Tackle Knee and Hip Pain with These Exercises for Seniors
Oh … my aching … hips and knees. Half of all older adults report some kind of pain in these major joints. It’s common to lose strength and bone density in these major joints as we age, even if we’re active. And while rest is usually prescribed for hip and knee pain, the fact is balancing rest and movement with the right kinds of exercises for seniors will be more beneficial in the long run.
Finding Hip and Knee Pain Relief
The normal range of movement of a hip joint is aided by cartilage that forms a cushion between the hip bone and its socket. One of the body’s strongest joints, the hip can withstand a great deal of wear and tear, but cartilage does break down as we age. Being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle also contribute to knee and hip pain. Once we lose strength and flexibility in the muscles around the hip girdle, our susceptibility to pain, falls, and potentially fractures increases. A twinge of pain often progresses into sciatic nerve pain, leg pain and knee pain, which disrupt the ability to walk normally. It can become a cycle where pain restricts a person’s overall movement and keeps them sedentary, further exacerbating their hip pain.
Knee and Hip Pain Exercises
Have your doctor assess your health condition and joint disorders before starting a program of exercises for seniors. The exercises should include a combination of stretching and mobility, strength training and endurance exercises. They should also be safe and adaptable for any skill level. Even small gains from senior exercise will have a meaningful effect on a person’s quality of life, improving mobility, preventing falls, and providing some relief from chronic hip and knee pain. The following movements are often recommended as part of an overall program of exercises for seniors:
1. Yoga — Yoga can work wonders for tight hips and knees. The flow of movement is gentle yet will challenge coordination, balance and flexibility as it strengthens and stretches the muscles in the hips, legs and glutes. Yoga also has a cumulative effect on one’s mental well-being when done regularly. Chair yoga is a good starting point if standing yoga feels unstable.
2. Low-Impact Cardio — Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to reducing pressure on hip and knee joints. It’s estimated that for every 1-pound weight loss, there’s a 4-pound reduction in pressure with each walking step. Exercises for seniors that are low-impact yet burn calories — examples are walking on a treadmill or elliptical machine or cycling on a stationary or recumbent bike — will help keep off the pounds.
3. Swimming — Swimming is an ideal form of senior exercise that doesn’t put stress on one’s joints. It also allows a person to use their limbs through a full range of motion while supported in the water. Swimming in a heated pool has the additional benefit of soothing aching joints.
You’ll find the perfect balance of relaxation and activity at Cypress Village. Our community is nestled on 120 acres of woods, walking paths and lakeshore trails. You’ll even find a koi pond and meditation garden for reflection and contemplation. Our activity classes include aquatic fitness in our indoor heated pool, yoga, and other group exercises for seniors. Contact us to ask about our state-of-the-art fitness center where we can offer professional, one-on-one exercises for knee pain or hip pain.