Do you notice that sometimes as people get older, they shuffle their feet when they walk? Many times this is due to fear of tripping and falling so they don’t pick up their feet. In actuality, they increase their chance of tripping by NOT picking up their feet. Sometimes, they have had hip or knee surgery and have not fully recovered from their surgery. After a surgery like that, it is very important that they work with a health practitioner to regain full or as close to full as possible range of motion in their hips and knees.
For the people who have not had knee or hip injuries, it is of vital importance that you continue to use your hip and knee joints to their full capacity. Muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade after age 50 and 30 percent per decade after age 70. Elderly who are out of condition and sedentary, should be encouraged to improve their functional ability with strength and balance training before beginning aerobic exercise.
Working out in a gym or at home doing exercises to strengthen the legs and increase flexibility is a great way to keep your legs in tip top shape. Other simple ways to keep your legs strong are climbing stairs or repeatedly rising from a chair. You can purchase exercise bands from many department stores or pharmacies. They are a great way to get those muscles into shape and keep them there. Many community centers are now offering yoga classes for the elderly. This is yet another great way for someone to work on their balance, strength and flexibility. Make sure before starting any exercise routine to check with your physician.
Massage is also beneficial in keeping your legs healthy as you get older. There are therapist out there that specialize in massaging the elderly. This modality is known as geriatric massage. It helps with the circulation and flexibility that keeps those legs and the whole body happy.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has a great article on the elderly and exercises. http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020201/419.html
The old saying of use it or loose it is true. Keep moving so you can keep moving. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP. http://pjharris.com