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  • Writer's pictureMiracle Rehab Clinic

𝗣𝗵𝘆𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗽𝘆 𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿𝘀: 𝗔 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗵𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲

What comes to mind when you hear the words “physical therapy?” Exercises, yes. Physical strength, yes. Mental strength!

Also called physiotherapy, physical therapy plays a vital role in helping to maintain good physical balance, restore strength and aid functionality despite the physical changes that come with ageing.

Simply put — Physiotherapy helps you to stay young. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the common types of physical therapy for seniors, examples, benefits, positions and exercises to avoid, and some professionally recommended tips for practical physical activities.

Ready? Let’s go!

Common Types Of Physical Therapy For Seniors

Different types of physical therapy are beneficial for seniors. And let’s be honest, as we get older, our bodies might not move like they used to. That's where physical therapy comes in. It's all about keeping those joints limber, easing the aches, and boosting that feeling of freedom. 

So, how do you know which physical therapy suits your needs? Let's tell you some of them.

Geriatric physical therapy:  It's not always about getting more robust or flexible; it's also about boosting your endurance. Think of it as a triple threat against the effects of ageing, helping you stay sturdy and energized for whatever life throws your way.

Orthopedic physical therapy: When you have pain in your muscles and joints, you need orthopedic physical therapy. This will help you ease the pain and make the affected parts stronger than they were before. 

It will also prevent a recurrence of such pain, helping you to make good use of your joints and muscles.

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy: If you’re dealing with severe issues like COPD, heart failure, or bouncing back from a heart attack, then this is what you need. This kind of therapy is mainly designed for these situations only. Since it is custom-made, you also need an expert doctor to walk you through the process. 


Neurological physical therapy: the main aim of this therapy is to help those with stroke or spinal cord injuries. Your doctor will most likely recommend this therapy for you. It is designed to ease the stress of using affected parts of your body and possibly make them work better.

Well, now you know the major types of physical therapy solutions you can employ anytime. However, The most crucial thing is to understand your problems and find one that tackles them.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Seniors

Physical therapy is like a secret weapon for seniors, packing a punch of benefits that can level up their well-being and zest for life.

It's not just about reacting to the hurdles of ageing; it's about being proactive and giving you the tools to tackle those challenges and keep thriving.

With physical therapy in their corner, seniors can hold onto their mojo, stay sharp, and squeeze every drop of joy out of life.

Still don’t get it? Let’s break it down for you, shall we?

Prevention and management of falls: Physical therapy is your sure ticket to balance, coordination, and strength for seniors. Special exercises and gait training help you stay steady on your feet.  They also reduce your risk of sliding down the stairs or losing your feet while walking. 

Pain management: Physical therapy helps to get rid of arthritis pain and improves joint mobility, giving you the advantage of engaging in daily activities with greater ease and comfort. Who doesn’t want that for themself? 

Post-surgical rehabilitation: Sometimes, you may need to maintain your balance and coordination after surgery. Physical therapy is your best bet for getting the results you need. Whether recovering from joint replacement, stroke, or other medical procedure, physical therapy restores your strength, flexibility and functional mobility.

Mental well-being: Research has shown that people who live longer do so because they burn calories more often. Additionally, they are happier than those who don't work out. Why? 

Exercise is a mental reliever. It helps you to remain calm, composed, and energetic enough to deal with life issues, especially in your old age. 

Physical Therapy Exercises for Seniors

So, we know what physical therapy is all about. We also know the benefits that come with it. But what exercises are best for you as a senior if you plan to engage in physical therapy?

Strength Training Exercise

As you get older, keeping your muscles in shape is crucial. How do you do it? Simple! You have to lift some weights a few times a week. That way, you’re building a fortress for your muscles, ensuring they stay strong and sturdy. Just make sure you’re not doing more than required. 

And if you’re lost on which kinds of strength training exercises to adopt, here are some:

  • Squats 

  • Wall push-ups 

  • Leg circle 

  • Resistance bands 

  • Knee lifts 

  • Overhead press 

  • Push-ups on knees.

Flexibility Exercise

When your joints start feeling stiff, it becomes a huge problem. And we all know how these joints start creaking in cold weather. The best way to tackle these issues is to keep in shape. Your physical therapist will give you a lineup of exercises to stretch out and keep those joints happy.

Can’t get hold of them on time? How about some of these exercises?

  • Hamstring stretch 

  • Knee to chest 

  • Hip stretch 

  • Neck rotation 

  • Backstretch 

  • Shoulder rolls 

  • Ankle circles 

  • Sit up straight in a chair.

Aerobic and Endurance Exercises 

Aerobic exercises are designed to improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Exercises like these help you to maintain a healthy heart and lungs, manage weight, and increase overall stamina for daily tasks.

