Karen Z. | HealthGreatness

Turning 50 is a watershed moment in many people’s lives: Not only can it cause some serious introspection and reflection on the half century of life that’s passed, but it can also provide a sometimes shocking wake-up call about the changes our bodies have undergone. After five decades of regular use, it’s no surprise that the body might begin to show some signs of wear and tear: Creaky knees, more back pain, stiffness in the hands and feet, especially in the morning – these are all signs that our bodies need a little extra attention to keep in their best shape.

Getting in shape – safely

Many of these problems can be managed successfully with physical activity, but as we get older, the risk of injury from physical activity increases, especially if we’re not performing activities correctly. That’s because as we age, we lost some of the flexibility and strength we had when we were younger, and balance problems also become more common. And that means simple exercise is no longer enough to stay in the best shape possible; we need guidance to make sure we’re protecting our bodies as we exercise.

October is a great time to commit to becoming more physically active and doing it safely. Why? Because it’s National Physical Therapy Month, which means it’s the ideal time to learn about – and take part in – the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)’s Fit After 50 campaign.

What is Fit After 50?

Fit After 50 is a physical therapy objective that was designed specifically for the fitness needs and challenges of the roughly 76 million men and women in the U.S. who are 50 and over. According to APTA:

About 2.5 million of adults over age 50 seek emergency care each year for exercising improperly, including overexertion injuries.

By 2030, about 60 percent of older adults will be dealing with a chronic health condition.

Physical therapists can help reduce the risk of injury and pain, prevent the need for surgery, and even reduce the need for prescription medicine.

People over 50 have an average of two chronic health conditions including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which can be managed with physical activity.

More than 10 percent of people over 50 say they’re never active, and most are active only a day or two per month.

Pretty eye-opening, eh? If you’re 50 or over, getting started on a safe exercise program ASAP is critical to preventing minor problems from becoming major health issues. Take the fist step to better health and learn more about how a physical therapist can help you enjoy better health by visiting the MoveForwardPT website.