BRIDGING THE GAP
RESEARCH and PRACTICALITY
Why is it helpful to get a senior moving, even a little bit, if they have difficulty walking?
Many very positive things happen once a person starts moving their body again.
Our bodies were designed to move. One way we know this is by seeing how quickly we deteriorate when we stop. The negative effects of complete immobilization or bed rest are well known. When an arm or leg is casted there is significant muscle wasting - noticeable when the cast is removed.
Spaceflight and the return to earth give a quick, and dramatic, glimpse of what happens over years and decades on earth. Without the gravitational pull highly trained and fit astronauts come back from a short space trip with significantly depleted bones and weakened muscles making even walking difficult. Just like they can regain their strength and function, you too can regain some of yours.
The improvements can happen quite quickly. In a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a group of elderly subjects whose average age was 74 years there was a significant improvement in balance, function, and a reduction in doctors visits with a workout program consisting of 10 exercises performed three-times per week for 12 weeks.
Many recent studies have proven that strength, flexibility, balance, and more can be regained by increasing the amount of movement your body gets. Any and all help. In future posts I will be going over more of the benefits of movement and how to go about incorporating it into your lifestyle. Along with motivational tools such as pedometers to monitor the number of steps you take to give you valuable feedback and information to track your success. I will also be covering how to improve or modify your diet in order to allow you to recover and benefit most from your activity.
Written by Dr. Sternlicht for www.seniorsafety.com 8.26.05