How to Reduce the Impact of Stiffer Joints, Less Stamina and Weaker Muscles as You Age

A woman ageing gracefullyIn 2006 I slipped a disc in my back – not nice.

As part of my recovery I went for some sessions at a sports injury clinic and learnt some core strengthening exercises – exercises that strengthen the internal muscles that lie near your bones and joints.

Strengthening those muscles, I learnt, would give better support to my spinal cord and so reduce the risk of me slipping another disc.

Since then I’ve done those exercises every day (the memory of the pain and immobility I suffered is still quite fresh in my mind!).

There are a few things I’ve noticed as a result:

  1. My posture became and has remained much better (I stand straighter and my back is not so hollow)
  2. I walk with longer, more even strides and cover the ground more quickly
  3. The back pain that I used to regularly suffer if I stood around for any length of time is a thing of the past

One of the things that experience has taught me is the importance of movement and exercise in maintaining my enjoyment of life.

Without wanting to sound like a braggart, I regularly find that I’m able to out-walk, out-hike and out-last people who are 10 or more years younger than me – they all assume that I’m the same age as them..!

What I see, though, is that many people do less and less exercise as they age and, perversely, that contributes to the ageing process: joints become stiffer, stamina drops away and muscles become weaker.

It’s easy to put the blame for not exercising on busy lifestyles or the pressures of work, but even taking a walk two or three times a week is better than nothing. A lot better.

From my own experience, I would say establish a routine or (as I do because, sometimes, routines are broken by outside events!) establish an exercise target each week: go to the gym 3 times, walk for 3 hours, or whatever works for you.

But establish a target and work your way towards it whenever you have the chance.

The benefits come not just in better physical fitness, but in better emotional fitness too, and the feel-good factor of knowing you’re in better shape than probably most of your contemporaries.


Martin Malden
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