How does winter affect seniors?
As the temperatures in many regions of the country decrease, the hazard of injury and health complications amongst seniors usually rises. Of course, in Florida this is seldom a problem, however for those of us who are snow birds, or have family and friends up north, the winter can be the cause of some serious health conditions. Snow and ice, for instance, can increase the possibility of falling. Fluctuations in atmospheric pressure generated by cold fronts can worsen joint pain.
Physical therapy for seniors can help.
Nevertheless, physical therapy can offer support in reducing some of the dangers that chilly weather may pose for older adults. If you wonder how physical therapy can help you stay safe while still enjoying the benefits of winter, read on for our dependable winter safety advice!
Ice is associated with helping to reduce aches and pains – except when it’s on the ground. Falls are the chief cause of injury among seniors. According to the CDC, more than 25 percent of Americans aged 65+ fall each year. When our bodies age, we tend to lose balance, the elasticity of joints, and stability, which puts older populations at a greater risk of falling.
Cold weather alone enhances the amount of falls seniors experience. Studies show an association between adverse weather conditions and higher rates of injury.
Nonetheless, falling is not an assured consequence of aging and cold weather. Through individualized exercises, balance therapy, and regular movement, physical therapy has been confirmed to enhance coordination, increase confidence and promote overall health. Working with physical therapists to regain balance and strength can aid in preventing future falls or injury.
REMAIN ACTIVE INDOORS
The weather outdoors can be frightening, particularly for seniors who are at greater risk of hypothermia or frostbite. As a consequence, those in cold-temperature environments may live a more inactive lifestyle during the wintertime.
While sitting by the fireplace throughout the season sounds perfect, being idle may provoke a variety of physical health issues, such as pains, weight gain, or muscle deterioration. Here are some great ideas on how to remain active indoors:
- Stretching is an excellent way to improve posture and maintain good blood flow. PTs advise mild and productive stretches a few times during the day to keep you invigorated and pain-free.
- Equipment-free workouts, such as yoga or bodyweight exercises, can be performed anyplace and eradicate the need for expensive workout equipment.
- Try deskercise. Deskercise, or exercises you can do while sitting, are not limited only to the office area. You can also do them at home, and – you don’t even need a desk! These exercises will get your muscles moving on those days when the fireplace is really too delightful to quit.
Watch this YT video prepared by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) to see some examples of deskercise routines:
You don’t need supernatural powers to sense a cold front coming. In lower temperatures, our muscles contract, and our joints get locked, which can produce aches in our bodies. Seniors with chronic health conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, may be particularly inclined to feel these effects in the winter season.
Whether you suffer from general bodily pain or a chronic ailment, physical therapy can assist in affording long-term relief. It’s been observed that those who practice physical activity have an improved capability to regulate pain as opposed to those who do not employ exercises in their daily life.
Regardless of the passive or active character of the exercise, physical therapists help using movement in order to enhance pain thresholds and relieve chronic symptoms. Additionally, study shows that physical therapy reduces the need for other pain management treatments, like opioid prescriptions, and high-priced medical services like imaging and ER visits.
PROMOTE MENTAL HEALTH AND INDEPENDENCE
Despite its name, the positive consequences of physical therapy are not restricted only to physical health. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in helping patients regain independence and get back to feeling like themselves. This is primarily true for senior patients, who may be discouraged by the health consequences of aging.
PTs work with patients to set and help them achieve their individualized objects, consequently helping increase their self-esteem and promote their overall quality of life. Education is equally important. Physical therapists equip patients and families with the knowledge required to sustain the progress achieved during physical therapy and enable patients to take command of their recovery.
A focus on mental health is always important in the winter months, as social isolation among older adults can grow. It is especially important in the midst of the pandemic. In addition to physical activity, a stable routine and regular (even virtual) interaction with others, can considerably profit the mental and physical health of seniors.
Ritecare Urgent Medical Center in Hialeah – your physical therapy clinic!
Physical therapy in Hialeah is within your reach thanks to the supportive care of our physical therapists. At Ritecare, we help patients regain control of their motor movements through specialized rehab programs that are customized to each patient’s needs. We accept walk-in clients as well as online appointments – whichever is more convenient for you. For inquiries, call us at (305) 200-1225.
We are a company that is transparent regarding treatments and costs. It is a covid-19 safe environment following the CDH and HHS guidelines. You can also have get a covid-19 test on site at our facility.
If you would like more information about the services at Ritecare Urgent Medical Center, please give us a call! You can also reach us from the comfort of your home via our telemedicine in Hialeah service.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.