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What is Healthy Aging??

Healthy aging in women
Image Source; https://www.alswh.org.au

Healthy ageing is defined as “maintaining our ability to do the things we value for as long as possible”. Do you ever think (or worry) about how healthy you are going to be into your old age; what ever old age is?

FYI; From an academic point of view, old age can be thought of as being >70 years.

With different abilities and different threats to their health, everyone has a different pathway into their 70’s.  Is there anything you can do to set yourself up to be in the best possible position to enjoy good health in old age? ABSOLUTELY!

In 1996, I was one of the 57,000 women randomly contacted by “Women’s Health Australia” to complete a survey about my health, exercise and lifestyle. 26 years later I am still involved in this massive study where the data of all of the participants is used to develop guidelines and public health policy at government level.

The oldest participants who started the study in 1996 as they “entered old age” in the cohort of 70-75 years, are now approaching and are >100 years of age, with their health data analysed over the last 26 years. The data shows that physical health does naturally decline (as you would expect) but interestingly the decline was less the healthier you were at the “start of old age”. In other words, the better your health in your 70’s, the better your health in your 90’s.

Another important aspect from the data analysis, showed that those with high physical health in their 70’s MAINTAINED high mental health scores into their 90’s.   

There is a massive window of opportunity for women aged over 40 to improve their health now so they experience better health into their “old age”. In physiotherapy we help you to

  1. Exercise more – by maintaining your cardio vascular fitness and being physically able to exercise at least 30 minutes most days.
  2. Maintain Strength – weights are so important for muscle strength AND the rate of decline of your grip strength is very closely correlated to dementia!
  3. Improve Balance – good balance is so important, “Having a fall” in old age often means broken hips, head hitting, vertebral fractures and is very often the beginning of the end.

 

Healthy aging is not about covering the greys or Botox, nor is it about avoiding disease. The better physical health you are in, the better capacity you have to be actively involved in the activities that are meaningful to your life.

Physiotherapy manual therapy will treat your injury and Physiotherapy guided exercise will give you the confidence about “what to do” with exercise equipment and help you build healthy habits.

Click on the links below to book online for a physiotherapy assessment and treatment or give us a call on 0438 648 884.

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