From Weak Knees to Power Walks: Stronger Joints for Seniors
Posted on September 22, 2016
in Senior Safety & Independence
your knees been feeling stiff or even burning lately? Or maybe it’s more of a
struggle to lift your legs than usual. It doesn’t make sense; this isn’t
supposed to happen. But this discomfort continues and soon transforms into
actual pain. You’re almost limping through the daily walks that brought you so
much joy. If this sounds familiar, you probably have weak knees and hips.
doesn’t mean you’re losing your mobility. As you reach the golden age of
seniors, your bone density and muscle strength decreases. With the lack of
support, there’s a higher risk for falling and causing a fracture. If the
injury is left unattended, you can get arthritis. But weak joints don’t have to
be the stamp of old age. You can still maintain a healthy body to enjoy the
simple pleasures of life. Here are the top three ways to build stronger knees
CLEAN YOUR PLATE
Diet may seem like a
strange starting point to fix weak knees and hips, but it’s an important first
step. Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation in the body, thus weakening
your joints. To avoid this, you should limit intake on foods such as sugar,
alcohol, and processed meats. Instead, replace them with foods rich in calcium
and vitamin D that slow down bone density loss. Take this opportunity to
relieve joint pain through nutritious recipes with milk, yogurt, spinach, and
sweet potatoes (like our Spinach and Feta Frittata recipe).
supplements to your diet can also improve your joints, but proceed
with caution. They claim to specialize in joint improvement, but these vitamins
may only work short-term or have dangerous side effects. Always consult with
your physician before incorporating health supplements into your
diet. Even then, supplements aren’t as effective as nutritious foods. Treat your supplements as the sidekick to
saving weak knees and hips, not the hero. Diet still reigns supreme for a
MOVE YOUR BODY
Staying active is
another way to strengthen your joints. A sedentary lifestyle – especially as a
senior—can weaken your knees and hips due to the lack of activity. Daily
exercise is an ideal way to upgrade your health beyond your knees and hips.
With fitness, you get the extra benefit of weight loss to relieve joint pain.
On your body, each pound exerts five pounds of force on your body. The less you
weigh, the gentler it is on your hips and knees.
get started, try exploring low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and
Pilates. These workouts are gentle enough to get you fit without stressing your
joints. You can even take this time to play with your grandchildren at the park.
Avoid high-impact workouts (CrossFit, basketball, kickboxing, etc.), as
they have a higher risk for injuries. If you want to work out at home,
YouTube is a fantastic tool. There are several YouTube exercise tutorials
specifically for strengthening
knees and hips. Start slow; with time and discipline, these workouts can erase
joint pain. Whether you’re on an outdoor adventure or inside your living room,
dedicating time to move around will lead to a stronger body.
TAKE IT EASY
exercise is important for strength, you should also know when to take it easy.
You may have to make small changes in your life for your overall health. After
a workout, stretch to prevent injury and decrease soreness in your joints. Your
hips may be in a delicate state, so try not to over-rotate them during both
exercises and stretches. Stretches should relieve the body, not torment.
If you use the stairs at work, give yourself a break and use an available
elevator half the week. Stairs make a great daily workout, but climbing too
many flights can stress your knees. Overworking the body will do more harm than
good, so allow yourself to relax.
also means wearing the right footwear. Switch out your high heels, which adds
more stress to your knees, for flat shoes. Look for shoes with neutral
cushioning, which provide more stability and support for walking. If your knees
still hurt from standing up, don't be afraid to consider aids like a knee
strap or cane. They provide extra alignment and stability while you practice
regaining your strength.
YOU'RE STILL STRONG
Bad joints aren’t the end of the world. You may
not be a teenager, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for discomfort. Similarly,
you shouldn’t feel ashamed for having weak knees and hips. Remind yourself that
you did nothing wrong; this is a small setback to the best years of your life. Think
of this opportunity as a reminder to focus and care for your body first. It
takes time to strengthen your joints, but the right steps can take away
stress from both your body and mind.
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