Active at Any Age: A Painless Way to Start Moving More


With a lifestyle involving sitting or lying down ten hours or longer each day, people over the age of 65 tend to experience the lowest activity level of any age group. Their sedentary life tends to cost them dearly. Inactivity stiffens the joints over time, making movement harder and harder; seniors who work little opportunity for physical activity into their lives end up finding it more challenging each passing year to enjoy simple pleasures such as stepping out for everyday activities.

An inactive lifestyle can ruin the health even further. Research finds strong connections between activity level and both physical and mental health. Strokes, heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia tend to be common among seniors who live slow lives.

Staying active doesn’t necessarily need to involve strenuous movement. As healthy as swimming, running or taking up a sport can be, nearly any kind of movement helps — 30 minutes each day doing anything from tending garden to taking a brisk walk or mowing the lawn. As long as it is strenuous enough to raise the heart rate, it helps improve an arthritic condition.

Raising activity level can come with immediate health benefits, quickly lowering risk of heart disease and stroke. The elderly, though, do not choose their sedentary lives for reasons of a lack of interest in activity, though — one in five experience serious arthritis that makes movement painful. Staying active as you grow older requires careful planning for ways to continue moving without pain. Staying inactive can only make arthritis worse each passing year.

The more you move, the easier it gets 

The less active one is, the less lubrication the joints receive, and the more difficult it progressively becomes over time to move at all.

When you experience joint pain, then, you need to not let it discourage you from staying active. Rather, you need to find ways to tackle the pain as you attempt to keep moving. Taking the weight of your body off your joints as you move can be an effective idea when it comes to getting joint lubrication going without pain. Fun, water-based group aerobics in a swimming pool, for instance, is an excellent way to go.

Find massage services 

Research finds that skilled massage therapy can be immensely helpful in improving mobility in arthritic joints through the improved circulation that such therapy promotes. Massage can also help with ability to move through healing inflammation, relieving overall stiffness and lowering stress. Since regular massage therapy can be expensive, finding scientifically designed massage chairs capable of kneading and tapping motions can be a serviceable alternative.

Joint irrigation 

Joint lubrication and cartilage health become so precarious in serious cases of arthritis, joints begin to experience the abrasive effects of accumulated cartilage debris. Having debris in the joints can cause extremely painful movement.

Joints affected by accumulations of cartilage debris tend to be visibly swollen. As a debilitating as the condition can be, orthopedic surgeons today offer a simple solution — joint irrigation. A simple 10-minute procedure is all it takes to irrigate the knee joints deep inside, and clean out troublesome debris. Treatment tends to be affordable; the effects can last several months.

Shots of hydroaluronic acid 

In many cases, arthritic joints become painful with poor lubrication, but stop short of problems as serious as debris accumulation. Traditionally, doctors have recommended joint replacement therapy for patients with poor lubrication — movement tends to simply be too painful.

With recent advances in arthritis medicine, though, doctors are able to offer patients a simple a office-based procedure in which a lubricant named hydroaluronic acid is injected in the joint. The effects of the artificial lubricant last six months, and can help patients put off knee replacement surgery for as long as a decade.

Find pleasurable ways to move 

It’s important to remember that constant movement is what keeps the joints healthy. The more successful you are at moving, the more lubricated your joints become, and the less painful movement is. Doctors recommend finding enjoyable ways to move that can take your mind off the painful chore of moving.

A healthy sex life as an excellent way to go. Video games that use movement sensors such as Microsoft’s Kinect or Nintendo’s Wii are also fun ways to motivate yourself into moving. Having a pet to play with, playing with children, and moving lightly to music are fun possibilities, too.

As the joints give out in old age, they still tend to be usable; all it takes is a creativity and a pro-active approach.

Brianna May works as a physiotherapist and likes to offer her insights online. Her thoughts can be found on a number of retirement, health and elderly lifestyle blogs.

Image credits