Active ageing checklist for the over 55s
With poor-posture cited by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) as one of the main causes of back and neck pain in the over 55’s, it’s time to get moving if you want to offset the effects of ageing.
Often called ‘senior stoop’, the poor posture associated with spending too much time in a sedentary position (watching TV, or simply seated) is causing unnecessary wear-and-tear on the spine & having a negative impact on back health for a vast proportion of over 55s. As well as struggling with daily pain, people over 55 also suffer degeneration and can require surgery.
It’s a physical issue patients at Life Chiropractic are frequently presenting. “Between the ages of 50 and 70 we loose about 30% of our muscle strength, balance reaction times become slower and so do reflexes”, says Life Chiropractic Practitioner Tom Pooley. “It’s also true that the body heals differently. This can cause many people to slow down in retirement, but, in fact the more active my patients are, the more effectively they offset the effects of ageing. Neck and back pain, muscle strain, pinched nerves and herniated disks are not an inevitable part of getting older.”
We can’t stop the ageing process, but the good news is that we can counteract many of the effects with a few gentle tweaks to lifestyle and regular visits to a professional chiropractor.
Active Ageing Checklist: I’ll do it today!
- Relax and roll your shoulders. Aim for 10 rolls forwards, and 10 rolls back, every few hours.
- Sit up straight to avoid developing a stooped posture. Use your core!
- Find a local strength & balance class. T’ai Chi is great!
- Exercise for 30 minutes. Then make sure I do this 5 times a week. Housework and walking the dog counts, but also consider more vigorous activities like cycling, power walking, water areobics and Zumba.
- Go shopping! Buy some flat, flexible & supportive footwear and then practice walking heel to toe. Pushing off from the toe allows your foot to act as a shock absorber, propelling you forwards and preventing damage.
- Top up on vitamin D. Enjoy the sunshine in the name of good bone health. Or, if the wonderfully unpredictable British weather prevents this invest in a good quality vitamin D supplement instead.
- Drink 1.5 litres of water. The body works better when well hydrated. Your muscles and joints will work more efficiently and for longer.
- Book an appointment with a professional chiropractor for advice and hands-on treatment. This will help combat spinal misalignment or dysfunction.
Focus on falls. Take a balanced approach
We rely on balance to stay upright, but as we age our balance reaction times get slower and so do our reflexes. This can cause problems, especially when trying to do something quickly, like stopping a toddling grandchild from making a cheeky escape.
But falls do not have to be an inevitable part of ageing. Most can be prevented by staying active and improving strength and posture.
“Experiencing pain, stiffness, difficulty walking or climbing stairs or generally feeling a bit less stable on your feet can all be the result of poor posture and joint dysfunction”, says Tom. “And, aside from the physical implications, this can have an incredibly negative emotional impact too, crushing confidence. At Life Chiropractic we’re experienced at helping patients who are beginning to notice the first effects of ageing by using specialist hands on chiropractic techniques, alongside posture correction and lifestyle education.”
Make chiropractic care part of your healthy lifestyle.
Call today to arrange an appointment or visit our website to book online.
- Read more about how to stay steady and improve balance in this helpful guide from Saga.
- Would you like to try some low impact exercises at home? This NHS guide is a great place to start.
- Diane Moran, the original green goddess, offers more easy exercises to help you strengthen your arms and maintain physical independence.
- Looking to try a different way to keep fit, but don’t know your Gyrotonic from your Tai Chi? This guide takes you through some of the most popular exercise classes.
- Research carried out in 2012 by the British Chiropractic Association shows that 48% of people in the UK are currently suffering from back or neck pain, with 73% believing that they are less active than they were 20 years ago. Discover more here.