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Healthy Aging Through Physical Activity

By Gord Dewar, B.Sc., B.Sc.P.T., Med.Acu., Reg.Acu. Physiotherapist Lifepath Wellness Centre

May is National Physiotherapy Month and this year, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association is promoting Healthy Aging. One of the easiest ways to encourage healthy aging in your own life is through physical activity. An active lifestyle has been proven to have many benefits; and studies have shown that regular physical activity improves quality of life and increases lifespan by reducing the risk of chronic illness.

The Health Council of Canada estimates 50% of all Canadians are living with at least one chronic health condition. Physiotherapy is used in the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, emphysema, Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and obesity. If one stays active throughout their years, the risk of losing mobility is decreased. People that are unable to be active due to an injury caused by an accident, illness, or other health concerns may use physiotherapy treatments to help regain their mobility in order to become more physically active.

The gradual or sudden loss of mobility is typically the first area in which older adults become impaired or disabled. One study showed the ability to rise from the floor was a significant predictor of mortality in 51 to 80 year olds. This means that people who could not get up after sitting on the floor were more likely to die earlier than others in their age group. This can be easily reversed thankfully through action on our part.

Many people who have been sedentary are afraid to start an exercise program because they feel they will look incompetent or might hurt themselves. There are many professionals, including physiotherapists, who can manage a program to get someone moving again. Physical activity is great for your health but it also has countless other benefits like making your life more enjoyable. Physical activity is first and foremost an opportunity to have fun! Use these special moments to relax, forget about your day and change your mood. Being active is good for both your mind and body, as well as adding years to your life and life to your years! Taking the plunge can take a bit of effort and willpower, but it’s well worth it – for life!

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