Downhill After 70?

Beating all odds, I’m setting new fitness goals in my 70s. I no longer need assistance in walking and am able to walk more than a mile. I am preparing to start biking again. My new abilities are the benefits from doing physical therapy. National parks, here I come.

When I was in my 60s, I lived with chronic and debilitating illness. Using a walker and an electric scooter for going distances, I was sinking into depression. In searching the net, I came across articles supporting the use of physical therapy in regaining strength and stamina. Even found an article which suggests physical therapy may retrain neurons which could be helpful in my situation.

At my request, my physician wholeheartedly agreed to order physical therapy, which turned out to be a God-send. I regained walking (at first short distances), good posture, upper body strength, good range of motion and improved mental health.

I graduated to a maintenance program (out-of-pocket expense) which carried me forward until I became the caregiver for my husband who was diagnosed with brain cancer. The worst thing I did was to discontinue my fitness program. During my husband’s last three months, I became ill and was hospitalized. Physically, I still had good posture, but I was losing my range of motion and my balance had become poor. My strength and stamina were gone. I was frail. Walking was not something I wanted to do and further my balance made walking problematic.

I knew from experience that I must do physical therapy, that it would be a life extender, mood picker-upper, and greatly improve my quality of life even with my husband’s dying. I began physical therapy when I was released from the hospital. My husband died a couple of months later.

My husband has been gone now for nine months and once again I’ve graduated to a physical therapy maintenance program. I’m walking unassisted, have regained excellent balance, and I’m coming out of retirement to start a new career. Did I say that I’m in my 70s?

With the guidance of my physical therapist, these are my fitness goals:

1. Walk 4 miles. I want to hike and be able to walk the national and state parks.

2. Lift and move 50 lbs. Gee, I could rearrange furniture, pack my car for trips.

3. Bike for 10+ miles. There is a 10 mile flat terrain bike trail in Coeur d’Aelene, Idaho that I have my eye on.

I’m off to purchase a refurbished bike with raised handle bars. It probably will be a cruiser since I never managed hand brakes or gears. Maybe I can learn the new technology of bicycles.

You too can become fit when you’re over 70. Check with your health care professional regarding the pros and cons for going into physical therapy. The benefits are good mental health, involvement with life, and you may even be able to hike the national parks with your family. You’re not too old.

Source by Judy Brutz

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