July 8, 2020 Aging changes your body. You lose muscle mass and bone mass, for example, which can make you weaker and more prone to fractures when you fall. Age can bring about problems in your muscles, joints, and bones. Back pain, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis are just some of the orthopedic health problems that commonly come with aging. Fortunately, staying physically active can help you maintain orthopedic health for a lifetime. Regular exercise slows the loss of muscle mass, strengthens your bones, and reduces muscle and joint pain. Physical activity also improves mobility and balance to reduce your risk of falling and suffering a hip fracture or other serious injury. Physical activity is beneficial and generally safe for almost everyone, but especially if you have arthritis, osteoporosis, or other chronic orthopedic conditions that affect your bones and joints. While you should not exercise during an acute bout of back pain or other orthopedic condition, lack of activity can make the problem worse or make it more difficult to live with. Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles in your stomach, hips, and thighs to relieve chronic pain and prevent your condition from growing worse. Staying physically active can make you feel good too. Regular exercise reduces stress and can improve your outlook. Tips for Staying Active for Optimal Orthopedic Health Learn about the types of exercise that are right for you – walking around the block, dancing, going for a swim, or working in the garden may provide more benefit than running or playing sports, for example Determine the amount of physical activity that is right for you: the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests 30 minutes of moderate activity daily or on most days of the week – you can even break up the 30 minutes into shorter segments Do different activities on different days; work in the garden for 15 minutes in the morning, for example, and take a 15-minute walk at night If you have not been active in a while, start slowly and work your way up to avoid injury; the key is to feel your muscles, heart, and lungs working harder, but not too hard Use the right safety gear and equipment – wear sturdy shoes for walking, for example, and always wear a helmet when bicycling Choose a safe place to engage in the activity: walking with friends around a gym is safer than off-trail hiking by yourself, for instance For more information about physical activity to improve your orthopedic health, consult with Spine and Orthopedic Specialists, especially if you have a health problem – a medical professional can help you determine which types of exercise are right for you and how much physical activity you should get every week.