Art of Aging: Senior Athletes

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Thursday, February 16, 2017
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Staying fit can be a challenge at any age but particularly as we grow older.

Staying fit can be a challenge at any age but particularly as we grow older.

However, there is a tool that can make exercise and recovery easier for senior athletes.

At age 69, Harry Nothacker of Devon, Pa. has turned to hydrotherapy to prolong his career as a triathlete.

"I came back from a recent operation in 3 weeks and the surgeon anticipated a 6 week plus recovery time. The knees and ankles respond much better to hydrotherapy in the water than they do bouncing around the roads while you're running," he said.

With the new generation of hot tubs, recovering athletes like Harry can swim in place and even run on underwater treadmills.

Dr. Darren Rodia, President of Kinetic Physical Therapy offers the hydrotherapy in his physical therapy practice.

He said, "Now I can effectively treat, anything from, a senior who's just trying to learn how to walk a little better to an elite level runner or a swimmer."

Dr. Rodia says water offers a natural resistance to the workout, without increasing stress on aging or injured muscles and joints.

"You don't stop moving because you age, you age because you stop moving and the pool allows you to move a little bit more pain free," said Dr. Rodia.

He continued, "People love getting in and they often say they can move in ways they haven't been able to do so."

Jeff Bailey, owner of Spring Dance Hot Tubs in Exton says, "Because of buoyancy, you're taking 90% of the stress off those muscles and joints."

He says the systems can be installed in private homes as well.

"A lot of people like the ability to have something they can use privately in their back yard," said Bailey.

If you're considering the investment, he'll be at the Philly Home and Garden Show this weekend, at the Expo Center in Oaks.

For more senior stories, visit our Art of Aging section.