June 13, 2017

Help Seniors with ArthritisThe rule to exercise and stay as active as possible for the best health applies to adults of all ages. But for seniors with arthritis, it can be difficult to maintain a good amount of exercise because of pain.

Thankfully, the newest recommendations ease back on the intensity of exercise for older persons with arthritis, revealing that as little as just 45 minutes of physical activity each week is enough to accomplish and keep a high level of functionality – and less daunting for individuals who tend to shy away from exercise.

As shared by Northwestern University professor Dorothy Dunlop, “For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic.”

In spite of these scaled-back recommendations, unfortunately, as few as 10% of aging adults battling the difficulties of arthritis are accomplishing this level of activity. However, participants in a recent study who realized the 45-minute amount of moderate exercise each week exhibited an astounding 80% increase in sustained or improved functionality over a 2-year timeframe, compared with individuals who were less active. And it was confirmed that although any amount of exercise is better than nothing, the 45-minute per week guideline is optimal.

Needless to say, always check with the older adult’s physician before beginning or adjusting any activity or exercise program. With his or her consent, a great place to start is with the Arthritis Foundation’s app, Walk With Ease, which incorporates goal-setting, progress-tracking, a manual and sample online videos to demonstrate the exercises. Putting aside designated times daily for exercise, and making it a top priority, will help ensure activity becomes an ingrained routine and increases the possibility of its success.

Additionally, you can partner with Continuum, the premier St. Louis home health agency, for a companion to help inspire and motivate involvement in an exercise program that works for seniors with arthritis. It’s always more fun with a companion! We can also offer transportation and accompaniment to exercise programs, to parks or other outdoor areas for enjoyable walks together, to doctors’ appointments, and more. Call us at (314) 863-9912 or contact us online to learn more.