activity becomes harder, they do less, leading to further deconditioning and down into a vicious cycle. Deconditioning can also lead to more aches and pains, illness and disease.
Older Adults and Physical Therapy
This is where Physical Therapy (PT) can help Older Adults.
PTs can help get you back on the right track if you’re having trouble getting started, or if aches and pains are making it difficult to get moving again.
For people with reduced activity levels due to injury or illness, a PT can not only help you recover faster, but also find activities so you can maintain your fitness while safely working around an injury or illness.
So, if you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of deconditioning, or are simply looking to gain more confidence with movements and injury prevention, consult your favorite PT at Orthocare Physical Therapy Center.