A huge danger for folks 65 and older is falling. We know via research that one third of seniors will fall and that for about a third of them, it will be a life altering experience. Falls can cause bone fractures which involve surgery, hospital stay and rehabilitation centers. The fall may be just the beginning of complications, infections and other health problems.

physical activityOnly about one fifth of the 39 million or so retirees (65+) say they participate in regular physical activity. This is for about 17 minutes or so a day…. while watching television is over four hours a day.  Remote controls don’t count as exercise equipment.

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends engaging in some form of movement activity for a half hour daily or at least 3-4 days a week. Staying fit has such practical advantages. In addition to better health, it directly affects independence of caring for oneself.  4 out of 10 seniors report some difficulty in managing at least one ADL- Activity of Daily Living. These are: bathing, dressing, getting up, walking, toileting, and feeding.

Walking is a wonderful way to get active. You can change the location of your walk to ward off boredom. Here in South Florida where it is so hot most of the year, folks walk in shopping Malls. Whether you walk with a friend, in a group or go solo, at the mall you also get the added benefits of people watching and some socializing. Since Medicare will pay for physical therapy, either at home (A) or at an outpatient center (B), we recommend you discuss PT with your doctor, get an order from your doctor and try out a regimen of Physical Therapy which will be tailored to you personally. You will learn exercises and use of any equipment- cane or walker, how heavy a weight and get an individualized regimen that you can follow and modify over time.

Walking at a good clip or dancing, stair climbing (Aerobic exercise) will help increase your breathing and heart rate. Building up endurance makes such tasks like mopping, sweeping or vacuuming easier. Lifting some light weights, or water bottles can help build up your muscle mass, making it easier to carry laundry and groceries. Some flexibility movement routines help you stay limber and maintain your range of motion, making it easier to get in and out of a car, tub or bend over to put on your socks.

Yoga and Tai Chi will help with your balance – reducing falls by strengthening your core – lower body. Balance + Strength = better health and lowers risk of falling.