PAGE 8 ■ SENIOR LIFE
THE HERALD ■ FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2019
Yoga has been shown to improve chronic lower back pain and fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine, as well as improve your mood and well-being.
Understanding, dealing with age-related pains By KRISTEN CASTILLO Creators.com Aging can bring some aches and pains, such as arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all people over age 65 have reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. What happens as we get older? The Mayo Clinic reports that as we age, our bones shrink in size and density, making them weaker and more susceptible to breaking. Plus, our muscles lose strength, flexibility and endurance, all of which can impact our balance, coordination and stability. To promote good bone, joint and muscle health, the clinic suggests adults get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Women over age 51 and men over age 71 should take 1,200 milligrams daily. Get vitamin D, too. Adults up to age 70 need 600 IU a day, while those over 70 should get 800 IU. The Mayo Clinic also recommends weight-bearing exercises,
such as walking, climbing stairs, jogging and playing tennis to help keep bones strong and slow bone loss. Move it While age-related pain varies from person to person, it’s not necessarily a doom and gloom situation. “The expectation that pain comes with aging is an unfortunate one and can lead to helplessness that there isn’t anything that can be done,” says physical therapist Devra Sheldon. “This couldn’t be further from the truth. Aging does not equal pain.” Sheldon, who specializes in helping patients manage pain through movement, encourages those with general aches and pains to find the movements and exercises they like. “If you’re not into a particular type of exercise, then that’s not the one for you,” she says. She teaches patients to look for “movement opportunities.” For example, when getting up from a chair or couch, perform five sit-
to-stands. When standing at the bathroom sink, do 10 heel raises. Wear and tear “As we age, we suffer from years of wear and tear in our joints,” says certified personal trainer and nutritionist Adnan Munye, noting that people over 50 can be affected by arthritic pain, a lack of mobility, muscle imbalances and impact injuries from falls. He recommends exercising daily, with a focus on being gentle. Swimming and Pilates, for example, are great ways to stay active without straining joints. “Some movement every day helps to keep circulation in good order,” says Munye. “It keeps synovial fluid production in the joints high, helping arthritis, and improves cardiovascular health.” He also advises using a sauna two to three times a week, which can reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Yoga According to Harvard Health Publishing, studies show yoga can
help people with chronic low back pain, as well as those with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine and other conditions. Plus, yoga can improve a person’s mood and psychosocial well-being. “A regular yoga practice can also improve core strength and balance to prevent against falls and injuries and has been shown to improve respiratory function and circulation,” says yoga instructor Leslie Conner, noting the exercise can strengthen muscles and increase stability in joints. Yoga is highly adaptive, too, so it’s a fit for people of all ages and physical abilities. Patients with multiple sclerosis, for example, can practice yoga from a chair instead of a mat on the floor. Lifting weights Pick up those dumbbells. If the idea of weightlifting to reduce pain seems counterintuitive, think again. Nick Rizzo, director of training and fitness at RunRepeat, did
a meta-analysis of over 126 scientifically peer-reviewed studies on the benefits of weight training and strength training for seniors. He found that studies on agerelated pain have shown weightlifting improves overall quality of life by easing general aches and pains, as well as disorder-specific ones. He says weightlifting is also good for your brain, helping improve your memory. Tips for managing pain ■■ Aching feet and legs? Wear medical compression stockings or socks to help ease swelling, improve circulation and prevent blood clots. ■■ Sooth body aches by soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts. ■■ Ease joint pain by applying heat to joints when they’re stiff and icing them when they’re swollen. ■■ As always, consult your doctor before trying new therapies and if a new injury or pain develops.
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