Obesity is a chronic disease wherein excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat poses a risk to one’s health. An obese person runs the risk of falling victim to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and more. To make matters worse, obesity will limit one’s mobility and put pressure on joints, causing a lot of pain. As we get older, our mobility will inevitably decrease, making physical activity harder. Aging makes obesity a greater concern as the typical solution applied to overcome obesity — exercise — may no longer be available to us. Obesity can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic level. However, not all hope is lost. Physical therapy for seniors can help alleviate obesity in older adults. Read on to find out how.
Physical therapists specialize in using scientifically driven data to help design personalized treatment programs for their client’s specific needs. This is ideal for older adults with obesity as older people tend to have certain mobility constraints, making it hard to figure out which exercises would not further exacerbate their existing physical conditions whilst also allowing them to manage their weight. A physical therapist is a perfect solution for those looking to safely engage in physical activity as these professionals are trained in an extensive repertoire of exercises specifically modified to be friendly for those with mobility issues.
What is the Process Like?
The goal of your physical therapist is to help you develop healthy habits that can facilitate weight management and prevent the future onset of obesity. This means creating a program that addresses and overcomes issues with physical activity, allowing you to become more physically active. To do this, physical therapists will first conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your physical health, medical history, and lifestyle. This process can be challenging as some may find some of the questions the therapist asks invasive. Nonetheless, you should provide honest answers for the best results. Remember that they are here to help you and not ridicule or make your life harder.
Afterward, they will perform some tests to assess your overall fitness levels, testing your coordination, strength, range of movement, and balance.
Last but not least, they may choose to perform obesity-specific tests such as checking your BMI, measuring your waistline and skinfold thickness as well as calculating your body fat percentage.
Once they have all the necessary information, they will implement a personalized program to help you improve your aerobic capacity, strength, range of movement, and more, in hopes of helping you control and perhaps lose weight. These exercises will have to be done consistently and may not always be limited to your physical therapy sessions. It is common for therapists to issue exercises for you to bring home. This means that you will need to be diligent with the program in order to see results.
What Can the Treatment Program Do For You?
- Improve cardiovascular fitness such as your stamina and metabolism
- Reduce pain by easing the pressure on your joints as you lose weight
- Improve physical strength and make daily tasks and movements easier
- Enhance your range of movement by helping to restore the range of motion in stiffened joints
- Better flexibility and posture
- Increase physical activity and promote a generally healthier lifestyle