The Elixir of Youth

Now don’t get me wrong here- I’m certainly not claiming that I’ve found the magic solution to stop ageing. I am here to discuss the next best thing: Exercise.

Exercise and Arthritis

Arthritis happens to all of us- it is a natural part of ageing just like our hair turning grey. The most effective way to manage osteoarthritis is a multidimensional approach involving strengthening of the muscle around the joint, weight management (and management of other co-morbidities) as well as keeping your nervous system healthy. Each of these management strategies can be addressed with appropriate exercise.

Exercise and inflammation

Exercise is one of the most effective non-surgical and non-pharmacological treatments for certain inflammatory conditions. Interleukin (IL)-6 is the most marked anti-inflammatory chemical within the body that is release after physical exercise. Moderate intensity (as opposed to low or high intensity) exercises, 30-60 minutes duration and large muscle group utilization optimises IL-6 production.

Exercise and bone density

Particularly in post-menopausal females, the rate of bone resorption (and hence decreased bone density) accelerates. One of the best ways to combat the decline of bone density is to do weight bearing (eg. Walking) and strengthening exercises. The stimulus this places on the bones makes assists with maintaining bone density which is crucial for reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures. 

Exercise and Decreasing Falls Risk

Unfortunately falls quite often result in fractures of wrists, shoulders and hips. A fracture in the elderly is often linked with a rapid decline in their function as well as decreased confidence in being active and social. Exercise (in particular balance, function based and strengthening exercises) can decrease the risk of falls by working to improve balance and maintain function.

Exercise and General Health

Exercise helps with the management of weight, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and mental health. Whilst diet and other lifestyle factors also affect these, keeping physically active can make it easier to manage many of these diseases which can have a dramatic impact on your health and ageing.

Exercise and Posture

“I don’t want to have a hunchback spine like my grandmother did” is often told to us in the clinic. Whilst there are a couple of conditions which predispose people to having a large curve in their upper back, it can often be linked to a change in strength and decreased activity levels as people age. With many of our jobs these days also being desk bound sitting in front of a computer, it is even more important that people continue to work on their back flexibility and strength to try and maintain optimal upper back and neck posture.

As you can see there are many reasons for keeping physically active as you age. Even if you’ve never been much of an exercise person, it’s never too late to take up a balance, strength and flexibility program to slow down some of these common side-effects of ageing.

Give us a call and we can get the right prescription for you.