It’s a fact: health risk factors increase as we grow older, and the prevalence of lung conditions rise considerably with age. Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in the United States from infection whether originating from bacteria, viruses or fungi organisms. Individuals 65 years of age or older are at an increased risk for pneumonia and in particular, those with other medical conditions, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.
However, this doesn’t mean sitting idly by waiting for something to happen. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. There are plenty of ways to defend against acquiring respiratory infections such as pneumonia, including the usual suspects; wash your hands, avoid sick people and crowded areas, etc. Nevertheless, there are also some not so commonly known strategies, one of which is strength-resistance training. Not only does it help you from getting sick by boosting your lung strength and immune system but it will also help you to recover faster, should you develop pneumonia.
Strength-resistance training is obviously great for strengthening the lower body to support and aid in balance, flexibility and minimizing falls, but it’s also an ideal activity to ensure that lungs stay healthy. Here are three primary reasons how strength-resistance training can help you breathe a bit easier.
- Strength-resistance training, including leg-strengthening exercise, benefits those with active lung illnesses by reducing the risk of lung-related infections such as pneumonia and improves response to vaccines targeted specifically for preventing pneumonia (Song et al., 2020).
- Exercise, such as strength-resistance training, activates and expands the lungs, helping them stay healthy and clear.
- Shortness of breath is a common symptom of pneumonia. It is best practice to do exercises that combat this. Workouts that strengthen muscles, such as the case in strength-resistance exercise, support in reducing shortness of breath over time due to improved conditioning of muscles.
Resistance-strength training has shown to be an important therapeutic approach to improving deep breathing capabilities and preventing pulmonary infections, such as pneumonia. Unfortunately, most individuals aren’t knowledgeable in identifying what exercises are most effective in supporting respiratory health.
At Tandem Strength & Balance, our team consisting of licensed physical therapists, create customized, strength-resistance exercises to improve and maintain respiratory health and offer training in the comfort on your home.
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Our in-home, strength-resistance exercise programs truly makes a difference in the lives of individuals who are at increased risk of lung infections. Getting strong and staying strong enables aging seniors to live life the way they want to live it. If you’d like to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn how we can be of help, please contact Tandem Strength & Balance online or by phone at 952-746-3222.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, June 13). Pneumonia. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354204.
- Rojas, M., Mora, A. L., Kapetanaki, M., Weathington, N., Gladwin, M., & Eickelberg, O. (2015, December). Aging and Lung Disease. Clinical Impact and Cellular and Molecular Pathways.
- Annals of the American Thoracic Society. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137674/#:~:text=Aging%20is%20associated%20with%20increased,to%20increase%20considerably%20with%20age.
- Song, Y., Ren, F., Sun, D., Wang, M., Baker, J. S., István, B., & Gu, Y. (2020, April 13). Benefits of Exercise on Influenza or Pneumonia in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215850/#:~:text=Most%20of%20the%20curre nt%20studies,also%20found%20to%20be%20beneficial.
Everyone starts to lose strength within 3-5 days after strength training has stopped. So many older adults can not afford to lose any strength because they are just getting by.
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As physical therapists, we continue to challenge all of our clients in a way that caregivers and families can’t. We address the root cause of their mobility issues and help older adults build strength so they can enjoy their independence and keep living costs lower.