Some of them are:

  • Walking (indoors or outdoors, using a walker if needed)

  • Cycling 

  • Dance 

  • Swimming 

  • Stair climbing 

  • Jogging 

Functional Training 

Standing up from a chair, reaching for objects, and climbing stairs are basic things we do every day. Functional training is just another way to do them better. The ultimate goal with functional training is for you to be able to do them better than you once did.

Examples include:

  • Sit-to-stand exercises from a chair. 

  • Carrying and lifting objects.

  • Stimulated daily activities ( reaching, bending).

Balance Exercises

You need balance in life. No matter how you see it, balancing is essential, especially as you grow older. What better way to keep your balance than engaging in exercises designed specifically for this?

Balance exercises include:

  • Sit-to-stand exercise 

  • Standing on one leg

  • Hopping around the room on one leg 

  • Heel-to-toe walking.


Positions and Exercises to Avoid in Physical Therapy for Seniors

As we age, our bodies become more fragile and can easily sustain injury and strain. And for this reason, you don’t want to go around hurting yourself because you think physical therapy is supposed to look like a weightlifting contest. You need to take things easy instead. Some exercises should never cross your mind. They include:

  1. Lying flat on the back: Lying flat on the back can make breathing difficult and increase discomfort, especially if you are recovering from surgery. This is the reason why physical therapists recommend semi-fowler or upright positions instead.

  1. Overhead Arm Raises: Raising the arms overhead can be a huge task if you have shoulder injuries, rotator cuff issues, or limited range of motion. Therapists focus on simple rotation techniques to help you move your shoulders better. 

  1. Deep Knee Bends or Squats: Do not squat! Whatever you do, avoid these exercises. Don’t even think of bending your knees too deep.

  1. High-Impact Activities: You’re no longer a kid. You no longer have the agility to jump, run, or skid around. Unless you want to fall badly, avoiding things like these is better. Just take walks instead. That helps a lot.

Physical Activity Tips For Seniors

So, you want to get fit but don’t know how to do it, right? Here are some tips;

  1. Consult with a healthcare professional: Before thinking of going all out, ask for a professional opinion. 

  1. Start slowly: Don’t rush. Take your time. Build momentum.

  1. Get Creative: To smash your fitness goals faster, use diverse methods as your therapist recommends.

  1. Focus on balance and coordination: Balance is essential. So, do some yoga. 

  1. Stay hydrated and take breaks: Drink more water. Take more breaks. Don’t overwork yourself. That’s the key to staying fit and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Choose Physical Therapy For Seniors?

It’s easy. But most importantly, you need to understand your health goals and fitness needs. 

You can also ask about their approach and treatment methods, which should be evidence-based and tailored to your needs. 

Getting referrals from friends, family, and your doctor can also help you narrow down your search for the best therapist you can find.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from Physical Therapy for Seniors?

It’s not a magic trick. It usually takes between 4-6 weeks if the therapy sessions are regular. However, progress depends on the patient's dedication to prescribed exercises and treatments. Physical therapy duration and frequency, the condition being treated,  your overall health, and your commitment to therapy all impact how quickly you recover.

Talking to your therapist as you progress is also important and saves time. It also helps them to track your progress and make necessary changes where needed.

What to Expect at Your First Physical Therapy Appointment?

Nothing much. Just like a regular doctor’s appointment, your first physical appointment will likely start with questions to assess your current physical condition, medical health, and specific areas of concern. The physical therapist will also ask questions about your symptoms, limitations, and goals for the therapy. A test will be performed to check your strength, balance, and functional mobility.

During this evaluation, you'd be asked to move around and perform simple exercises so the therapist can observe your abilities.

Then, your therapist recommends the treatment plan, how long it will take, and every other necessary information. What follows is a list of instructions on how to go along with the plans and follow-up checks.

If you have questions, you should ask.

What exercises should seniors avoid?

Now that you’re getting started don’t ask for too much. As a matter of fact, there are specific exercises to run away from. Examples are:

Overhead Arm Raises: It’s hard to raise your arm as it hurts your shoulder, so don’t stress it. And not to worry. Your therapist definitely has a recommended exercise for those arms and shoulders.

Deep Knee Bends or Squats: Avoid squatting at all costs. Stay away from deep knee bends, too. They’re dangerous.

High-Impact Activities: Swimming, walking, or cycling should replace running or jumping. You shouldn’t stress yourself too much to avoid complications.

Why is Physical Therapy for Seniors Important for a Successful Recovery? 

To be honest, there are many reasons why physical therapy is important. But for seniors like you, physical therapy is crucial for successful recovery from injuries, surgeries, or chronic conditions.

The major aim is to help you deal with pain, ease joint movements, and improve your overall health. As a plus, you get to enjoy a mentally stable life too. 

Final Thoughts

Growing old doesn’t have to be boring, but you need to take it one step at a time. To help you stay on your feet, ensure you’re doing everything necessary to maintain balance, build confidence, and get well coordinated. 

Also, remember to have a therapist at hand for any valuable tips to help you stay healthy.

Contact us today to book a session and start your therapy session. 

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