It reached 1,000 degrees here last week. I’m exaggerating, but only by a few degrees. I don’t know why we suddenly have record breaking temps around the world, but here are a few of my theories:
In between jumping in and out of a car hot enough to fry bacon and blasting my office fan directly on my face, I discovered something else unpleasant about the heat: It makes joints swell.
And I don’t mean “swell” like, “Gee, that’s swell!” but more like, “Why does it feel as if I have a balloon animal tied around my knee?”
On a whim, I did a Google search and found that yes, hot weather can make joints hurt more.
You’d think, logically, that heat would make joints feel better, since cold weather also makes them hurt.
The operative word in that sentence: logically.
Keeping in mind that Mother Nature created the platypus and the goblin shark, you’ll know she’s not always on board the logic train.
In fact, she likes to mess with our heads quite often. It’s also why we feel hungry when in actuality we’re thirsty. So after eating an entire meal, you realize you really just needed a glass of water, a caloric difference of about 500.
This brings me to today’s topic: old people.
As someone who routinely receives cremation brochures, let me clarify.
I don’t use the word “old” often, mainly because the older I get, the higher the qualification for this category, which currently stands at “deceased.”
Plus, I know a lot of young people who act old and people my age (59) with a young outlook and personality who you’d guess were a couple decades younger than they look.
So what’s the difference? Attitude and outlook.
For example, people who complain a lot and love to tell you all about their latest surgical procedure usually look their age or older. I avoid these people like the bubonic plague they believe they have.
[Side note: Yes, I’m well aware I talk about issues like my knee. But it’s not to gain sympathy or complain, but get a laugh and let you know I’m not immune to my share of physical challenges. And I don’t use it as an excuse to avoid things. Unless it’s helping a friend move, then yes.]
Along with outlook, we often “expect” certain issues to occur as we age. And we let these issues determine what we do and don’t do in life.
This brings me to today’s topic du jour: things we mistakenly use as excuses to not work out and/or enjoy life in general.
Not only are they excuses, but people often feel they can’t do anything about it so why bother?
[sound of loud buzzer] Sorry, wrong answer!
Here are the top three physical attributes I see most often as “accepted” parts of aging, as in, “What do you expect at my age?”
A bent-over posture is NOT a sign of normal aging (you sat up just reading this, didn’t you? J). Yes, it makes you look “old,” but accepting it as “the way it is” sets you up for a world of hurt.
In the case of women (and yes, men, too), it can be a sign of tiny spinal fractures, indicating your spinal discs are collapsing like a deck of cards — especially if accompanied by a loss of height. It can also be a sign of osteoporosis.
A less serious but just as insidious cause for a curved back can occur from hours sitting at a desk (like I’m doing as I write this…). Front/chest muscles shorten and tighten, pulling your torso forward.
Our body takes on the shape we practice all day. It’s why people in less technologically developed countries often have perfect posture. Ever notice?
This forward, rounded, position not only wreaks havoc with your spine, but increases the risk of shoulder injuries and syndromes like frozen shoulder. Here’s how to fix it:
A reader recently wrote to me saying she can’t do certain exercises because she has such poor balance.
Here’s the thing. If you stop doing things that challenge your balance, your balance will get worse. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, unfortunately.
When it gets worse you’re more likely to fall. When you fall you can injure yourself, often severely.
Here are a few ways to get steadier.
If you’re unsure of yourself, hold on with one hand and gradually adjust to letting to with both hands.
Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart… Arthritis and joint pain is a Catch-22. It may hurt a bit to get moving, but if you don’t move it will get worse.
Movement keeps joint mobile by circulating the fluid that keeps them lubed. If you stop moving, you get stiff.
So. What can you do to ease the discomfort? Here are a few tips:
What about YOU? What prevents you from working out or enjoying activities and how do you adjust? Let me know in the comments below!
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By the way, have you checked out my free webinar, How to Firm Up After 50? I explain in detail why its SO important to keep up strength training after 50, both for strength as well as weight loss. Yes! weight loss. Who knew? It’s available at a number of convenient times so register when you have about and hour to sit back and relax.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.