Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is the result of cartilage wearing down. This fibrous tissue that lies between joints acts as a shock absorber. It is estimated that almost 35 percent, or 12.4 million people, over the age of 64 have this sometimes debilitating disease.
Several factors can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, though often it is simply the result of continued use that comes with age. Other factors that can contribute to it include misalignment of the joints, injuries and excess weight. According to Harvard Health Publications, “When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1 ½ times your body weight…it is two to three times your body weight when you go up or down stairs.”
One of the best treatments for osteoarthritis is exercise. An increased muscle tone helps support the joints, it offers an increase in flexibility and, along with a whole-foods diet, can reduce excess weight and improve overall mood with the feel-good neurotransmitters that are released. The challenge, of course, is who wants to exercise when they are in pain.
To address this issue, it is best to start slow and build up. As your body becomes stronger and you lose weight and feel an overall improvement, you will be motivated to do more. Start with exercise that takes the weight off of the joints. This can be accomplished in water aerobics, water therapy or swimming. Studies show that up to 50 percent of someone’s body weight is supported in waist-deep water and another 90 percent in water up to the neck.
Water therapy consists of typical exercises that you would find in a traditional exercise class. It usually includes stretching, strengthening, aerobics and even Ai Chi, a form of Tai Chi that is conducted in water. The fluid movements associated with this exercise have been shown to increase strength as well as promote balance and calm the mind.
Senior Care Provider
If you’re having difficulties performing the everyday activities of life, a senior care provider can help. They can assist in the daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and light housekeeping. They can also provide transportation, run errands such as grocery shopping, and accompany you on daily walks. They can support you in a multitude of ways from simple companionship to shared meals and social outings.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Scottsdale, AZ, contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands Home Care at (480) 725-7002.
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