Contrary to common belief, healthy aging does not entail experiencing pain.
As people age, many tend to attribute their aches and pains to the aging process. However, professional sports physiotherapist Connor J. Flynn points out that it’s not considered normal to be consistently stiff, sore, or in pain.
The primary reason individuals start experiencing aches and pains as they grow older is often due to a condition known as “de-conditioning.” According to Flynn, this issue arises from the prevalent sedentary lifestyle that tends to become more common with age, and this is where the problem lies.
Flynn elaborates that our bodies are naturally designed for movement, making a sedentary lifestyle detrimental. Being excessively sedentary can be detrimental because, as he states, “The more active we are, the easier daily tasks become, and we reduce our risk of all-cause mortality.”
In essence, Flynn’s message underscores that inadequate physical activity, which can result in aches and pains, heightens the risk of various health issues.
Flynn states, “Engaging in consistent physical activity and maintaining mobility decreases the probability of sustaining injuries, falling prey to diseases, developing cancer, or experiencing premature mortality.”
He further adds that an active lifestyle contributes to a longer lifespan and promotes the release of serotonin, which has a positive effect on our mental health and overall well-being.
If you lead a sedentary life, your body will eventually provide signs and symptoms of this inactivity.
Flynn cautions that reduced physical activity leads to de-conditioning. To illustrate this, he offers an example: “If we generally lead a sedentary lifestyle without much exercise or stretching and then engage in occasional physical activities like a monthly game or playing with kids at the beach, we are likely to experience soreness and overuse injuries the following day.”
The encouraging news is that by gradually increasing your daily activity levels, you can alleviate these aches and pains. Flynn advises, however, that there is a limit to this, as overtraining remains a concern. He notes, “Overtraining can still occur, and the less conditioned you are, the more susceptible you are to overtraining.”
Flynn recommends that the best way to prevent the onset of aches and pains is by preserving your strength and mobility. He suggests engaging in activities such as stretching, weightlifting, and utilizing a massage machine.
According to the NHS, individuals should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends incorporating stretching exercises into your routine for at least two days a week. Staying physically active helps reduce the risk of various diseases, including cancer.
This perspective is provided by Chanelle Georgina, a Senior Health Reporter based in London, specializing in health-related topics since 2020