The Facts And Tips You Need For Maintaining Strong Bones And Supple Joints As You Age
Remember when older people said, “it’s my rheumatism” when their bones and joints hurt? Pegasus caregivers in Hidden Hills and elsewhere know that pain isn’t inevitable as the years accumulate. They offer the following facts and tips for maintaining strong bones and supple joints as you age.
Your bones and joints are part of your musculoskeletal system. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves comprise the remainder of the system. More than a hundred conditions cause musculoskeletal pain.
Bone pain for most individuals falls between mild and severe. It’s typically characterized as sharp or stabbing. It feels “deep” to many people.
Joint pain feels more like an ache for many individuals. It may be accompanied by swelling or stiffness. For some, the pain occurs only when they move; for others, the pain endures even when they rest.
Aging Takes A Toll On Bone and Joint Health
Your bones are continually changing because they are live tissue. Old bone tissue is continually being replaced with new tissue. The total tissue is bone mass.
Bone mass is at its maximum strength and density by age 30. After that, the new growth of bone tissue is less than old tissue lost. As your bone mass decreases, your bones lose strength and can break easily.
The following increase your rate of bone mass loss:
- Anorexia or bulimia
- Certain medical conditions or medications
- Declining levels of hormones
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Insufficient calcium
- Lack of physical activity
- Very thin or have a slight frame
- White or Asian race
Because women have smaller skeletons than men, they have less bone mass. That puts them at higher risk for bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Joints, such as those in your hips, knees, and elbows, allow you to move. Your bones do not touch each other in a joint. The space between the bones contains:
- Cartilage – smooth tissue covering the end of bones
- Synovial fluid – lubricant
- Synovial membranes – inner lining of the joint and also produces the synovial fluid
As time passes, the cartilage thins. Less synovial fluid is produced. Surrounding ligaments may also shorten, all of which lead to stiff and painful movement.
Joint deterioration has many of the same causes as bone loss. In particular, diet, inactivity, and smoking all lead to loss of ability to move freely. Obesity is another culprit in joint inflexibility.
It’s a fact that your bones will lose strength and your joints will stiffen as you age. Other factors, such as gender, affecting your bone and joint health are beyond your control. But there are steps you can take to prevent the loss of strength and flexibility.
Exercise Benefits Bones And Joints
Find a physical activity or exercise that you can do regularly. If you are able, choose weight-bearing and resistance exercises. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, increases bone and joint health by overcoming the force of gravity.
Resistance exercises, such as lifting weights, also increase bone strength and joint flexibility. Pegasus physical therapists can personalize exercises to fit your health and abilities. Even gentle movements are helpful.
Other Factors Affecting The Health Of Your Bones And Joints
Your bones and joints rely on you to eat well. Aside from all the other benefits to your body, a well-balanced diet controls your weight. And keeping your weight down decreases the wear and tear on your joints.
You already know the drill: eat your fruits and veggies. Avoid fatty and processed foods, including meats. Eliminate sugary food and minimize your consumption of salt.
It’s essential to consume adequate amounts of calcium. If you don’t care for dairy products, choose broccoli, dark leafy greens, and fish like salmon.
You also need Vitamin D, the best source of which is sunshine. Your physician can test your levels of minerals and vitamins. They may recommend supplements if your levels are low.
It’s likely you already know the negative effects of smoking on your overall health. You may not realize how harmful it is to bone strength. Tobacco:
- Breaks down estrogen and keeps it from strengthening your skeleton
- Decreases your ability to absorb the calcium that’s essential for bone growth
- Increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and other joint diseases
- Makes osteoporosis worse
- Restricts the flow of blood to your bones and joints, leaving them inadequately nourished
- Slows or stops the growth of new bone tissue
Talk with your healthcare provider for smoking cessation recommendations.
The same goes for excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol disrupts the absorption of calcium and Vitamin D. It also hinders the growth of bone cells, so that you lose bone mass.
Some research indicates a benefit of moderate consumption of alcohol on bone health. For the most part, those studies have been debunked, but consult your physician for guidelines.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Hidden Hills and our other locations are dedicated to improving your quality of life. Our professionals can assist you in making healthy lifestyle choices that will maintain your bone strength and supple joints.