Exercise getting more difficult as you age? Check out these tips.
As you age, so do your joints, which can make certain movements more difficult or even painful. But getting older doesn’t have to mean giving up the activities and forms of exercise you enjoy.
My goal as an orthopedic surgeon with a background in sports medicine is to help people who are unhappy with how a part of their body or joint is functioning to reach a position where they’re able to do the things they love.
Over time, the cartilage that cushions our joints breaks down. This can lead to arthritis in the joints, which is inflammation caused by bones rubbing together. This doesn’t happen overnight but rather over the years. This explains why you may slowly start noticing your body isn’t performing at the level it once did.
It can be difficult to come to terms with your body changing with age, but remember that exercise is not only for the young. Here are a few tips to help keep you moving:
- Stretch: Many people don’t realize it’s important to stretch both before and after exercise. With age, tendons and ligaments lose elasticity, but stretching helps keep your joints flexible.
- Modify your activity: Oftentimes, you don’t need to stop doing what you love. Instead, consider making a few changes to your activity. If you like to run, try slowing your pace or altering your route. Enjoy tennis? Shorten the length of time you play or consider playing doubles. Lowering the intensity of your workout or activity will likely mean you can continue doing it.
- Try something new: Explore the world of low-impact exercises. Things like swimming, yoga, cycling and walking are easier on your joints and can even be very relaxing.
It’s important to stay active as you age in a way that works for you. If you’re experiencing pain that is a part of your everyday life, notify your primary care doctor, who can refer you to a specialist.
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About the Author
Dr. Adnan Zaidi is an orthopedic surgeon at Aurora Medical Center – Washington County.