February 21, 2017

Agile Aging: Simple Steps for Keeping Joints and Muscles Healthy

As you age, some things simply won’t work the way they used to. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up and allow aging to rule your life. Instead, combat the signs of aging and ensure you spend your golden years as agile as ever. For those who are advancing in age, it’s crucial to keep joint and muscle health in mind, and to actively prevent against injury and weakness. Below are some ways in which you can prevent bone and muscle damage, stay agile, and ensure your health long into your golden years.

Runing, Seniors, Aging

Exercise

Some people may say that if you’ve already got a disease or condition such as osteoarthritis, exercise will make it worse. But most physicians agree that there’s nothing you can do that will make it get any worse any faster than it’s already going to. While you might want to avoid impact sports so as to ensure your other bones and joints, you can still be as active as you want. Swimming, elliptical machines, and bicycling are all wonderful ways to keep your bones and muscles healthy. Yoga and pilates have also been shown to strengthen your body and improve flexibility, as well, and many senior citizens find that a combination of non- or low-impact cardio, strength training, and yoga helps them stay active, lean, strong, and agile.

As always, consult with your physician before you start an exercise program, and pay attention to any strange or new symptoms that arise whilst you’re active. If you’ve already been diagnosed with a condition like osteoarthritis, the worst thing you can do is to do nothing at all. The simple law of physics that a body in motion will stay in motion, and a body at rest will stay at rest is quite true for people, as well. The more you move, the easier moving will be, so stay as active as possible. If you’ve not been diagnosed with a condition, getting and staying active can help delay or even prevent the onset of diseases of the joints, bones, and muscles.

When to Listen to Pain

Exercise hurts. Even if you’ve not been diagnosed with a disease like osteoarthritis, a good workout will leave you sore. Most people have been conditioned to believe that pain is indicative of problem, and sometimes it is. But if you’re very active, particularly if such a workout program is new to you, then you’ve got to expect some soreness and pain to come with the territory.

If you’ve got a condition like osteoarthritis, however, pain from working out is almost guaranteed. But the flip side to that coin is that the pain of doing nothing will be even worse. For those who are overweight, studies suggest that reducing your weight can actually help improve your condition, and exercising is a crucial part of that. Some pain is worth listening to, and some isn’t. So how do you know which is which?

The general rule of thumb is that if you are in pain, but you can still carry on with your exercise, it’s general soreness and you’re alright to continue with what you’re doing. If, however, the pain you experience physically stops you from engaging in activity, it’s time to take a break and rest for a day or two. If the pain persists, ask your doctor if there is cause for concern. The more you work out, the easier some of it will get, and the less pain you’ll experience.

Looking for Patterns

Always look for patterns in your pain. If you start to notice that certain activities cause you strange, specific, acute, or severe pain in one or more areas, ask your doctor about it before continuing on. If, however, it’s just general soreness after a workout, chances are you’ve just got to get used to the workout before it will start to subside.

At Risk?

Many people worry about falling as they advance in years, and rightly so. Falling is one of the worst things that can happen if you’ve got osteoarthritis or a similar condition, so before you push through the pain, stiffness, or other symptoms, you might want to take an inventory of your falling risk. If you live in an assisted living home or have at-home care, the professionals in charge of your wellbeing will be able to suggest exercises that can minimise your risk. But if you’re ever asked to do something you don’t feel comfortable with, you can always refuse. Legal consultants know all too well that medical negligence can lead to a fall just as well as natural risks, so always act within your discretion and within your comfort level where safety is concerned. If you can’t get into and out of the car with minimal difficulty, put your shoes on without help, or tie your shoes, you should consult with a doctor before doing any workouts, particularly those outdoors. Set your home up for safety by minimizing the places in which you could be seriously injured if you fell.

Find Your Footing

Gone are the day when hideous orthopaedic shoes were the only options for those with joint and muscle problems. There are a wide variety of classy and stylish options for those who need a bit more cushioning, and ensuring you’ve got the right shoes can help you keep your joints and muscles intact (or at least minimise further damage) for years to come.

Millie Whitehead is a physical therapist. She enjoys blogging about everyday concerns and questions to help people keep healthy. Companies like IrwinMitchellSolicitors can guide you with regards to medical negligence claims, visit their website to learn more.

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