Aging: How To Keep Your Knees and Pelvis Healthy
There are many things that weaken and fail as we age, and SignatureMD has put the spotlight this week on two crucial areas of the body for men and women: the pelvis and the knees.
Simple precaution and daily exercises you can do anywhere will keep you out of the Depends undergarments and off the knee replacement lists if you are careful and consistent.
Let’s talk the pelvis first.
For both men and women, the pelvic floor muscles are the foundation for the core strength of the body.
They help stabilize the pelvis, and they cradle and support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity, the bladder, prostate and uterus. In core building exercises like Pilates and Yoga, the pelvic floor muscles are toned along with connecting deep muscles of the back and abdomen. For modern workers and our sedentary lifestyle of watching TV, these interrelated muscles need lots of work.
The pelvic bowl is shaped differently between men and women, but rest assure that even though men do not have babies, their pelvic strength is one to preserve too.
The pubococcygeus muscle, also known as the PC muscle, encircles the openings for the urethra, vagina, and anus. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak or damaged, the openings are compromised causing a host of embarrassing issues.
Culprits for weakening this all important connected group of muscles includes childbirth, chronic coughing, aging, and inactivity.
A weak pelvic floor can cause incontinence, diminished sexual enjoyment, and a dropping of the organs into the pelvic muscles which is the case with problems like prolapsed uterus or bladder. These muscles are attached to others, and the muscles of the abdomen and back can weaken too, causing structural imbalances that lead to abdominal and back pain, as well as patterns of compensation throughout the body.
Good news! You can correct these issues with a dedicated routine to strengthen the PC muscle.
Kegels (named after Dr. Kegel), are very specific to the pelvic floor. To start, you squeeze the muscles of the pelvic floor as if you were going to stop the flow of urine when you go to the bathroom.
Knees are next.
The bane of many a golfer, runner and skier, aging knees are something you can protect and strengthen, as long as you avoid some mistakes.
SignatureMD compiled the top five Knee No-No mistakes to avoid:
1. Lunge and squat abuse
Overdoing the classic exercises that build the hamstrings, gluteal muscles and quadriceps can ravage the knees. Never bend the leg beyond a 90-degree angle and keep that knee squarely over the foot.
2. Adduction neglect
Inner thighs are crucial to keeping stress off knees. Use the adduction machines at the gym to keep these connected ligaments, muscles and tendons all humming smoothly. Bonus: Pelvic floor is strengthened with the adductor/ abductor machine.
3. Stairs and motion
Be kind to your legs going up and down stairs. Running and bouncing stairs can harm the knees. Hold the railing for support if you have issues already with knees.
4. A firm path
Best to avoid grass and uneven surfaces and use a well worn path when hiking or walking outside. Tripping risks are reduced too.
5. Seat heights at the gym
Spin classes and stationary bikes need a proper seat height for your height. Make sure the seat comes to the bottom of your hip or that your leg is straight at the lowest point of the pedal.
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