August 12, 2009
I am responding to your August 5 story, "Seniors with weak muscles at risk for hospital stay."
Evidence shows that being active can help both men and women of all ages prevent or reduce the effects of many major diseases. Adult aging is a normal process, which does not need to result in pain and decrease in physical mobility.
As recommended by the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors should get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Or, an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity can be done, but aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes throughout the week. Muscle-strengthening activities, involving all major muscle groups should be performed on two or more days per week.
If chronic conditions make this amount of activity impossible then seniors should be under the regular care of a heath care provider and as physically active as their conditions and abilities allow. They should do exercises that maintain or improve balance if they are at risk of falling.
A physical therapist understands the anatomical and physiological changes that occur with normal aging and will develop a specially designed therapeutic exercise program for the older adult, including balance training and falls prevention.
To learn more about the benefits a physical therapist can offer and how to locate a physical therapist, please visit, www.moveforwardpt.com.
Emilio J. Rouco
Director, Public Relations and Marketing
American Physical Therapy Association