Growing old can be a process of giving up a little bit on the fringes. You stop doing certain things like using stairs, carrying groceries and before you know it you have lost a significant amount of strength. When we are younger we can tolerate longer periods of inactivity without significant loss of strength or function. As we get into our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s the ability to tolerate periods of immobility and decrease exercise decreases significantly. At first you just give up the small things and before you know it you have lost the strength to get up from a chair without using your arms.
Particularly in people with arthritic joints, it is especially important to continue some form of low impact exercise. Exercising on a regular basis is like putting money into your 401K plan. You are literally investing in your later years by maintaining and improving your function. The stronger the muscles surrounding an arthritic joint are the less stress will be placed on the joint and the better an individual’s function will be. People often say I can’t exercise because it hurts my joint. That simply means they have not explored different possibilities of exercise including stationary bike riding, swimming, and water aerobics. All of these place very little stress on an arthritic joint and can help maintain strength and flexibility. It is important to take responsibility for your fitness and health and try and maximize your fun and function in your later years.