Senior Fitness: Exercises for the Hips
A guest post by Elizabeth Carrollton
During the golden years, keeping fit and active means taking care of hip health. Hip problems are a big risk after age 65. In fact, hip trouble is one of the most common causes of disability in people of this age group. Weak muscles and bones are often factors in common hip problems and is frequently due to a lack of regular, weight-bearing exercise. So turn off the TV and get busy, because when it comes to hip health, that old saying, ?use it or lose it? is absolutely true.
Why is Hip Health So Important?
Taking care to maintain hip health can help you avoid common problems that can occur with aging. Weak hip muscles don't provide proper support, which can cause poor alignment and instability in the hip joint, resulting in reduced joint function, joint pain and excess wear that can lead to arthritis, which affects one of every four seniors in the U.S. Weak hip muscles can also lead to poor balance, causing you to join the one of every three seniors that takes at least one fall every year. Weak bones break easily and are a factor in many of the 250,000 hip fractures that happen annually.
Hip replacements are done in more than 400,000 people each year, many of them due to arthritis and hip fractures. While they can resolve pain and disability due to serious hip problems, hip replacement procedures do not come without risk. Recovery can be long and difficult, taking anywhere from a few months to a year or more in some cases, so prevention is definitely the better way to go.
Also, hip replacement implants have been problematic for many people lately, with several faulty models recalled due to high rates of failure and complications, including the popular DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Implanted in thousands of patients, these devices can cause metallosis, a serious condition related to metallic implant debris. In these cases, that debris collects in the soft tissues of the hip, causing severe hip pain and inflammation and often leading to tissue death, bone loss and implant loosening or failure. Several hip replacement lawsuits have been filed due to this.
How Does Exercise Help?
Muscle mass and bone loss are common, age-related issues that make joint damage and injuries more likely in seniors. However, regular exercise can slow those processes, keeping muscles and bones strong and healthy. Exercise keeps muscles strong and flexible for good joint support, as well as spurring increased bone cell production to maintain bone strength and density, reducing risk of joint injuries, hip fractures, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Just 30 minutes of moderate weight-bearing exercise daily, like walking, bicycling, swimming or dancing is enough to maintain bone and muscle strength. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are very good for hip health as well, enhancing both strength and flexibility. Incorporating low-intensity weight training or resistance exercise into your fitness routine two or three times a week can also be beneficial. Whether it's a walk through the neighborhood or a regular workout at the local gym, staying active is the key to preventing common and often disabling hip problems.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.