Joint pain is one of the most debilitating factors of old age. The most common types are osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis also affecting many seniors. While there is no way to prevent arthritis, there are treatments and measures to help lessen the pain and delay its onset. In this week’s article, we will cover the best ways for seniors to take care of their joints.
Exercise for Better Range of Motion
A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that seniors who were more physically active were less prone to chronic health conditions. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy range of motion, which increases movement coordination and reduces joint stiffness.
Dr. Charles J. Gulas, a physical therapist and a former educator for Maryville University’s online nursing and healthcare programs, highlights the importance of participating in regular exercises to maintain a good range of motion, particularly in your wrists and hands. If you or your loved one isn’t experiencing any pain, then it’s a good idea to keep joints healthy with some basic movements. “Simple shoulder shrugs, wrist, and finger range of motion exercises help keep a joint range of motion,” he points out in an interview with Everyday Health. One simple exercise to try is closing your hands into a fist and slowly reopening them until your fingers fully stretch out, then closing them again slowly. You can also make circular motions with your thumbs while keeping them straight, and stretching out your thumbs to touch each of your fingertips. Repeat all these hand exercises three to ten times daily.
Improve and Maintain Good Posture
The importance of good posture cannot be underestimated. A common condition for those of older age is kyphosis, which is more commonly known as being a hunchback. This is a significant problem for both older men and women. Dr. Alpesh Patel, director of orthopedic spine surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital recommends rowing exercises for those who can still move freely, and avoiding spinal flexion and bending too far for those who are older.
Keep a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is more than just keeping a slim figure. It’s crucial for joint health, specifically the weight-bearing joints. The heavier you get, the greater the force your joints have to endure, especially your hips and knees.
Lose weight by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, good hydration, and getting enough sleep. Dr. Samuel Klein, a professor at Washington University’s school of medicine, says that “having a BMI of 30 to 35 (or higher) gives an increased odds ratio of being in a nursing home because of this physical dysfunction.” So, for seniors, a BMI of 25-27 would be a healthy range to maintain.
Be Conscious About Your Diet
A healthy diet is not only for losing weight. You can also get the proper nutrition that can specifically target joint health. An anti-inflammatory diet is good for the joints, says Nancy Clark, a sports nutritionist and author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. “We want to go toward more natural, closer to the earth, and less-processed foods, while avoiding fried and processed foods, trans fats, and charred meat,” says Clark. She notes that cherries, red peppers, canned salmon, oatmeal, turmeric, walnuts, and kale are among the best anti-inflammation foods you can eat.
If you are experiencing joint pain or are concerned that you will soon, we hope the above tips have helped. At Village Park Senior Living, we offer many health, wellness, and social programs specifically geared towards seniors. If you’re interested in learning more about assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the many programs & activities we offer, please contact Village Park Senior Living for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and check back often for new blogs.
The article was written for villageparkseniorliving.com
By Alicia Steven