Several studies have tied peoples’ perceived quality of life with their ability to get out into the community. Also the more connected a person is in the community, the greater their perceived happiness. If you have a problem that keeps you from walking it will affect quality of life and put you at health risk. Your problem may “only be” hip pain or back pain but these small problems end up having huge implications for your quality of life. In our clinic we see a direct correlation between patients’ ability to walk independently and their feeling of well being. This applies to not only elderly patients but also to patients after accidents or surgeries.
Since it is so important that we maintain our ability to walk, we have to address problems that keep us from walking. It is extremely important that we deal with the problems when needed.
1: Use it or lose it. Regularly go for a walk just for exercise. Walking is an excellent form of exercise to maintain cardiovascular health and to maintain your ability to walk.
2: Stay active in your community. Community activities help to motivate people. Community groups give you a reason to be active and a reason to be mobile in the community.
3: Stay strong and flexible. Improved strength has been linked to decrease risk of falling, improved self confidence and better walking. Good flexibility will decrease your risk of injury and improve your symptoms from arthritis.
4: Get help if you need it. If you need help with an exercise program, a physical therapist is an excellent resource for establishing a safe and effective exercise routine. If you are in a great deal of pain, consult a medical professional to establish the cause of your pain.
For more information about the link between community independence and quality of life visit the APTA website. Additionally, feel free to contact Siskiyou Physical Therapy if you have any questions or if your walking or community mobility is impaired. We regularly treat patients who have difficulty walking and they love the results they see after physical therapy.
Jon Hill, DPT, Licensed Physical Therapist with Siskiyou Physical Therapy
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