It’s all in the hips
Keep this joint shimmying with regular exercise
Old hippies might never die, but
aging hips can slow them down.
Osteoarthritis, also known as
degenerative joint disease, usually
hits the hips and knees, the largest
weight–bearing joints in the body.
Osteoarthritis is the most common
form of arthritis; it affects one in 10
Albertans, and accounts for the vast
majority of hip and knee replacements
in the province.
While your genes play a big role in
hip health, you can take many steps
to keep your hips shimmying through
To prevent hip problems, keep
your weight in check. “We know
that obesity will contribute to the
development and progression of knee
and hip osteoarthritis,” says sport
medicine physician Dr. Preston Wiley,
director of the University of Calgary’s
Sport Medicine Centre.
Another step is exercise. Having
good strength is critical in protecting
the joints. Regular exercise is good for
bone, soft tissue and muscle health.
Getting out daily will benefit the joints
you use and the heart, blood vessels
and everything else, Wiley says.
Any injury to any joint can start
the arthritis process. Falls can be
especially hard on the hips at any age,
but cause more than half of all injuries
to Canadians over age 65. Four in 10
seniors who fall will fracture a hip.
To avoid falls, try exercises that
build strength in both body and mind.
“You need the mental ability to be
able to balance, which can be trained,
and you need muscle strength to hold
yourself up. . . .Weight-bearing exercise
Wiley suggests tai chi, yoga and
walking as daily exercises and
weightlifting a couple of times a week.
“What’s really important in terms of
the joints working well is to keep them
moving. It’s all about mobility,” says
Deborah Marshall, associate professor
at the University of Calgary’s Faculty
of Medicine and director at the Alberta
Bone and Joint Health Institute.
“Any kind of weight-bearing exercise
will do wonders for your hips and
keep them healthy for a lifetime,” adds
Christopher Smith, project director
at the Alberta Bone and Joint Health
— Jacqueline Louie
Search for preventing falls on MyHealth.
Alberta.ca to find exercises that build
strength and improve balance.
Activities such as yoga, walking and weightlifting and good old hula-hooping strengthen the
mind and body, and helps to prevent hip injuries and falls.