There are plenty of messages out there encouraging kids to eat well, drink well and exercise well, with the hope they will someday grow strong muscles and bones, along with learning lifelong habits for good health. But there’s sometimes less info targeted especially for seniors, who also need to keep these parts of their bodies strong as they age. At Accredited Home Care, we’re always happy to encourage our clients to look for opportunities to help their bones and joints perform better.
More and more fitness research points to the importance of physical activity to help overall health at any point in people’s lives. At the same time, a lack of regular exercise can be a big ingredient in a decline in health (poor sleep and poor nutrition also contribute). When added to natural wear and tear and the aging process, seniors can often face double the risk of developing serious health problems.
According to the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative, bone and joint conditions are the most common reason for long-term pain and physical disabilities worldwide. More than half the American population requires medical care for some sort of muscle or skeletal condition between 2009 and 2011.
As bone health decreases it can also increase the risk of falling, a leading cause of death for people over 65.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways Irvine-area residents can get back – or get – a focus on physical wellness, no matter their age. Even if it’s been a few years, or maybe even a few decades, since you were in better shape, there are simple ways to start small with light activity and start building up from there. There may not be marathons in your near future, but you can at least start working toward feeling better, having more energy and lowering your risk of debilitating joint or bone problems.
October health initiatives
If you’ve been seeking an opportunity to focus more on fitness, this is your month!
Oct. 12-20 is considered Bone and Joint Action Week, a global initiative designed to raise awareness of ways to reduce problems and diseases, ways to improve, current research and treatment and future opportunities to improve people’s lives.
Though the entire week has the same overreaching theme of telling people about possible joint and bone disorders and healthier options, individual days focus on smaller areas, such as arthritis, trauma, osteoporosis, and spine health in general.
People can also go online to the Bone and Joint Initiative site to get more info about each day and also watch educational videos about the different daily topics.
A related health concern that also is also being discussed this month is arthritis, an often painful disorder that affects joints.
There are several types, including osteoarthritis, where the joint’s surface cartilage wears away and breaks down and makes bones rub together; and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, where the body’s natural defenses attack the joint tissue.
Gout, another form, can be caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints, especially feet and toes.
Oct. 12 was World Arthritis Day, an opportunity to raise awareness and support those battling different types of arthritis. Even though the occasion has already passed, the need to help and support those with arthritis can continue all year long.
If you’re battling it yourself, or may be showing possible symptoms, it’s an opportunity to visit a provider to learn a little more or look into other arthritis resources in your community. Don’t know where to start? The Arthritis Foundation offers guides to specialists in every state, along with general information about what symptoms to look for, what medications can help, what diet/nutrition choices can help, and how to stay active to keep the disease from further impacting your health.
Planning your health options
Though it’s easy for already fit people to go out and tell everyone to go out and run more or even walk to improve their bones and joints, sometimes this may even be too aggressive for Irvine residents in poor physical shape. People with limited mobility or chronic pain from musculoskeletal issues or other past health conditions may not be able to walk across the room at first, let alone the block.
Home health caregivers can help each client figure out different options, including physical or occupational therapy. Even regular periods of stretching or a few scheduled walks around a room or home’s interior a certain number of times can be a good start to a healthy regimen.
A health care provider can also provide information about medication or natural remedies to help strengthen bones.
Strength and balance building exercises can also go a long to helping your health and reducing the risk of falling, something that can be devastating to everyone, especially seniors, who may take longer to recover or may need more assistance.
Though high-impact exercises like jogging or tennis might be too painful, low-impact exercises such as yoga or tai chi can be done by just about anyone, and in any location.
Accredited Home Care is happy to discuss options to help people find ways to stay fit, even with past joint or bone health conditions.