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Embracing physical activity for functional independence: A physiotherapy perspective

Updated: Feb 9


Couple doing excercise to maintain functional independence


As we age, maintaining functional independence becomes a paramount concern. The ability to carry out daily activities with ease is not only crucial for our physical well-being but also for our overall quality of life. The Physiotherapists at The Well Balanced Centre believe that taking part in regular physical activity is a great way to preserve and enhance functional independence in older individuals. Physiotherapy at home can be a key way of helping individuals to stay active and enjoy hobbies/activities that they enjoy.


Understanding functional independence:


Functional independence refers to the ability to perform everyday activities without dependence on others. These activities include basic tasks like walking, getting up from a chair, climbing stairs, and more complex activities such as cooking or gardening. As we age, various factors like muscle strength, joint flexibility, and balance can decline, affecting our ability to carry out these activities efficiently.


The role of physiotherapy:


Physiotherapy at home plays a vital role in promoting and maintaining functional independence among older adults. The Physiotherapists at The Well Balanced Centre are trained to assess and address mobility issues, pain, and other physical limitations. Through personalised exercise programs, they aim to improve strength, flexibility, and overall mobility.


Motivating factors for physical activity:


Here are some reasons why the Physiotherapists at The Well Balanced Centre believe Physiotherapy at home is so important:


Enhanced muscle strength:


Regular physical activity, especially strength training, helps build and maintain muscle mass. Strong muscles are crucial for performing daily tasks such as lifting shopping or getting up from a chair and they help reduce the risk of falls and injuries.


Improved joint function:


Engaging in activities that promote joint flexibility and range of motion contributes to better joint function. This is particularly important for activities that require bending, reaching, or twisting, allowing for greater ease in day-to-day movements.


Balance and coordination:


Physical activity, including balance exercises, helps enhance coordination and stability. This is instrumental in preventing falls, a common concern for older individuals. The Physiotherapists at The Well Balanced Centre can design exercises specifically aimed at improving balance.


Pain management:


Chronic pain can significantly impact functional independence. Physiotherapy interventions including targeted exercises and techniques, can alleviate pain and discomfort, making daily activities more manageable and enjoyable.


Maintaining bone health:


Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or resistance training, contribute to maintaining bone density. This is essential in preventing conditions like osteoporosis and reducing the risk of fractures.


Cardiovascular health:


Aerobic exercises, like walking, swimming, or cycling, promote cardiovascular health. A strong heart and efficient circulation are vital for sustaining energy levels and endurance during daily activities.


Cognitive benefits:


Physical activity has been linked to cognitive function. Regular exercise not only supports physical well-being but also contributes to mental sharpness and overall cognitive health, enhancing the ability to make decisions and solve problems.


Tailoring physical activity to individual needs:


Our team at The Well Balanced Centre recognise that each person is unique. Their exercise programs are tailored to individual needs taking into account existing health conditions and personal preferences. This personalised approach ensures that the activities selected are both enjoyable and beneficial, increasing the likelihood of long-term adherence. It also promotes success when engaging in physiotherapy at home.


Overcoming barriers to physical activity:


Our Physiotherapists understand that participating in physical activity can be daunting – especially at the start.


Fear of injury:


Our Physiotherapists can guide individuals through exercises that are safe and gradually progress in intensity. This minimises the risk of injury and builds confidence in a persons physical abilities.


Lack of time:


Our Physiotherapists can design time-efficient exercise routines that can be incorporated into daily life. Short focused sessions can yield significant benefits without requiring a major time commitment.


Social support:


Group exercise classes or activities foster a sense of community and motivation. Our Physiotherapists may recommend participation in group settings, making physical activity a social and enjoyable experience.


The journey towards maintaining functional independence in older age begins with embracing regular physical activity. Physiotherapy at home can provide a holistic approach addressing specific physical needs and encouraging individuals to lead active, fulfilling lives. By recognising the importance of movement, older adults can not only age gracefully but also maintain the ability to live life to the fullest.


Remember, it's never too late to start getting active.


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