Prevent pain in aging | Exercise and aging

  • When it comes to warding off the kind of bone, joint and muscle pain that often accompanies aging, a new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests exercising harder for longer durations.
  • Many older people reduce their physical activity because they think it will cause more pain, but the opposite is true. Training is a preventive strategy.

    Much research focuses on the absolute minimum amount of exercise needed to see benefits – for example, a recent study looked at the effects of only three seconds of strength training. But when it comes to warding off the kind of bone, joint and muscle pain that often accompanies aging, a new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests going in the opposite direction, towards longer duration and more intensity.

    The researchers looked at just over 5,800 people over the age of 50 who were part of a large, long-term study of aging in England. Participants provided information on their level of physical activity as well as whether they were bothered by any type of chronic pain over a 10-year period, with around half reporting this type of problem during this period.

    According to lead author Nils Georg Niederstrasser, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, only high levels of physical activity have been shown to be protective against musculoskeletal pain. compared to a sedentary lifestyle.

    “It’s well known that pain tends to be more prevalent with age, but the solution has proven elusive,” he said. Runner’s world. “It is important to look for ways to reduce this risk, as chronic pain can lead to reduced quality of life and poor well-being.

    While all movements were helpful, study participants who reported doing more moderate exercises — such as walking, dancing, stretching, and gardening — lacked the significant levels of pain prevention seen in those who regularly engaged in more vigorous activities such as running, swimming, and playing tennis. Those who saw the least benefit were participants who reported only light activity such as housework.

    “Of course, any activity helps people stay healthy and feel better if you compare that to not exercising at all. But when it comes to the development of chronic pain, light exercise doesn’t seem to have a long-term effect,” Niederstrasser said. “Not only does the activity have to be vigorous, but you have to do it at least once a week.”



    This may be especially true for women, he added. In the study, women tended to have a greater risk of pain problems as they aged, possibly due to greater hormonal changes and increased pain sensitivity and intensity. , said Niederstrasser. But the long-term effects of vigorous exercise applied to everyone.

    “Physical activity can improve bone mass and muscle function, as well as reduce stress and improve mood,” he added. “A lot of older people reduce their physical activity because they think it will cause more pain, but the opposite is true. It’s a preventative strategy.

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