Aging Joints

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January 23, 2013

Mind Body Exercise

Its hard to figure out what to do for aging joints.  There’s the thinking that the joint should be taken care of specifically itself.  This is sometimes true.  There’s another way of thinking, too, which is to get all of yourself in gear and active and the problem joints need to come along as a part of the team.

What to avoid for your joints

Granted, if your knees have had it, pounding hard bump skiing might not be the trick.  If you have arthritic toes that don’t bend much, x-c skiing with a boot that bends at the ball of the foot will put a lot of focused stress on those joints.  If your shoulders are easily aggravated, you’ve got to watch how you throw your dog a ball. These joints can all give arthritis pain as they age.  Spine and neck joint pain may be quite different because of the possibility of large nerves being part of the pain picture.

If you have a sport or activity that you really like to do and its acceptable for your problem areas, its okay to be active even if your joints hurt somewhat later.  You have to balance how much hurt you’re having along with what you know about the state of your joints. You want what you do for fun and exercise to really give that recharge you seek.  Your mind will be more at ease if you are less worried about damaging yourself.  You need to hone your self assessing skills and respect the aging changes you feel in your body.

Engage the good joints

My toes are arthritic and don’t put up with very much bending.  The rest of my legs are pretty good though.  I can compensate for the bad toes by doing sports that don’t require them to bend plus push off.  Ice skating and downhill skiing permit vigorous leg exercise without much toe motion.

If you have painful knees, swimming with flippers can give you a big work out without much knee bending.  If you have a painful shoulder, a sidearm throw may work a lot better than an overhand.  Keep in mind how much movement and load you ask from your aging joints and you may be able to keep active with less pain.

My dog Boo-Boo came with that name.  He was a hurricane Katrrina rescue dog that found his way here to Colorado from New Orleans. The scars on his stomach  might have been how he got his name.  Now Boo limps, likely from a knee injury a few years back. It’s not all the time but it happens.  Does that keep him from wanting to run miles?  Heck no.  My toes hurt but they can put up with ice skating because they can work hard but not have to bend.  Boo runs along and we’ve had a fantastic January of skating my local lake.

If you can, get outside to exercise.  There’s so much more to see in the natural world.

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