Life begins at 40

Life begins at 40 if you look after yourself

Turning 40 is one of those landmark birthdays. Most of us dread the notion, fearing our body’s downward spiral to middle-age, the painful joints, widespread aches and pains and embarrassing problems with our pelvic floors. This doesn’t have to be the case though; small changes now, whatever your age, can make a huge difference later in life.

Apex Clinic specialist physiotherapist, Rebecca Nelson, shares some great tips for keeping your musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones and joints) healthy and fabulous at forty plus.

Top tips on staying pain-free at 40 plus

At any age it is vital to keep our musculoskeletal system healthy in order to live pain-free for longer. Despite the natural changes in our bodies from around forty, with general flexibility reducing, bone density decreasing and the nuisance of common problems such as stress incontinence becoming more likely, there are ways to prepare for and prevent these age-related curses.

Beware of being told that “arthritis” is to blame for your pain

Arthritis is part of the normal ageing process and can occur as early as 19 years. At Apex Clinic, we see a high number of people who have been told that arthritis is responsible for their back pain, neck pain, joint pain or headaches. We find that many of these patients are in fact suffering from a treatable problem which can be fully resolved with our specialised manual physiotherapy treatments. Although they may also have arthritis, it is often the case that arthritis is not the primary cause of their pain. Once we have identified and treated the source of their problem, our patients can get on with their lives pain-free. If this is you, seek a second opinion with us.

Healthy bones and osteoporosis

There are many ways to help prevent against osteoporosis (bone thinning) especially for woman over 40 years of age and in particular post menopausal women. Research has shown that the best way to improve bone density is by:

• Boosting your calcium intake. The recommended intake of calcium for 19-50 year olds is 700mg a day. This is about equivalent to one pint of milk. So ladies get drinking! Alternatively, calcium supplements are readily available.

• Short bouts of high-impact activity, such as skipping or jogging on the spot or star jumps. High impact activity has shown to be much more effective in the prevention of osteoporosis than longer periods of low impact exercise, such as walking. Happy muscles and your pelvic floor Stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh) is a common problem in women over 40 caused by weak muscles in the saddle area from childbirth or simple lack of tone.

• To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and pull up your pelvic floor, like you’re trying to squeeze a tampon, hold this for 10 seconds with 50% of your maximum strength. Repeat this 10 times in a row, twice daily, taking 5 seconds between each hold. Avoid holding your breath at the same time. You should start to notice results after a few weeks.

In summary ladies, it’s not all down hill.

Apex Clinic continues to offer an informative but fun series of talks in the community entitled ‘Mobility Matters’ for the forty plus age group. To find out more, or to book a talk for your social, work, luncheon or church group, please give us a call on: 028 9048 4153.

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