Make sure to take care of your health. If your body is healthy you’ll have fewer problems in general.
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To avoid going to a nursing home, take care of your physical self. If you’re physically healthy, that takes care of a lot of other issues that you won’t have to compensate for. If your physical body is in good shape, then all these other considerations become less relevant. Though these other things are still important, if the physical body is good, their importance diminishes for the individual and the people they care about.
Strength and power are key, topics we’ve discussed quite a bit. The ability to stand up from a chair, especially without using your hands, is crucial, as is the ability to respond quickly if you fall. Age often causes our muscles – especially those that allow us to quickly respond – to decline. That’s another conversation, but the main point is, the quicker our body can respond when we lose balance, and to stand up from a chair or from the ground, the better. Remaining independent largely depends on the strength of our legs and our ability to move a lot of force quickly.
Your level of independence, or what we call “functionality”, is essentially determined by how well you can manage everyday life. If you have power in your legs, you can do many things you would not be able to do otherwise. This encompasses not just standing up from a chair, climbing stairs, or getting up from the ground, but also regaining balance when you fall.
The role of our nervous system is important here. When we lose balance, how quickly can our nervous system trigger our muscles to respond and create an automatic response to prevent the fall? Creating automatic responses is another aspect physical therapists work quite a bit. Maintaining or increasing leg power facilitates this quick, automatic response. Unfortunately, it tends to decline with age, but we can train it to improve.
Strength, a component of power, is also very important. Strength is basically the ability to lift a certain amount of weight. It might refer to the ability to stand up from a chair once or many times. How much support do you need to do that? Can you stand up by pushing your hands into the chair, or are you able to stand up from a chair without needing your hands at all? That indicates strength.
How quickly you can stand up from the chair determines more power. And these are things that you can work on your own. You don’t necessarily need a professional to start doing these things. You can start implementing them. For instance, you might want to walk regularly and work on standing up and down from a chair regularly. Do this every single day as a simple way to begin to address this issue.
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