The first members of the baby boomer generation are just about to turn 70 years old. The importance of the mental and physical health of this group of people, born between 1946 and 1964, is becoming increasingly important. As a physical therapist, it is your job to keep these patients on the right track with their fitness. Here are five steps you can take to keep your baby boomer clients healthy:
1. Preach "exercise as medicine"
It is sometimes difficult to get your patients to perform their physical tasks as frequently as they should, but it's important to stress the idea of exercise as a means of prevention. Physical therapists should inform clients that not only can training prevent health issues, but it keeps future medical bills low. Those patients who physically exert themselves more spend less money on healthcare costs. Hospital admittance may also decrease when clients participate in exercise programs, according to Today's Geriatric Medicine.
2. Help boomers find the right pace
Regular activity is beneficial for baby boomers, but so is ensuring they're not overdoing the exercise. The correct tempo helps patients work out a speed that is appropriate for their age and level of pre-existing physical fitness. Some baby boomers may have limits on what exercises they can perform, and it's important they are aware of that to continue to be active outside of your physical therapy practice without getting hurt.
Over-exertion could land your patients in the hospital and keep them out of a physical lifestyle for a period of time, only making them further behind in maintaining their health.
"A good mantra to teach is 'Listen to your body.'"
3. Encourage daily stretching
At the very least, it's crucial baby boomers incorporate some amount of stretching into their schedule. Physical therapists help patients focus on problem areas, like the neck and back, while giving them gentle but worthwhile movements to complete. This active behavior makes clients more flexible and may jumpstart a moderate weight-lifting plan to increase baby boomers' fitness level.
4. Talk about strength training
While stretching is vital for keeping patients' bodies limber, strength training boosts the metabolism and helps baby boomers keep the pounds off. In conjunction with light cardiovascular activity, clients should frequently lift weights. By starting with light quantities and working their way up as patients get stronger, physical therapists ensure every physical aspect is taken care of and monitored to make sure their clients are safe.
5. Advise patients to listen to their bodies
One of the most difficult aspects of aging is realizing you may not be able to do all of the physical tasks you once were able to complete. As a physical therapist, it is up to you to help patients figure out the highest level of exertion and exercise they should maintain to ensure clients don't push themselves too hard. A good mantra to teach is "Listen to your body." If baby boomers feel overly tired, it may be a good day to take off and rest. Encourage patients to share their state of mind and body with you so that you can modify the exercises you work on for the session. Accommodating clients' weariness or pain will not only alleviate stress from the patient, but will keep their bodies safe and healthy.
As a physical therapist, you will start to see more patients of the baby boomer generation. To keep these clients healthy, it's important to assess their current level of fitness to cater specific exercises to them. Adjusting their regimen frequently keeps these patients strong and more likely to retain a similar way of life. By encouraging simple stretches, light weight training and a moderate pace, baby boomers can maintain a degree of activity without over-exerting themselves.