Treat Your Legs Well to Be a Fitter Person

By Bob Monahan, Sports Writer

 

As we age, most seniors may find their shoes are not fitting right and their feet are sore more often.  This article will focus on the legs from toes to hip.

It is common for the foot to increase one half size and the foot flatten with aging according to orthopedic studies of the senior foot. Recently, as an athlete, I have bought one half size larger sneakers and selected those with a rounded front staying away from the narrow toe variety which can pinch the toes.  My socks are always of the wicking variety that removes moisture from the foot thus minimizing blisters. The socks I select are extra cushioned at the balls of the foot and the heel.  After the sneakers are broken in, I add a soft gel insert cut one size smaller than the shoe size to give extra cushioning without pinching the toes. These cost about $10 at department stores.

The next step for me is to buy copper-infused compression sleeves that are tucked under the socks from ankle to knee.  These sleeves weigh about two ounces.  The copper in the sleeve acts as a magnet to circulate the iron in your blood at the various joints. The sleeves cost about $10 and can be found in most pharmacies near the brace department.

Glucosamine chondroitin tablets taken daily are a dietary supplement offered over the counter.  It is formulated from shellfish and is involved in the formulation of ligaments, tendons and bones. The chondroitin component claims to lubricate joints by helping to attract and increase fluid within the joins.  I find this works for me, but for others may have no effect. Check with your doctor first to see if you have any complications with medicines you may be taking.

 

In your workouts or exercise programs:

  1. Stretch your Achilles tendon, ankles, knees, hamstrings, and thigh muscles before jumping into a vigorous activity.
  2. Avoid using the same muscles every day such as playing pickleball or tennis six days per week.  Give the muscles a break and time to heal from overuse. I mix things up by playing basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and swimming on non-consecutive days. Line dancing and salsa dancing are part of my weekly regimen.
  3. Make flexibility part of your program via a home stretching program such as bands found at any department store or a yoga class in your community.  I enjoy the Flexercise Club at Sun City Center and you can find a similar program at the DaVita Medical Group located outside of Sun City Center. The flexibility component will make it less likely to get injured when participating in rigorous activity. 
  4. Have a cardio component to your exercise by increasing your heart beat rapidly for two minutes then returning to normal. if using a treadmill, exercise bike or rapid walking this technique will give you more endurance. Done several times in a session the lung capacity will increase. Do not attempt if you have a heart issue.

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. Take good care of your legs and they will take good care of you. 

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