Sunday, December 10, 2023

Mobility for Senior Citizens

On 08 Apr, 2023, Seniors Today hosted their weekly Health Live Webinar with Dr Binal Dave, a Senior Physiotherapist who spoke on and answered questions about Mobility for Senior Citizens.

About Dr Binal Dave:

Dr Binal Dave is a Senior Physiotherapist and a specialist in Geriatric Care, Women’s Health and Rehabilitation, Aquatic Therapy and has a Fellowship in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation.

Dr Dave has Certificate on Female Sex Health Rehab and is Certified Manual Therapist. She is a Mat, Prop and Reformer Pilates Teacher Trainer, Kinesio Taping practitioner, Certified Myofascial Release Practitioner.

Mobility for seniors means that you can perform activities and exercises which help in stretching of the muscles, strengthening of muscles, building your endurance- for day to day living activities.

This also includes your cardiovascular endurance, your ability to prevent falls, and improving balance.

You can work out together in a group or individually, inside the house or outside, in a garden or in a pool.

You can increase your energy and feel stronger by practicing an array of exercises for 5-6 days in a week. Include all forms of exercises. These can include stretching exercises, straightening exercises, meditation, yoga, walk/stroll, laughter therapy, mixing all the exercises.

Common myths about exercising in the senior age group:

  • Exercise is not safe for me, it will increase my risk of falling- there is a progression of exercises, based on your requirements, ability, stability and need and tailor make your exercise routine specifically for you.
  • Patients of arthritis should not exercise- exercising regularly is the most beneficial activity for people with joint pain and arthritis. Regular exercises will help stabilising your joints and you feel more confident in your body and more stronger and stable too.
  • Exercise is only beneficial for the body- exercise will. To only work on your physical but also on your mental health.
  • It is now too late in my life for exercise to make a difference- it is never too late. There is always a day 1 of exercising. Start with 15 minutes in the beginning and gradually increase the duration from 15 to 20 and ultimately to 30 minutes a day.
  • Exercising can cause a heart attack- certain tests such as a 6 minute walk test, 3 minute step test are certain examination tests that are performed, including your blood work, keeping all these parameters in mind an exercise regime can be curated for you. And if you exercise by yourself, even then you can monitor your pulse, oxygen saturation and blood pressure in between your exercises.

Physical benefits of exercising for seniors:

  • It may help delay and sometimes even prevent certain medical and health conditions that present as one’s age advances, for example- osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fracture of hip after a fall. Exercising regularly can make your joints stronger, your body more stable, increase your endurance, and so much more.
  • It makes your muscles stronger, which means you can continue to perform your day to day activities without becoming dependent on others for your routine affairs.
  • You should incorporate stability exercises focusing on quadriceps, lumbar spine, pelvis, shoulder joints, reactive balance and anticipatory balance.

Working out in a pool is beneficial. Your body weight becomes 1/10th of its actual weight, while working out in the water. Water has healing and recovering properties.

You can simply enter a 3-3.5 feet deep pool and start with something as simple as walking in the water and see for yourself how easy and beneficial it is in comparison to walking on land.

Exercising in water releases endorphins and thus is always fun.

Mental health benefits of exercising for seniors:

  • It improves your mood
  • Reduces your stress
  • Helps in coping better with stress
  • Improves your self esteem
  • The feeling of increased satisfaction
  • An improved body image
  • Increased feeling of energy
  • Increase in confidence in performing your activities

Before you begin your journey of exercising and working out, you do need a medical clearance, a regime that you follow on the regular to achieve your stability and mobility goals, keep in mind your impairments, your difficulties.

Tips to get you started on your fitness journey:

  • Medical clearance from your medical physician
  • Consider your health concerns and exercise accordingly
  • Always start slow
  • Recognise your problem areas
  • Feel free to reach out to a rehabilitation expert to help you ease into the process and curate a programme suitable for your needs. You can also call them at home.

Twice a week you should work on your strength. Because your strength and weight bearing capacity will improve your calcium composition in your bones. You can also take your calcium, Vit D supplements along with your exercise routine.

Aerobics is a good form of exercise. You can dance alone or with your partner, family, friends, colleagues, etc. this will not only keep you moving but will also release the happy hormone, keeping you in high spirits.

You are never too old to stay fit.

Always start your exercises with a work, followed by movements of the upper body, neck, shoulders, waistline and hips, and this is followed by a cool down.

Dr Noor Gill
Dr Noor Gill, MBBS, deciphers the space between heartbeats, figuratively and literally. Powered by frequent long naps and caffeine, she believes that “knowledge without giving back to society is meaningless” and works to make caring cool again.

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