A majority of American adults expect to be living independently at age 80, and yet roughly half expect to lose strength and flexibility with age, according to a survey conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Americans are conflicted on aging
Survey respondents seemed to be resigned to physical decline (51 percent expect to lose strength and 49 percent expect to lose flexibility as they age despite optimism about their future mobility and independence (68 percent expect they will still be able to engage in the same type of physical activities at 65 and older, and 59 percent expect to be living independently at home at age 80).
Americans are also conflicted about when the effects of aging begin, with younger respondents expecting to see signs begin when people reach their 40s and 50s, while 53 percent of all respondents believe people start to notice signs of aging in their 60s or older.
Aging effects can be slowed
Experiencing some effects of aging is inevitable, but physical therapists want people to know that many of the symptoms and conditions associated with aging are not always a matter of bad luck, and improvements can be made even at an advanced age.
"Many patients come to physical therapy believing they have no option—that they have arthritis and will have to learn to live with it," said Central Park Physical Therapist and Feldenkrais Practitioner Rik Misiura, PT, GCFP , "these patients are truly appreciative and amazed to realize conditions like low back pain, arthritis, diabetes and even bladder leakage—can be managed or even reversed with physical therapist treatment." Patients consistently report that they are pain free, regain some lost height, stand taller and brag about increased function in their activities of daily living.
Central Park Physical Therapy (CPPT) can help
Physical therapists, who are movement system experts, help adults stay strong and remain independent, enabling the kind of lifestyle survey respondents hope for, despite widespread beliefs that the negative effects of aging are unavoidable. For instance, research shows that an appropriate exercise program can improve muscle strength and physical function in one's 60s, 70s, and even 80s and older. CPPT employs Therapeutic Exercise, The Feldenkrais Method and Yoga to help adults achieve surprising results. One option that CPPT offers is the Seniors Exercise Classes (SExC) and Therapeutic Restorative yoga classes.
Central Park Physical Therapists are uniquely qualified to prescribe the most effective exercise regimen, which may help individuals avoid painful, costly procedures, like hip and knee replacements that require months of recovery, if initiated before extensive damage is done.