It’s truly never too late to work on your fitness. Fifty-something is a great time to set some health and well-being goals. When it comes to getting the best from your body, experience and maturity are great assets, and you’ll know what works for you. Plus, the benefits of exercise in your 50s are endless. Grandmother and bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd said, “If there were ever an anti-ageing pill, I would call it exercise”.
However, only 1 in 10 Australians over fifty are getting enough cardiovascular exercise to stave off age-related decline. If you’ve been wondering whether you should get moving more, this is your sign. Research shows that not only does exercising as an older Australian help you to sleep better and have an improved quality of life, but it can stave off chronic illness and help extend lifespan.
But we often hear older adults sharing their concerns. These could include “I’m worried I’m scared I’ll hurt myself”, or “Exercise isn’t for me. Gyms are only for younger people.” We can assure you that there is no age limit on fitness. Not only are there strategies to improve the safety of different exercises, but exercise can improve strength and reduce frailty!
Wherever you’re at in your fitness and health journey, we’d love to help. Our physiotherapists are here for more than injury rehabilitation. We can provide you with trusted advice, suggestions for how to stay active as safely as possible, and exercise plans that will actually work for you.
We will work with you to help you to stay strong and flexible to help prevent injuries. If an injury does occur, we will be here to motivate you, support your recovery.
How we work
We provide non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical treatments to:
- rebalance and realign your body’s complex systems
- address the interconnected causes of injury and illness
- reduce your need for surgical interventions or drug therapies
Furthermore, we treat you as a whole person whose long-term health and well-being is central to everything we do. There’s no need to worry about chronic conditions that may require consideration. We will work with you as a team to address any discomfort you may be experiencing, and we will utilise evidence and results-based care to assess, diagnose and treat any conditions you are experiencing, as well as support you to reach optimal health.
Here are four of the top ways your physiotherapist can enhance your quality of life after fifty.
Manage wear and tear
As we age, it’s natural to experience more ‘wear and tear’. None of us are immune to aging, but with the right care and support, we can manage these changes and still continue to live an active and healthy lifestyle.
And we are here to help.
If you’re planning or pursuing a fitness goal or playing a sport you love, we’ll support you to stay on track.
If you’re nervous about managing the wear and tear of extra activity, we can work with you to strengthen and condition your body.
If you’re experiencing discomfort due to wear and tear – such as arthritis pain, neck pain, back pain or muscle stiffness – we can support you to manage and where possible, reduce the severity of these symptoms so that you can still enjoy the benefits of exercise.
Did you know that many of the conditions affecting bones and joints that we associate with ageing are caused by inactivity? It might seem counterintuitive, but doing more exercise helps to reduce wear and tear. Appropriate exercise will support in strengthening your bones, help you to build muscle mass and improve balance and joint mobility.
Get tailored support and fitness advice. Book an appointment here
Maintain strength and mobility
Not many of us are worried about falls in our 50s. However, falls shouldn’t be underestimated as we age. The statistics are sobering, with the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing noting that falls are the largest contributor to hospitalised injuries in Australia. However, working on your stability and balance alongside maintaining strong bones and muscles helps protect you from the risk of falls.
Exercise can reduce the chance of falls in older adults by 23%. It’s recommended that you engage in a range of different physical activities and that you get moving for at least half an hour every day.
You might read this and say, “My neck is cramping, my lower back hurts, and my knees are killing me! How am I supposed to do all of this activity?”. But, neck, back and joint pain can be linked to a loss of strength and flexibility. Both may be the result of tight or weak muscles, limited blood flow, and stiffness from inactivity. Physiotherapy works to address this by increasing blood flow, building core strength, and keeping you flexible. So getting moving might actually help with your pain.
It’s important to seek the support of a physiotherapist as you work on your fitness goals because you can discuss any pain, discomfort or concerns you have during an initial assessment. A physiotherapist can take these into account and work with you to identify activities that are aimed at minimising pain and discomfort.
The benefits don’t stop with a customised fitness plan. Our Physiotherapists are highly trained in a range of well-researched and widely respected techniques for reducing pain and enhancing mobility. These include dry needling, the Mulligan Concept and a range of other treatment modalities to support you as we increase your fitness step by step.
Feeling stiff and sore? Let’s get you moving.
Support for a tailored exercise program
It is never too late to enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of exercise, and there are many! In fact, let’s run through some of the great benefits of exercise in your 50s now.
– Supports you in maintaining a healthy weight
– Lowers blood pressure
– Improves oxygen efficiency
– Improves mental health and eases stress
– Supports improved sleep
– Reduces muscle aches and pain
– Improved cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia
There is no age limit on the positive effects of exercise, and you certainly don’t have to be the pinnacle of health and strength to feel the benefits. In fact, a study of wheelchair-using weightlifters aged between 80 and 90 showed ongoing improvements in their strength and overall functional ability.
Clearly, there’s still plenty of time in your fifties to find a sport, activity or exercise regime that works for you!
Your physiotherapist can help you with this by:
- advising you on sports or fitness routines best suited to your strength and range of movement
- showing you the correct postures and movements for your chosen sport or workout
- helping you set and adopt a program of specific exercises to enhance strength, balance and coordination to improve your performance
- supporting you with evidence-based pain management techniques for aches or pains that are troubling you
- sorting out problems and injuries as they arise
One great option for staying healthy and active in your 50s is to join a sports or activity club. Some great options include bushwalking clubs, local walking groups, golf, tennis, bowls, yoga, and swimming. There are many other choices, and we suggest checking in with your local sporting venues and council directories, or searching online to see what 50s+ sports events are held near you. We offer comprehensive sports physiotherapy for anyone involved in sports at any level.
Recover from injuries and setbacks
Even the most careful among us can get injured when we exercise. Although, as you might be guessing by now, exercise can be a great preventative activity to reduce your chances of injury at any age. For example, a study showed that ageing athletes were no more likely to experience injuries than younger athletes who exercised the same amount.
Complications such as osteoporosis can make bones more brittle, frail and prone to fracture. Other common conditions such as arthritis can cause pain and discomfort, and people may experience a ‘flare-up’ where the condition temporarily worsens.
But the benefits of exercise often outweigh the risks. Even though it might take some extra work and support, physiotherapy is a great service for managing pain and providing an active recovery program. Depending on the nature and seriousness of your injury, your physiotherapist can help you with:
- exercises to improve flexibility and strength
- joint mobilisation and soft tissue techniques including dry needling to reduce pain and improve movement,
- hydrotherapy to aid muscle and joint rehabilitation
We also work collaboratively with your general practitioner and any other allied healthcare professionals supporting your recovery.
According to Harvard Medical School, “Exercise is not the fountain of youth, but it is a good long drink of vitality”. Get your dose of vitality today.
All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The Brisbane Spine Clinic can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you.