Muscle, Bone and Joint Health for Seniors
Seniors here love to stay active, which means that maintaining bone, muscle and joint strength is vitally important. Otherwise, older individuals can be kept from enjoying life to its fullest due to the increased likelihood of injury, fatigue and complications that arise from a lack of fitness. What’s more, broken bones heal more slowly as people age, and when muscles and joints get stiff and weak, periods of inactivity increase, leading to a vicious cycle that negatively affects the whole body! For seniors, keeping bones and muscles in good shape is essential for excellent overall wellness. This year, Bone and Joint Health Action Week happens from October 12-20, making it a great time to remind yourself – and your senior loved one – about some of the best ways to improve bone, joint and muscle health.
Calcium and vitamin D intake: Keeping bones healthy and strong is a lot easier when calcium is routinely included in one’s diet. Remember that when calcium is paired with vitamin D, it is absorbed into the body much more efficiently. Look for foods that have both calcium and vitamin D, such as milk. You can also encourage your loved one to spend healthy amounts of time in the sun, which can boost vitamin D levels.
Physical fitness: Exercise is one of the most important ways to make sure you keep your muscles, bones and joints strong. For seniors, it is important to exercise regularly, but to also ensure that workouts are not so intense that they increase the likelihood of injury or other setbacks. Encourage your loved one to engage in a variety of activities, switching between strength and cardio exercises. You can also help them select activities and exercises that are gentler on the joints, such as yoga, swimming or biking. Yoga is particularly helpful when it comes to enhancing balance and coordination.
Eating right: The proper diet is essential to overall fitness, so make sure your senior loved one is eating a well-balanced diet. Try to avoid food items that are processed or rely too much on sugar, salt, carbs and fat for their caloric content. Instead, focus your senior loved one’s diet on whole foods like vegetables, fresh fruit, lean meats and whole grains.
Safe mobility exercises: Sometimes, it is the simplest activities that lead to the most painful injuries. If your senior loved one prefers to remain at home living an independent life, it’s important that you ensure they’re engaging in safe movements, like bending over to lift properly and making sure they don’t strain themselves when tidying up the home. You should also consider different furniture if the existing pieces make it difficult for your loved one to sit down and get back up easily.
Learn about bone density: Getting tested for bone density can help your loved one and their doctor understand areas of weakness and-or detect the presence of osteoporosis. Learning about the state of the bones can help protect against breaks and other injuries.
An active lifestyle: The key to keeping bones, muscles and joints strong is keeping them active. When the body is weak and immobile, it might seem counterintuitive to prescribe more movement, but staying active is actually the best possible way to strengthen the body. Work with your loved one and their doctor to gently get the body back into shape, and you’ll definitely notice increases in coordination, energy, balance, flexibility and more!
Paying attention to bone and joint health is crucial for older individuals. If you are concerned about the physical health of an aging loved one, you should consider the benefits of in-home care in Richmond VA. A well-trained and compassionate caregiver can assist and support with tasks around the home, ensuring an active lifestyle, a healthy diet and much more. If your loved one has chosen to age in place, an in-home caregiver can give you peace of mind and a wonderful level of support.