They say hips don’t lie, and unfortunately, they may be right. Hips might be one of the biggest giveaways of age—once you’ve hit 60, you’ve got a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing hip pain.
Here are my Five Top Tips to age-proofing your hips, to reduce your risk of ending up on the operating table!
Tip 1: Monitor your bone density
If you’re female and have reached menopause, I recommend asking your GP for a bone density check to measure the thickness and quality of your bone. Reduced bone density can put you at increased risk of sustaining a hip fracture. Your GP can start you on medication and a management plan to help strengthen your bones.
“By 2022, it is estimated that 6.2 million Australians older than 50 years of age will have osteoporosis or osteopenia, a rise of 31% from 2012.
A similar increase in the rate of fracture, from 140,882 in 2012 to 183,105 in 2022, is anticipated if action is not taken to improve the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis.”
Tip 2: Eat a mineral-rich diet
Make sure your diet contains the essential minerals for bone health—calcium in particular—and you’re getting enough sun for your Vitamin D levels. Most people in Australia don’t need supplements if their diet is healthy.
“Osteoporosis Australia recommends taking a maximum of 500-600 mg of calcium per day. Talk to your doctor about whether you need a calcium supplement and what the right dose is for you.” For dietary guidelines please see the link: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf
Smoking also harms your bone health. “A great place to start is to check out the Quit Now website and its variety of information and tools to support you in quitting smoking.” Likewise, alcohol can reduce the amount of calcium you absorb, and weaken bones.
Tip 3: Organise your home and activities to prevent falls
Organising your home to reduce the risk of falls is highly recommended. Keep objects off your stairs and floors. Fall-proof your bathroom with slip-resistant bathmats and grab bars in the bathtub. Take care in the garden, particularly in wet seasons, and avoid ladders or standing on unsteady furniture. Get your eyes checked regularly; poor vision frequently causes falls in older people. For the latest information on fall risk please visit the following link: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-research/
Tip 4: Exercise for strength, balance and agility
Exercise is vital for maintaining mobility and general health. Weight-bearing activities like walking and running will strengthen your muscles, bones and protect your hip joints. Low-impact exercise like swimming and cycling are also great options for those who are unable to run. Yoga and Pilates can improve flexibility and strengthen your back and abdomen, helping your balance and preventing falls.
There are certain activities can cause joint pain and damage if performed incorrectly. Go gently, and have a physiotherapist watch your form. For further information please follow the link: https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Exercise%20Fact%20Sheet%202nd%20Edition.pdf
Tip 5: Maintain a healthy weight
The more you weigh, the more pressure your hips experience. If you’re at healthy body weight, keep up your physical activity levels and nourishing diet. However, if you’re struggling to keep your weight down, your doctor can help you with a diet plan and exercise regime to keep you at a healthy weight.
Hip problems in seniors can become extremely debilitating, and even fatal if not treated correctly. That’s why taking steps to minimise your risk of hip issues would be beneficial to your health —and it’s also not that hard. For further information please see follow the link: http://healthyweight.health.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/healthyweight/9aa254c4-e7b0-4584-9c15-a185c5791a4b/FINAL+booklet+for+upload+%28D14-550905%29.PDF?MOD=AJPERES