Your body goes through a lot over the years. From walking, sitting, squatting, and all other physical work, your bones, muscles and joints twist and turn to aid movement. It is only natural for these connectors to wear over time. According to Patient Care Takers in Chennai, lifestyle habits and choices are the major cause of joint problems in elders.
Knees, for instance, absorb a lot of pressure even when you walk – about one and a half times your body’s weight. Other peripheral joints, like hips and ankles, end up strained as well. Surprisingly, studies indicate that women are at a higher risk of joint pains than men because of their body structure and the added impact of fluctuating hormone levels.
What Causes Joint Aches?
Arthritis is the most common cause of joint pains. It is caused by the wear and tear of cartilages. Injury to muscles, cartilage, and ligaments can also weaken them. Moreover, older women have a predisposition to hip-joint problems, often aggravated by gynaecological conditions
Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition that can affect seniors. This auto-immune disease occurs when your immune system begins attacking your joints, tissues or other organs. Although the exact cause is unknown, genetic factors play a role. Smokers are also more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.
Ways to Minimize Joint Paints
Fortunately, contrary to popular misconception, you aren’t doomed to manage aches throughout your elder years or look for surgical solutions. Certain early preventive measures can protect you from creaky knees, hips, and ankles. Here are some of them:
Manage Your Weight
Obesity can take a toll on your joints. Shedding the extra kilos can go a long way in protecting them. Key research indicates that dropping 10-20% of body weight can reduce aches, improve function, and boost the quality of life. Here’s what you can do:
- Incorporate at least 150 minutes of cardio every week – this can be walking outdoors or taking the stationary bike for a spin
- Eat healthy food that does not pile on calories
- Get moving throughout the day to burn additional calories
Pay Attention to Posture
Bad posture can damage your joints more than you realize. Slouching while sitting or walking puts pressure on your hips while wrong lifting posture can damage leg muscles.
- Keep your spine upright while sitting and standing
- Do yoga and stretches that improve the range of motions
Do Strength Training
Building strong muscles early on can prevent joint aches as you age. Contrary to popular belief, bodyweight strength training or lifting light weights can improve core and muscle strength for seniors. People as old as 90 years have turned their health around with strength training!
- For safety, practice only in the presence of a trained physiotherapist to avoid injury
- Eat plenty of proteins to boost muscle
- Try water-based activities like swimming or aqua jogging to build muscle without straining joints further
About 65-80% of cartilage is water. When your body is not sufficiently hydrated, it may absorb water from cartilage, thereby wearing it down. Drinking enough fluids keep your joints hydrated and nimble.
- Aim for at least 2 litres of water every day
- Reduce dehydrating drinks like caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks
- Include fluid-heavy food in your diet, like fruits and soups to supplement your water intake
If you are a smoker, your joints will be susceptible to inflammation. For people suffering from arthritis, smoking can make pains worse. Quitting smoking has a range of other benefits.
- Get a nicotine replacement like patch or gum
- Distract yourself with hobbies or physical activity
- Seek out support if needed.
Healthy and flexible joint movement can contribute a great deal to healthy living. When your movement is not restricted, you can enjoy more freedom and diminish the associated mental stress as well. While reversing joint damage is not possible, early action can definitely prevent it. Alserv provides on-demand physiotherapist services and other Home Care Services in Chennai that seniors can avail for safe check-ups and joint improvement from the comfort of their own home!