Month: August 2019

  • There are numerous benefits that often come with growing older. These include more wisdom, improved financial security, retirement, more time to spend with loved ones, and many more. Unfortunately, aging also includes natural physiological changes that, if not managed, may negatively affect an individual’s quality of life. A few physiological changes that gradually occur over time are loss of muscle strength, loss of bone strength, and loss of cartilage between joints that may cause arthritis. While these normal changes are inevitable as the years go by, one way to halt or slow these changes is strength training. Older adults are often fearful of strength training because they are “too old” or feel that it is not safe for them at their age. However, if performed appropriately, strength training is safe and very beneficial for older adults. Below I will discuss four benefits of strength training for older adults that you may not be aware of.


    1. Reduced pain associated with arthritis


    Arthritis is a very common diagnosis among older adults. This is due to the deterioration of cartilage between joints that can cause “bone on bone” and loss of lubrication and increased inflammation between joints. It is common to think that strength training can exacerbate symptoms of arthritis, when in reality, strength training can help build strong muscles that help support and protect arthritic joints. It is actually more detrimental not to exercise or strength train, as this will likely increase stiffness and pain within the joint.


    2. Reduced risk for development of osteoporosis


    Osteoporosis is a medical condition that occurs when bones become brittle and fragile which can increase the risk for fractures. This is common diagonsis, with some studies showing that it affects 40% of post-menopausal women.1 Under normal conditions, old bone is broken down and replaced by new bone in order to keep our bones healthy and strong. As we reach the age of 30, this process slows down and the more we age, bone mass is lost faster than the body can create new bone. When this occurs at an abnormally fast rate, you can develop osteoporosis. A regular strength training program can not only help build stronger muscles, but it actually helps to improve the strength of bones which can reduce the risk for development of osteoporosis and fractures.


    3. Reduced risk for falls


    Falls are very common among the elderly. It is estimated that one in four adults 65 and older fall each year and are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. 2 While there are many reasons an individual may fall, lack of muscle strength is often a factor. Lower extremity strength and core strength are very important in order to perform daily activities such as standing up from a chair, maintaining an upright position while walking, and correcting your balance while unsteady. If you do not have adequate strength to perform these tasks, this causes you to be an increased risk for falls and subsequent injuries. A regular strength training program can help to build stronger muscles and reduce your risk for falls.


    4. Improved emotional well-being


    Unfortunately, of the 34 million adults 65 and older in theDepression United States, 2 million are suffering from some sort of depression for a variety of reasons. 3 There are many different treatment options for depression, but one option that is commonly overlooked is strength training. Strength training can actually help to boost your mood by stimulating increased dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain, which are neurotransmitters that play a role in happiness and mood. In addition, strength training in a group setting can help to foster friendships and a sense of community, both of which are important in living a happier and fuller life.


    If you would like to start a strength training program but don’t know where to start, call Premier Physical Therapy for a safe and effective strength training program tailored to your specific needs to help improve your quality of life.


    Written by: Dr. Benjamin Frannin, PT, DPT


    References



    1. Unnanuntana A, Gladnick B, Donnelly E, et al. The Assessment of Fracture Risk. J Bone Joint Surg AM. 2010; 92(3): 743-753. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.I.00919

    2. Falls Prevention Facts. National Council of Aging Website.
    https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/

    Accessed 8/14/2019.

    3. Depression in Older Adults: More Facts. Mental Health America Website. Accessed 8/14/2019.

  • Have you ever had any urinary leakage when you cough, sneeze, or even laugh? What about leakage that coincides with a sudden urge and need to rush to the restroom so that you don’t have an “accident.” I know that it can be embarrassing subject to talk about, but I am here to help discuss these topics and teach you ways that you can reduce these symptoms and live a life with less fear of that embarrassment. Physical therapists trained in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction can help treat this issue.




    First, let’s talk about what the pelvic floor really is and where it is located. The pelvic floor muscles are located underneath the pelvis and make up a portion of the core musculature and stabilizing musculature of the pelvis. There are multiple muscles that make up the pelvic floor, with the key players being your levator ani muscles. It is also important to note that the pelvic floor muscles are contracting properly, there is appropriate support of the pelvic organs and your core. There muscles can also work to assist in reducing and preventing urinary leakage due to incontinence. Let’s talk a bit more about what incontinence is. Incontinence can be defined simply as uncontrolled leakage of urine. There are two main types of urinary incontinence. One being stress incontinence, which is the leakage with exertional stress such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc. The other is urge incontinence, which is leakage of urine when there is a sudden, frequent urge to rush to the restroom. There can also be mixed incontinence, which includes both types. With all types of incontinence, there is often a weakness within the pelvic floor musculature which contributes to the leakage. Strengthening of the pelvic floor is an important key component in reducing weakness and this uncontrolled leakage of urine. This is where a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor rehab can step in and assist a patient in training of the pelvic floor with strengthening as well as introducing behavioral changes and possible dietary considerations that will help assist in reducing symptoms.




    Causes or risk factors associated with a weak pelvic floor can include childbirth (vaginal or cesarean delivery), high BMI, advanced age, constipation, heavy lifting at work, frequent straining with bowel movements and use of diuretics. These are only a few of many known causes or risk factors.




    I am writing this in hopes of reaching out to some of you that may not be aware that physical therapy can help with this dysfunction and to also make this more of a comfortable topic to discuss and learn about! If you are interested in learning more and would like to receive physical therapy addressing these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact Premier Physical Therapy. Our women’s health physical therapists are specially trained to address the unique health needs women experience.




    Written by: Dr. Rachel Cameron, PT, DPT