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Move to Improve Your Body, Brain, Sleep and Well-being

Ways Rehabilitation Can Lead to Improvement

Written by Sandra Foschi, MSPT, Physical Therapist, Certified Nutritionist & Owner, Health SOS Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy improves the impairment in one’s body by increasing mobility, aligning bones and joints and decreasing pain for over all well-being.

Occupational Therapy treats the whole person.  Whether you are recovering from injuries or have developmental or cognitive disabilities affecting motor skills, emotions or behavior, Occupational Therapy helps people to fully engage in daily life.

Speech Language Pathology assists patients with Parkinson’s disease and those with general speech and swallowing or other mobility issues to help improve fine and gross motor skills to increase competence and confidence in managing daily activities.

Each field above takes a diverse approach in helping people get back to an improved overall feeling and way of life.

Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy rehabilitation and recovery is guided by a customized care plan at Health SOS, developed by a member of our professional team working with your Medical Healthcare Practitioner.  Our goal is to help you achieve your optimal physical health, gain a greater understanding of how your body works best, reduce pain, prevent falls and minimize the need for hospital visits.  Each of our Licensed Therapists: educates people on how to prevent and avoid injuries plus provide education about the healing process and assist people with improving their ability to perform daily activities through training and education.

In some cases, patients may start with Physical Therapy and progress to Occupational Therapy.  For example, someone recovering from a severe stroke might work with a Physical Therapist to rebuild muscle strength.  Later, that person would see an Occupational Therapist to practice basic skills the stroke may have impaired such as, bathing, dressing, eating and walking.

Rehabilitation Therapists plays a very important role specializing in his/her area of expertise.  The greatest importance is mobility and range of motion through Manual Therapy and exercise by licensed therapists – add to this a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep and one feels a great sense of rehabilitation, positive mood and general wellbeing.

The importance of exercise for Seniors – As per researchers at Harvard, exercise provides the following benefits for seniors:

  • Lessens risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthens bones
  • Protects joints
  • Limits knee & mobility problems
  • Improves mood, reduces depression
  • Improves cognitive functioning
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps fend off infection
  • Increases lifespan

Finding the right exercise that works best for everyone is the goal.  Not only will it help you feel better physically and emotionally, it will help you live independently far longer – dramatically improving your quality of life.

Studies link ongoing activity providing benefits for the brain.  In one study, it was reported exercise stimulated the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to cognitive health at any age!  In addition, exercise increased the size of the brain structure important to memory and learning, improving spatial memory.

No one exercise is the answer. As per Sandra, “The best advice is, just get in the habit of doing some of the suggested strength, balance, flexibility and aerobic exercises every week.”

Following a daily and weekly routine is suggested by a recent study from Harvard University specifically for seniors:

  • Do at least 20 minutes of walking or other aerobic exercise every day.
  • Practice strength training 2-3 times per week, but never 2 days in a row
  • Stretch and do balance exercises every day

Please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine and work with your Physical and Occupational Therapist for a personalized exercise program that addresses your personal needs.

Sleep – “Get a good night’s sleep!’, Sandra exclaims. “Quality sleep is critical for supporting optimal mood, wellbeing and brain function.”

Ways to improve sleep:

  • Don’t drink caffeine after noon. Caffeine stays in your system much longer than you may think.  You may be surprised to learn that the half-life of caffeine is about six hours.
  • Exercise for approximately 20 minutes every day. As per Sandra, “Exercise is one of the first things we recommend for people in terms of feeling tired and being able to sleep.”
  • Get daily sunshine – especially first thing in the morning. In addition to improving sleep, nature exposure has been demonstrated to have a wide-ranging impact on health, including improved immune function, increased energy, reduced blood pressure and improved focus.
  • Consume adequate amounts of magnesium. This key mineral plays a complex role in the biological processes, which govern our ability to sleep, yet it is estimated that nearly 75% of Americans are deficient.
  • Avoid digital devices close to bedtime. New research shows blue light exposure significantly reduces the amount of melatonin secreted by the brain’s pineal gland.
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