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Exercise can help seniors gain strength and live healthy lives

Excuses, excuses, excuses. I don’t accept them and I won’t accept this one: “I’m too old to get stronger!”

All too often, our great seniors have this belief that weakness is part of old age and that the geriatric body simply cannot get stronger. They believe that it is essentially inevitable that they will have more difficulty with functional activity as time goes on in their lives, which results in an unfounded level of hopelessness.

Folks in their 80s are 40% weaker than they were in their 20s, but their ability to improve strength is still very viable.

Look, exercise should be considered in the same vein as prescription medication. Patients take pills when prescribed by their doctors without question. But there are many who balk at the idea of exercise (therapy) when “prescribed” by the same physician.

The contrast is in the fact that pills are easy and exercise is not. Pills take no effort and exercise is all about effort.

There is belief that pills work at any age, but exercise is only for the young. Exercise should be performed as regularly as taking your pills.

Science is a great thing because it produces facts. The fact is that the muscles of the human body will react in the same manner at any age when exposed to regular exercise.

Without going into details and statistics, there are numerous studies that prove this fact. Thus, we can improve strength at any age.

If I could simplify my livelihood, it would center on this fact. I work every day with folks in their 80s, 90s and even over 100 years of age and they get stronger if they are compliant with our interventions.

So, here is a formal invitation to all the readers out there and their elderly family members.

If you are young, get off your butts and get moving because the more you move, the healthier you will be. Consider it practice for old age.

Prepare your body to live happily into your “golden years.”

If you are close to or sitting in those “golden years,” find a way to take advantage of the professional guidance of a therapist who will evaluate your functional weakness and make recommendations in order to get back your quality of life.

Do not yield to the mistaken belief that you cannot improve — you can!

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” This was quoted from Bette Davis, and she is absolutely correct.

The good news is that I don’t know many sissies that have made it to “old age.”

There are 168 hours in a week. Take 3 of those hours and get moving so that you can enjoy your life as long as possible. Fight osteoporosis, arthritis, lethargy, pain and even dementia.

If you don’t know how to do it, it is very easy to find help. It’s our job to help you improve your quality of life. Each journey starts with one small step. Take that step.

About Joel

Joel J. Digris is a Schuylkill County resident with a master’s degree in physical therapy.

He holds a bachelor of science from Lycoming College and a master’s of physical therapy from Arcadia University.

Over the last 22 years, Digris has worked various medical facilities before founding Achieva Rehabilitation. He now serves as the outpatient provider of physical therapy and serves residents in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

“I’m passionate about the way we do things,” he said. “In the end, I want to make a difference in our local communities.”

He and his wife, Amy, have four daughters.

He also plays guitar for the cover band Toolshed Jack.

The Times News Inc. and affiliates do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Times News. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Exercise could help senior citizens live stronger lives. METROGRAPHICS