There are a lot of benefits with being a healthy and active adult.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are active help themselves reduce and prevent chronic diseases.
Healthy active living can include activities such as singing.
Carly Schiff, a speech-language pathologist for Becker Ear Nose and Throat Center, said there are benefits for individuals who partake in singing.
“On the benefits of singing there has been a lot of research lately on the normal aging voice and the aging voice for those with Parkinson’s disease. Your vocal cords are muscles and so when use a muscle it is beneficial,” said Schiff, who operates mainly out of the Becker office in Princeton. “Singing is an extreme form of speaking in a sorts. We are starting to see that people that sing through their life tend to not have as much atrophy. We have noticed that those who use their voice more in singing form seem to have more longevity with their voice.”
Schiff has been practicing for five and half years and has offices in Princeton.
“I see all ages, but primarily adults. A huge portion of that is elderly individuals. I see a lot of voice disorders with older adults,” she said.
CDC officials stated in their latest report that there are annual healthcare costs of $117 billion associated with inadequate physical activity.
For Schiff she encounters several voice disorders when treating patients.
“What I see most in an aging voice is vocal cord atrophy. Atrophy is the thinning and aging of the vocal cord muscle. So a lot of those individuals are very eager to do therapy for that because there are great exercises for that because the exercises strengthen and improve the vocal cord muscles,” she said. “This is one of the disorders that responds well to therapy. People tend to make improvements quickly.”
Schiff also sees phonotraumatic voice disorders, which are disorders that come from misuse or over use of the voice; neurogenic voice disorders are disorders related to Parkinson’s disease or disorders of the nerves in the vocal cords; muscle tension dysphonia, which is nothing physiological with the vocal cords.
The cords look normal but are not functioning properly, according to Schiff.
She said for treatments she does voice therapy.
“We will make a variety of sounds that mimic what you would do for physical therapy. It is individualized between each patient based on what their problem is,” Schiff said.
She also said with an aging voice her goal is to help patients not hate their voice or have to to think about their voice.
“Everybody thinks there are only physical benefits of exercise and staying active. There are just so many other aspects that are beneficial too,” said Dr. Scott Curtis, director of sports medicine at the Princeton Spine and Joint Center in Princeton. “Being active helps with cardiovascular health and reduces blood pressure. It also helps control diabetes better and strengthen muscles. Also helping to reduce muscular skeletal changes.”
He said there are emotional and psychological benefits of being active and healthy as well.
“Being a healthy and active adult helps increase moods and reduce depression and anxiety. It gets people out and social,” Curtis said. “Overall I think there are so many benefits of just regular exercise and being just a general active adult. Everybody should be doing it to some degree.”
He said when it comes to the injuries he deals with as sports medicine physician, being active and healthy may not always speed up patient’s recovery time.
“It is hard to generalize everybody. Recovery time depends on a lot of different factors like age, how you injured yourself, and treatment options and plans,” Curtis said.
Curtis works on patients with acute and overuse injuries.
“The acute injuries, say for example someone injures their ankle playing soccer, that injury tends to heal quicker with individuals who are ore healthy and active. On the flip side, some people are so active they develop overuse injuries,” he said. “For example, people who run marathons or train for them develop stress injuries because they are overdoing it. Even though it is difficult to generalize I still recommend people to be active.”
Curtis said there are just too many benefits of being active and healthy for adults.
“I do think that there is a role of regular physical activity in injury prevention. People who maintain regular activities seem to bounce back quickly if they had an acute injury compared to individuals who are more sedentary,” he said. “It is important to counsel patients on multiple types of exercise that work on different aspects of the body. This also helps people change it up so they do not develop overuse injuries.”
Curtis has been practicing for two years and sees both younger and older adults in his office.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adopting healthy habits and behaviors, staying involved in your community, using preventive services, and managing health conditions, can contribute to a productive and meaningful life.