5 Reasons why seniors should try Athletic Therapy

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Kristen Huber

Kristen attended the University of Alberta's Augustana Campus to receive her Kinesiology degree, and completed post graduate studies in Athletic Therapy at MRU in 2019. She has worked a variety of sports from soccer to karate and has a love for working box lacrosse. Through gentle forms of manual therapy and education about the body, Kristen can help you to reach your goals.

Although you may not think of it this way, daily life truly becomes a sport as we age. Changes in the body may limit our strength, sense of balance and even confidence in moving. I often have seniors question me about how they could possibly benefit from seeing me because they do not identify as athletes. But athletic therapy is for everyone! Keep reading to learn about 5 ways that an Athletic Therapist can help you live your best life as a senior.

1. Exercises to match your goals and abilities

Not all exercise has to be scary! Depending on your ability level, a program to build strength, balance and endurance is more than achievable. As I said before, athletic therapy is for everyone! Athletic Therapists are trained to determine what types of exercise will be beneficial based on your needs. Improving movement is not a cookie-cutter process. If your goal is to improve balance, we will determine a baseline and design an exercise program from there. If you have shoulder pain, we can move through a program progressively based on your abilities. I have had senior clients ask me “well isn’t this boring compared to working with athletes?” NO! My job is to work on individual goals and promote growth, no matter the starting point. Movement is medicine and moving during every part of your life is key to remaining healthy and living life to the fullest!

2. Joint strength for pain reduction

It may seem counterintuitive to say that stressing a painful joint will bring relief. But when it comes to joint issues like osteoarthritis, research shows that strengthening the muscles that support joint posture is one of the best ways to reduce pain, improve or maintain mobility and improve function. An Athletic Therapist can help to determine which muscles need strengthening, help to correct posture, and provide tips for
strengthening during normal parts of your day.

3. Reassurance and education

In my experience as an Athletic Therapist, I have learned that patient outcome improves with better understanding of the body. It is our job as therapists to answer questions, improve understanding of what is causing pain or dysfunction and provide guidance when things don’t go according to plan. Rehabilitation can be scary when it doesn’t move in a straight line, or when we feel there are no options left. Your Athletic Therapist will be able to guide you through the ups and downs, explain healing timelines and provide the next steps if things aren’t improving.

4. Manual therapy techniques

When managing pain and function, manual therapy including massage, joint traction and other techniques can be incredibly important. Through hands-on treatment, your Athletic Therapist will be able to improve joint mobility, decrease muscle tension and pain, and in some circumstances, improve upon postural abnormalities. Your therapist can also use their hands to show the brain which muscles need to activate and make the strengthening process easier.

5. Physician referral and bracing

When it is not possible to exercise through the pain, an Athletic Therapist may be able to provide other options. In some cases, physician referrals can be incredibly important. There are many types of injections that may help to reduce pain, allowing you to continue an exercise program. Offloading braces for the knees and hip may also be used to reduce pressure within the joint and provide relief to make walking more bearable. Depending on the therapist, your Athletic Therapist may be able to fit your brace themselves or will know where to refer you to continue the process.

Whether you are a recent retiree, looking to take on new adventures or trying to find ways to stay active, your local Athletic Therapist is a great addition to your health and wellness team.

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons why seniors should try Athletic Therapy”

    1. Thanks for your question. We have a blog on knee pain that has some good general tips that might be helpful: https://yourlifeinfullmotion.ca/why-do-i-have-knee-pain-is-it-actually-coming-from-my-knee/
      One of the great benefits of working with an Athletic Therapist is their approach to personalized assessments and recovery. We recommend you talk directly with an Athletic Therapist to evaluate your specific pain and determine a course of treatment. You can find an Athletic Therapist near you here: https://aata.ca/public-documents/member-directory/

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