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Live Boldly After 50: How to Overcome Arthritis Pain and Stay Moving

The “golden years” represent a time of life that should be filled with new adventures, experiences, and the freedom to enjoy the activities you love. But for many, stiff joints and arthritic pain get in the way of living life to the fullest beyond age 50. Maybe your goal is to travel the world, dedicate more time to your tennis game, or simply keep up with your grandkids. Whatever your movement goals, join us as we cover comprehensive strategies to manage arthritic pain effectively, age gracefully, and embrace the active lifestyle you deserve well into retirement.

Arthritis Unveiled

Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting millions of Americans each day. It occurs when the cartilage, aka the cushion between our bones, wears down over time causing local pain and inflammation at the site of breakdown. It can affect any joint of the body but is most commonly seen in the hips, knees, spine, and small joints of the hands.

While there are many modifiable factors impacting our joint health, one thing we can’t modify is the amount of time spent on our joints. Practically, this means that a 60-year-old will inevitably have less cartilage than a 20-year-old making the aging population more susceptible to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that comes with osteoarthritis.

A Holistic Approach to Arthritis Management

While there is no surefire way to cure osteoarthritis, there are a number of well-studied strategies to manage arthritic pain and prevent it from getting worse.

Move it to improve it

Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the most effective ways to manage your joint pain is to stay active. In the case of arthritis, appropriately executed movement really is medicine, and staying in motion is how you help prevent erosion.

Joint-friendly fuel

Much like all well-rounded fitness routines, in addition to exercise, maintaining proper nutrition is a key component of arthritis symptom management. By eating foods rich in antioxidants and low in processed sugars, you can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the joints. Additionally, eating a well-balanced diet can help with weight management putting less stress on the joints over time and slowing the progression of the disease.

Sleep well, move well

Next tip: put the lights out to get the pain out. Studies show that sleep plays a crucial role in managing osteoarthritis symptoms and overall joint health. Adequate, high-quality sleep is essential for tissue repair and recovery and contributes to reduced inflammation and better pain management. Practicing good sleep practices including establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, and incorporating relaxation techniques can all improve sleep quality and ultimately improve the pain experience of osteoarthritis

Hydrate for Health

Like most systems in our body, hydration is a final important component for proper joint functioning. In addition to supporting the delivery of nutrients to the joint cartilage, ample hydration helps lubricate and cushion the joints through support of the synovial fluid. Combined with regular exercise and a well-rounded diet, proper hydration can help minimize joint pain and stiffness and reduce overall friction levels at the arthritic sites.

Soft tissue tightness Around the joint.

Soft tissue tightness or degenerative tissue around the joint can stiffen the joints and make them feel arthritic.  We can do things such as soft tissue work or shockwave to release the tightness and increase blood flow to the degenerative tissue to get the joints to feel better. Then work on strengthening so the muscles can better support the joint.

Active life, healthy joints

Keeping active after 50 may not always feel easy but making exercise a priority in your daily habits can have extraordinary health benefits including:

  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Increased energy
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Enhanced strength around arthritic joints
  • Weight management
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced fall risk
  • Improved quality of life

With so many different opportunities to stay active, striking a balance between activities you enjoy and joint-friendly workouts will help you stay motivated, safe, and effective in your post-50 exercise routine. In general, low-impact exercises are considered best for those with arthritis as they promote circulation, mobility, and strength while controlling the force load traveling through the joints.

Activities like walking, swimming, and cycling are great options to improve cardiovascular health while strength training and Pilates can build muscle around the joints providing better support and stability. Rounding out your routine with regular mobility work will help lubricate the joints, improve the nutrition within the joint cartilage, and keep you moving and feeling your best.

Launching into your arthritis exercise routine

Breaking ground on an exercise routine is always the most challenging part but the positive impacts it can have on your longevity and overall wellness are well worth the hurdles. Working with a physical therapist, like one of our expert professionals here at mPower PT, is a great way to ease in and monitor your body’s response effectively. With a deep understanding of the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis and effective solutions to manage it, we will guide you through a full body assessment, discuss suitable exercise routines, and educate you on the lifestyle adjustments you need to support joint health.

Start feeling better now

Healthy aging is possible with the right support and the right strategy. Don’t let stiff, sore joints hold you back from living your best life. Get moving, embrace a comprehensive approach, and find your relief today.