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Building Strength to Combat Chronic Pain

More than 20 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from chronic pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At Walker Methodist, a full team of fitness professionals works with each client to help overcome the challenges that come with achy joints and inflammation.

For older adults, the right exercises can be key to living an active life. Here at Walker Methodist offers six fitness centers, complete with equipment and regular class schedules. Our team finds few things more gratifying than being able to help a client gain the strength and stamina necessary to accomplish daily tasks such as climbing stairs and attending social events. But there are some things every older adult can focus on to find relief from pain and prevent future injuries.

Exercise and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain sufferers can find themselves in a catch-22. They need to exercise to help alleviate their pain, but just standing and walking can be excruciating. Although exercises can’t cure the cause of the pain, they can keep joints active.

Those who have knee arthritis, for instance, will experience more pain once the joints stiffen. By exercising, you can keep your joints active, which may not only relieve pain but also help slow down the cause of it. One way to do this is through the use of our NuStep machine, which allows patients to get the benefits of a stair-climber machine while being seated. The machine is adjustable to allow clients to start out slowly, moving to higher resistance levels as they build strength.

Preventing Falls

For older adults, fall prevention is essential. Our communities offer balance-related exercise classes that put participants through standard activities like balancing on one foot while keeping one hand on a chair and toe lifts. But classes also focus on maneuvering around hurdles since those exercises connect directly to an older adult’s ability to avoid slips, trips, and falls in daily life.

However, the experts here at Walker have a few tips that can improve safety once you leave the fitness center. Those include:

  • Remove rugs, as they can be a trip hazard.
  • Avoid wearing open-toed shoes.
  • Get out and walk more. Walking is one of the best balance exercises you can do since your body is constantly adjusting its center of gravity as you move.
  • Do balance exercises. We recommend a few balance activities clients can do at home, using a chair or countertop as a guide.

The most important thing an older adult can do for strength, balance, and pain relief is to stay active. The body grows accustomed to whatever activity level you’re feeding it. If you’re moving around and staying active, your body won’t adjust to inactivity and you’ll find you not only feel better, but you’re able to freely engage in everyday activities.

Through both group and one-on-one training, our team works with each client to find a program that gets results. Regular visits will allow you to develop healthy habits outside of the fitness center. The more active you can stay throughout the day, the better you’ll feel when you aren’t exercising.

Topics: Health & Well-Being, Featured

Aaron Aslakson

Written by Aaron Aslakson

MA, CSCS, ACSM EP-C, NSCA-CPT | Exercise is Medicine® Credential Level II | Walker Methodist Director of Wellness Centers

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