Physical therapy is a huge help for seniors when they are recovering from injuries, illnesses, and surgery. However, there are some interesting side effects from physical therapy that many people are surprised to experience. Working with a physical therapist can offer a lot of different mental health benefits. These are also important for recovery, as well as for life afterward.
What is Physical Therapy All About?
Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitative therapy that helps people improve their physical function and quality of life. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including injuries, chronic pain, and neurological disorders. There can be potential benefits of physical therapy for mental health for many people as well.
Physical Activity Releases Endorphins
Any type of physical activity can release endorphins, which have emotional and psychological benefits. These are the same endorphins that cause the “runner’s high” that many people who run marathons talk about. Endorphins help people to feel better overall, which is very important while someone is healing.
Movement Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Being able to move more freely can help someone to experience less stress and anxiety. This is partly due to the endorphins, of course. But someone who is engaging in physical therapy is becoming stronger and learning ways to help their body to move more efficiently. Improving that bodily function can help with reducing stress and anxiety.
Being Physically Active Helps with Mood Regulation
After an injury or illness, people can experience trouble with moods as well as their overall outlook on life. Life might feel impossible now, especially if the illness or injury is a life-altering one. Regaining some physical movement can help with regulating moods. When someone feels better physically, it can be easier to feel better mentally, too.
Physical Therapists Offer Social Support
Working with physical therapists may offer a social support that can be helpful for patients. Many times patients are on their own and may not have the social engagement that they really want or need. When physical therapists arrive for appointments, there’s a social aspect involved in the session.
Movement Improves Cognitive Function
Moving more is also good for the brain. This is why moving more and adopting a regular exercise program is often recommended for all seniors, but especially for seniors concerned about maintaining brain health. People who are physically active have been shown to have better memory and attention than people who are more sedentary.
Movement and Progress Help Increase Self-Esteem
As patients make more progress in their physical therapy program, they’re going to make progress toward recovery. That progress helps to boost confidence and self-esteem, which can help with overall mood and well-being. This is an important part of the healing process and why many physical therapists help their patients to track their progress on a regular basis.
Physical therapy is a valuable tool for people who are healing from physical injuries. But the benefits offered by this type of treatment are more far-reaching than many people realize. There are some significant mental health benefits as well that can last for a long time.