Strength Training Critical for Active, Independent Aging

To the 43 million Americans who have low bone density, putting them at high risk of osteoporosis, physical therapists have an important message: exercise is good medicine. But not just any exercise – weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise.

“Essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood is participation in regular strengthening exercises, which help prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone,” said David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., U.S. Surgeon General from 1998 to 2002. “Strength training exercises are easy to learn, and have been proven safe and effective through years of thorough research.”

And while this benefit of strength training for older adults is a powerful one, it’s simply just one in a list of proven reasons why seniors should make strength training a part of their lifestyles and fitness regimens.

While a reduction in strength is often considered an inevitable part of getting older, people of all ages should feel empowered to take charge of their overall health (including strength training) as they age.

Along with diet and regular check-ups with both a physician and a physical therapist, an exercise regimen that includes elements of strength and resistance training can help slow some of the effects of aging – this, while also allowing one to maintain a high quality of life through activity and independence.

“The work of scientists, health professionals, and older adult volunteers has greatly increased our knowledge about the aging process and how we can maintain strength, dignity and independence as we age,” Satcher said.

According to reams of medical research, the many proven benefits of weight-bearing and resistance exercise include:

Rebuilding Muscle: People do lose muscle mass as they age, but much of this can be slowed and even reversed through strength and resistance exercise. And of course, a stronger body has a direct impact on issues related to balance, fall prevention and independence.

Reducing Fat: We also tend to more easily put on weight as we get older. Studies show, however, that while older adults gain muscle mass through strength training, they also experience a reduction in body fat.

Reducing Blood Pressure: Studies have also shown that strength training is a great (and natural) way to reduce one’s blood pressure, even for those who “can’t tolerate or don’t respond well to standard medications.”

Improving Cholesterol Levels: Strength training can actual help improve the level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the body by up to 21 percent, while also helping to reduce to levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Strengthening Mental Health: This goes with all exercise, including strength training. Maintaining a high level of fitness can combat anxiety, depression, issues with stress, etc. Exercise is also great for memory!

Whether walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, etc., experts recommend 30 minutes of weight-bearing activity every day. Guidelines also suggest it’s also necessary to set aside another two to three days of strength and resistance training each week, which can include free weights, weight machines, Pilates, yoga, and so on.

And for the sake of both health and safety, a thorough strength, movement and balance assessment should precede any new exercise regimen, especially for older adults – assessments that physical therapists are uniquely qualified to perform.

 

Armada Physical Therapy – Coors

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Armand Larragoite, PT, DPT, Clinc Director

Armand received his doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2015 from the University of New Mexico. He began working in outpatient physical therapy right after school and is ASTM certified. Armand uses manual therapy in combination with exercise and dry needling level 1 to help return patients to their previous level of function. He enjoys working with all populations especially high school athletes for return to sport and injury prevention. In his free time Armand enjoys competing in CrossFit and camping with his wife and two dogs.

Armada Physical Therapy – Jefferson

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Elizabeth Lonergan, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

Elizabeth has been practicing as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist since her graduation from the University of New Mexico Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2015. She is passionate about using her skills in manual therapy and exercise prescription to decrease pain and return patients to the activities they love. Elizabeth enjoys working with athletes and holds a certificate in returning injured athletes to sport. As a classically trained dancer, Elizabeth has a particular interest in the treatment of dancers. She has passed the Cechetti National Student Ballet Exams, giving her a strong foundation in ballet technique, artistry, dance theory, and anatomy of the dancer.

She received advanced education in dance, anatomy, and biomechanics at New Mexico State University, where she was a member of the Contemporary Dance Theater. Here she was able to expand her knowledge of dance to many different styles including modern, jazz, contemporary, ballroom, and flamenco. Upon graduation from NMSU with her BA in Kinesiology and Minors in Dance technique education and psychology, Elizabeth moved to Albuquerque where she danced professionally with Ballet Repetory Theater of New Mexico.

Elizabeth has completed dance specific physical therapy training with Marika Molnar, the physical therapy provider for New York City Ballet. She has also attended courses with NYU’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries for dance specific rehabilitation, shoe fitting, and dance nutrition. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to work with many dance companies in Albuquerque, and is the premier physical therapy provider for Keshet Dance Company. Outside of work, Elizabeth continues to dance and enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 dogs.

Armada Physical Therapy – Los Lunas

Hours:
Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Melody Rattanapote-Malaney, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

Mel is a native New Mexican, born and raised in Albuquerque. She graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Missouri State University before returning to New Mexico to work in outpatient, inpatient, and home health physical therapy settings. Mel has spent her career in the rural communities of Socorro and Valencia counties and has treated many patients from age 0 to 97 with a variety of musculoskeletal and neurological pathologies. She has specialized training in functional dry needling in addition to other familiar evidence-based physical therapy interventions and techniques. Mel prefers individualized treatment sessions and is passionate about patient education and the restoration of function and quality of life. When not in clinic, Mel spends her time with her husband and furry children and enjoys photography, hiking, and road biking

Armada Physical Therapy – Menaul

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

K. Violet Dinnen, DPT, Clinic Director

Violet received her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of New Mexico. Her practice relies on evidence-based manual therapy techniques and she particularly enjoys treating foot, ankle, and upper extremity conditions. She has taken several continuing education courses that focus on biomechanical principles and manual therapy treatments. Outside of work, she likes to exercise, golf, practice yoga, and travel whenever possible.

Tracy Mechenbier, DPT

Tracy has practiced primarily in the outpatient orthopedic setting and has also continued to work in the inpatient neurological rehab setting, on a PRN basis to keep up her skills. She obtained her B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of New Mexico before attaining her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from UNM in 2015. Tracy’s strengths are in constructing creative exercise programs relevant to patient’s lifestyles, as well as performing manual therapy techniques. She currently utilizes dry needling for pain reduction and to address ROM limitations. Prior to working as a physical therapist, Tracy was a personal trainer and soccer coach. She played competitive soccer throughout her youth and into college. Currently she spends her free time staying active with her husband and four young children.

Armada Physical Therapy – Rio Rancho

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30am to 2:30pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilizations (IASTYM)
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Peri-Neural and Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Timothy Serrano, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, Clinic Director

A California native, Timothy, moved to New Mexico and completed his undergraduate degree from UNM in 2008. He then took time to study Black Mantled Howler monkeys in Costa Rica and Ecuador as a research assistant before earning his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina in 2013. He has since earned several advanced certifications including his Diploma of Osteopractic (2015) from the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT) that comprises certifications in Spinal Manipulation (Cert. SMT) and musculoskeletal and peri-neural Dry Needling (Cert. DN). In 2018 he completed an Orthopedic Fellowship accredited with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) which is a national organization committed to excellence in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy practice, education and research. During his Fellowship he helped conduct research on cervicogenic headaches (headaches that are caused by the upper neck) with AAMT. As of 2019 he is one of eight with the FAAOMPT distinction in the entire state of New Mexico.  He has  a tremendous passion for helping all patients with any musculoskeletal conditions and works well with patients in targeting and achieving their specific goals for returning and restoring them back to their desired quality of life. When he is not in the clinic, he enjoys playing board games with friends and family, hiking, camping or exploring the outdoors with his dog Rupert.