If we’re lucky, we all get older – but unfortunately it’s not always a smooth transition. It’s natural to experience some pain as our bodies get older, but there are ways to help prevent and ease the pain of aging.
The slowing and pain of aging actually begin much earlier than most people think: as soon as the early- to mid-thirties, the body begins to put on weight more easily, the heart’s ability to pump blood gradually slows, cartilage wears away, cholesterol levels shift, and it becomes more difficult to retain muscle mass. Major health problems aside, these changes generally creep in slowly – but people who don’t stay active find they come on more quickly and more painfully.
You’ve heard it before, and it’s for a reason: maintaining a healthy diet and getting at least moderate exercise are essential to both warding off, and managing, the pain of aging. They keep muscles strong and flexible, ease stiff joints, and keep organs functioning properly. Carrying around extra weight also strains everything from muscles, joints, and bones to the heart and lungs; it’s important to get both strength training and cardiovascular exercise to support all of these areas.
Massage is a useful – and enjoyable – treatment for many ailments, such as arthritic pain, fibromyalgia, muscle pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Aside from reducing inflammation and aching, it also raises serotonin and endorphin levels, which act as painkillers and lower accompanying anxiety.
Along those same lines, stretching is another simple option. Regular stretching helps maintain flexibility in the muscles as well as strength; even if you don’t choose to take up yoga as a regular pursuit, take ten minutes daily to stretch out the stiffness and aches that come from either sitting too long or from moving about. Stretching can also help manage and reduce stress levels as well as help with headaches or migraines.
Mental health is equally important: intellectual stimulation keeps you alert and keeps your mood up, both of which can help with physical pain. Invest in a hobby you enjoy and spend time with family and friends; emotional health affects physical pain levels.
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