National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is a commemoration held each October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). NPTM is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, as experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist. In recognition of Physical Therapy Month listed below are 9 Physical Therapist Tips to Help You Age Well
- Chronic pain doesn’t have to be the boss of you. Each year 116 million Americans experience chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions, costing billions of dollars in medical treatment, lost work time, and lost wages. Proper exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques can ease pain while moving and at rest, improving your overall quality of life.
- You can get stronger when you’re older. Research shows that improvements in strength and physical function are possible in your 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older with an appropriate exercise program. Progressive resistance training, in which muscles are exercised against resistance that gets more difficult as strength improves, has been shown to prevent frailty.
- You may not need surgery or drugs for low back pain. Low back pain is often over-treated with surgery and drugs despite a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that physical therapy can be an effective alternative—and with much less risk than surgery and long-term use of prescription medications.
- You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise. One in four Americans over the age of 60 has diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity can put you at risk for this disease. But a regular, appropriate physical activity routine is one of the best ways to prevent—and manage—type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise can help you avoid falls—and keep your independence About one in three U.S. adults age 65 or older falls each year. More than half of adults over 65 report problems with movement, including walking 1/4 mile, stooping and standing. Group-based exercises led by a physical therapist can improve movement and balance and reduce your risk of falls. It can also reduce your risk of hip fractures (95 percent of which are caused by falls).
- Your bones want you to exercise. Osteoporosis or weak bones affects more than half of Americans over the age of 54. Exercises that keep you on your feet, like walking, jogging, or dancing, and exercises using resistance, such as weightlifting, can improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.
- Your heart wants you to exercise. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the US. One of the top ways of preventing it and other cardiovascular diseases? Exercise! Research shows that if you already have heart disease, appropriate exercise can improve your health.
- Your brain wants you to exercise. People who are physically active—even later in life—are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition which affects more than 40% of people over the age of 85.
- You don’t “just have to live with” bladder leakage. More than 13 million women and men in the US have bladder leakage. Don’t spend years relying on pads or rushing to the bathroom. Seek help from a physical therapist.
Johnson Memorial Health Services has a highly skilled physical therapy team that is available to see patients Monday thru Friday. Bonnie Will has over 17 years of experience as a Physical Therapist. She has undergraduate degrees in exercise science and athletic training. She is a NATA certified Athletic trainer and has worked as an athletic trainer and personal trainer. She completed her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 1998 and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2007.
Jill Matthies has more than 16 years of experience working as a Physical Therapy Assistant. She has an associate’s degree from a PTA program. She enjoys working with all individuals of all ages. She has a great talent for working with individuals with neurological conditions such as strokes or the elderly.
If you have any questions about JMHS’s Physical Therapy Program or need to book an appointment, please call 320-312-2138.