Staying In Shape and Exercise For Seniors

One of the defining hallmarks of the Regency Philosophy on Care as espoused by our Regency President and Founder, is our commitment to the total wellbeing of our residents with a sustained approach to providing for their therapy after Medicare has been discontinued.

Our long term Medicaid residents are provided with a robust level of restorative therapy which allows them to thrive in health and in happiness.

Daily exercise for seniors is a vital component of long term care, yet there is sometimes a disparity between the efforts of certain facilities to provide therapy for short term rehabilitative patients versus their long term residents.

I recently read  great article/study regarding identifying barriers to remaining physically active after rehabilitation. The article points to the sometimes differing perceptions between physical therapists and older adult patients.

The salient point, however, is that seniors and young people need to stay active in order to live and lead healthy lives.

I am somewhat of a fitness nut myself and have become a long distance runner in recent years, covering many miles each week in order to stay in shape.

Speaking of exercise, Devon Jackson of Outside Online wrote a funny (but accurate) article this past Saturday.

In it, he posits that if you were to cross paths with one of your farming ancestors, he’d shove you to the ground, kick sand in your face, and jog off into the sunset with your spouse slung over his shoulder. And even with somebody else’s partner slung over his other shoulder, you’d probably never catch up to him. Such has been our musculoskeletal decline over time.

He quotes liberally from some of today’s foremost authorities on the topic including Dr. Colin Shaw:

“Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to these ancestors of ours,” says Dr. Colin Shaw of Cambridge University’s Phenotypic Adaptability, Variation and Evolution Research Group. “We’re certainly weaker than we used to be.”

Alison Macintosh, one of Shaw’s PAVE colleagues, thinks so, too. She’s the one whose recent paper, “From athletes to couch potatoes: Humans through 6,000 years of farming,” claims that, when Central Europeans made the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, men’s lower limb strength and overall mobility decreased (even more so than among women).

Macintosh, a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate, compared laser-scanned femurs and tibia of skeletons from centuries ago. She then cross-checked her findings with Shaw’s study of bone rigidity among modern Cambridge undergraduates, and found that the ability among male farmers to move about their environment thousands of years ago was, on average, at a level near that of today’s student cross-country runners.

Our overall strength declined because, as technologies improved and men’s and women’s tasks diversified, people became less active. The result: today’s man is not only more sedentary than ever before, but compared to men of yon, we’re practically enfeebled. “We do much, much less than our ancestors,” says Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, “and our skeletons reflect this decrease in activity.”

This decline in physical activity and bone strength has led to osteoporosis, decrease in fitness, obesity, and myriad other problems and diseases. Ironically, “We have an overabundance of nutrition and we train better,” says Shaw, “but we’re overweight and we’re not challenging our bodies like we used to.”

Well folks, our happy seniors living at Regency Nursing Centers, are challenging themselves with our help, to stay physically fit and active in their elder years!

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