How Reconditioning can Benefit Seniors
Physical therapy is an extremely useful tool that can help people of all ages get back into optimal form. If age, injury or an underlying medical condition is interfering with your ability to move and function properly, a reconditioning program can help you feel more like yourself again. Reconditioning is especially beneficial for elderly individuals as it provides a safe way to gain strength and improve quality of life. Additionally, a customized reconditioning program can restore your functional ability and educate you on how to perform activities that prevent further injuries.
The Benefits of Common Reconditioning Exercises
No matter what your level of activity, reconditioning is a great way to build more confidence, gain strength, improve balance and remain active. Here are some benefits of reconditioning for seniors and simple exercises you can perform:
- Avoid Falls: Falling is a huge risk factor for the elderly population as it can lead to injuries like hip fractures which may be very challenging to overcome at an advanced age. Since reconditioning can improve functions such as strength and balance, it is less likely you will experience a fall that causes lasting damage.
- Improve Mental Health and Cognitive Function: Staying active does wonders for mental health and wellbeing. It produces natural endorphins that help you feel good and can leave you feeling happy and accomplished. Exercise can also help break disruptive sleep patterns in addition to lowering your risk of dementia and other disease the longer you remain physically active.
- Improve Overall Health and Fitness: It’s natural to lose strength and mobility as we age. However, you shouldn’t resign yourself to this fate, especially when you can maintain these functions by performing a few simple reconditioning exercises. Reconditioning also allows you to be more productive on your own for a longer period of time.
Common Exercises to Help Older Adults
- Toe Lifts: Stand up straight with your arms stretched out in front of you. If you need to use a chair to help with balance you may do so. Slowly raise your heels off the ground and go as high on your toes as you can before gently lowering yourself back down. Repeat this 20 times to help strengthen the legs and improve balance.
- Walking Heel to Toe: This exercise strengthens your legs and subsequently improves balance so you can reduce the risk of falling. Place a foot directly in front of the other so that your heel touches the toes of the foot behind. Repeat the movement, putting your weight on the heels and shifting it to the toes.
- Single Limb Stance with Arm: Standing with your feet together and arms at the sides next to a chair, slowly raise your left hand over your head as you raise your left foot off the ground simultaneously. Use the chair to help balance and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat this action on the other side to improve your physical coordination.
- Wall Push Ups: Stand an arm’s length away from a blank wall and lean forward with your palms on the wall at shoulder width and height. Keeping your feet planted, bring yourself towards the wall and then gently push away so that your arms are straight again. This provides excellent strength training for your entire upper body.
- The Head Turn: If you can shake your head to say “no” then you can perform this exercise. You can either stand or be in a sitting position for this exercise. Once you find a comfortable position, turn your head slowly in one direction until you feel a light stretch. Hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly turn your head to the opposite side. This exercise will help keep your neck muscles mobile.
At Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania, we specialize in helping you feel better through our individualized care plans. Whether you are an injured athlete or an elderly individual, our licensed physical therapists can address your rehabilitation needs. Throughout your care, we will work closely together to increase your activity tolerance so you can feel like your normal self and resume the activities you enjoy, with less pain and increased vitality.