Ageing is an undeniable truth which is not under one’s control. As one age, the effect is seen on the body in the form of wrinkles, grey hair, and several changes to bones, muscles and joints. Though greying of hair and wrinkles are inevitable the latter – changes to bones, muscles and joints can be easily minimized or avoided provided one age healthily. Healthy ageing implies a condition where the age of the person does not negatively harm the bones, muscles and joints.
With increasing age, a person tends to lose effective bone mass, bone density and tends to experience weakness or pain in joints and muscles, which ultimately hamper free movement. In severe cases, this can even impact normal functioning such as sitting, walking, lying down, etc. The impact of ageing on joints and bones can easily be avoided since these are a result of multiple factors associated with inactivity and sedentary lifestyle. Also, cartilage the binding force of joints and bones, the smooth tissue cushioning the joints and the natural shock absorbers – tend to deteriorate with age, which causes soreness or aching. Though the pain and discomfort can be minimized provided one aims for healthy ageing.
Here are some tips on how to preserve joints and bones while ageing:
Maintain adequate nutrient levels: One of the most essential things to take care while ageing is the nutritional quotient of the body, especially the food for joints and bones – Calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is critical for building bone tissue, while Vitamin D is essentially required to enable absorption of Calcium from food and other sources. These two combined form the foundations of a healthy bone and joint structure. Thus, while you advance into further years, you must maintain your adequate levels of Calcium and Vitamin D in the body. As per The Institute of Medicine, adults should consume calcium up to 1,000 mg in a day, while women in menopausal phase and the men above 70 years of age – should have 1,200 mg/day. You can choose to get your doses from the rich diet such as milk, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, etc. or can also take supplements, as recommended by the doctor. Moreover, adequate exposure to sunlight also provides the necessary Vitamin D to the body.
Adopt a healthy diet: Apart from consuming these two essential nutrients, it is also important that you indulge in healthy eating as you age. Your food should be sufficiently full of nutrients, proteins, required fat, and other essential requirements to maintain healthy bones and joints. Nuts, beans, whole-grain foods, green vegetables, fruits, etc. qualify for a healthy diet since they are naturally rich in nutrients required to maintain good bone health. Moreover, it is essential to avoid things such as:
- Processed foods
- Carbonated beverages
Maintain a healthy weight: The joints of a human body are made to only sustain a certain amount of weight or force, which when exceeded can cause a lot of issues with joints and bones. So, if you are overweight, obese or even if you are underweight, you joints are most likely more stressed than they can be and hence, you must take adequate measures – lose or gain weight depending on the problem. Healthy joints are directly linked to maintaining a healthy weight overall – not under not over. As per facts, every 10 pounds of overweight puts an additional 20 to 39 pounds of weight on each knee. On the other hand, being underweight affects the muscle bulk which is required to keep the joints healthy and strong. Hence, it is critical to maintaining a healthy weight by diet or exercise to keep the joints and bones fit with age.
Engage in physical activity: The importance of the physical activity of any kind – bicycling, running, walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, etc. – cannot be stressed upon enough. One must engage in a balanced and healthy physical activity to ensure the joints and bones are smoothly functioning even when you age. Exercising helps prevent age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints, and also has the power to reverse any already occurred impact. Research depicts, consistent and balanced exercising helps make bones stronger while slowing the rate of bone loss and bone mineral density reduction. Moreover, it promotes muscle mass, bone mass and strength building. Stretching also helps improve flexibility. Additionally, regular exercising also helps improve the odds of maintaining a healthy weight. Though it is essential to not overdo it and always seek professional help while starting any form of exercise.
Other lifestyle changes: Apart from these changes, a person should also make certain critical lifestyle adjustments to ensure bone and joint health. Some of these lifestyle amendments include:
- Quitting smoking and tobacco since it can cause osteoporosis
- Limiting alcohol intake because excessive alcohol increases the risk of bone loss
- Promote better balance to avoid falls
- Eliminating sedentary lifestyle
- Reducing stress
Overall, it is possible to slow down, minimize, as well as in the best scenario also eliminate the impact of ageing on the joints and bones – by following these simple measures. Additionally, it is important to get frequent health check-ups done, which should include bone density tests, muscle mass index, etc. These tests provide a clear picture of the bone and joint health, to which improvements can be made.