As we age, our bodies change, and it can be difficult to talk about and understand exactly what is happening. Sometimes the changes are embarrassing, and yet they needn’t be — certain aging issues are quite common, and there’s comfort in knowing that we’re not going about this whole aging thing alone.
With the average female lifespan being approximately 80 years, keeping yourself healthy and active is imperative for longevity. Here are three aging issues that aren’t necessarily uncommon, but that no one wants to discuss.
Aging Issue: Memory Loss
Memory loss is a scary topic and not something any woman will readily admit, likely fearing it’s something worse, like dementia or early Alzheimer’s disease. Those fears are well founded considering that 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, but if your memory loss feels more like having a senior moment and doesn’t affect your daily life, then you can cast your fears aside. Age-related memory loss is relatively common and can develop in those in their early 50s and generally affects those older than 65. Age-related memory loss doesn’t appear to continue to get worse as one grows older, and can improve with a balanced diet, regular exercise, vitamin supplements, memory exercises, social interaction and even learning something new. If you are concerned, though, it’s always best to talk to your doctor to ensure a proper diagnosis.
Aging Issue: Incontinence
It may be funny when someone jokes about how, thanks to childbirth, they now pee a little when they cough and sneeze, but it’s no laughing matter when it happens to you, especially if it happens regularly. Urinary incontinence affects around 25 million Americans (20% of whom are men), according to National Association for Continence (NAFC). Incontinence is not something most people readily admit. It typically takes a women 6-and-a-half years to talk to her doctor about her incontinence. The stigma around it fuels the myth that it is a normal part of aging or effect of childbirth, but that is not necessarily the case, as incontinence can occur in women in their teens to their 80s. Incontinence can have many causes, from weak pelvic floors to mental or stress incontinence. There are several ways to improve your incontinence on your own, from yoga and Pilates to strengthen the pelvic floor, to eating a balanced diet and mental exercises to “train” your bladder. Before you start on your own, talk to your doctor to find out the root cause and the best path forward.
Aging Issue: Bone Density Loss & Weakness
As we age, our bone density decreases, and that can lead to easily broken bones, poor posture and an overall loss of quality of life. In fact, fractures are the No. 1 cause of hospitalization in women older than 55, which can lead to loss of independence and depression. Additionally, as we age, we lose 2-3% of bone density each year, and after menopause up to 5% a year, making us even more susceptible to broken bones. To combat this facet of aging, we have to increase bone and muscle health to prevent broken bones and gain strength. Improved balance also plays an imperative role in preventing falls, which lead to broken bones.
The good news is that there are preventive measures we can take to improve our bone density and muscle health. Performing weight-bearing exercises on a consistent basis can stimulate new bone growth and improve muscular strength. And while you’re not likely to recommend your mother or grandmother hit the 24/7 gym to start bench-pressing the pounds, there is a great option that is tailored specifically for the aging population to help improve and sustain bone and muscle health.
OsteoStrong is a safe weight-bearing therapy that uses patented technology developed by doctors as well as scientific research based on Wolff’s law, which states that bone will adapt to weighted loads and grow stronger over time. OsteoStrong sessions, which are weekly 10-minute sweat-free appointments, help clients achieve 3-10% increase in bone density over the period of a year to 18 months. Diane Mulloy, who owns three of the five area OsteoStrong locations, says that her clients report better balance and posture within five sessions, and could expect to see 73% muscular strength gains in a year of work. She jokes that it may sound too good to be true, “But it is. Our clients have reversed osteoporosis and experienced significant relief from back and joint pain in our once-a-week 10-minute session. And we have the results to prove it.”
Additionally, the results from OsteoStrong prove more effective than walking, weight lifting and medicines alone. When we tried the four “trigger event” exercises in our visit, it’s easy to see how they can be effective with consistent sessions. The osteogenic loading equipment, which looks like a souped-up workout machine, applies adequate weighted pressure to bones and joints to stimulate bone growth and gain muscular strength without soreness. A client’s body is positioned safely to perform the trigger events, and we left feeling good. OsteoStrong sessions have been measured over the course of years to determine how often and how long a client should perform the exercises, and weekly, 10-minute sessions are what yield optimal results. When a client completes a session, they receive their weekly results to track their performance.
A 69-year old OsteoStrong client of six months shares, “My mother had osteoporosis and was hospitalized and underwent extensive therapy for a broken hip and broken leg on separate occasions. I don’t want that to be my fate, but I don’t enjoy the gym. The quick appointment, client service and results I have seen so far with OsteoStrong make me feel better about my future.”
And it’s not just for women of a certain age. NFL teams use the Biodensity plate equipment in their facilities, and OsteoStrong’s local clients range from high school athletes, men of all ages and women in their 40s through their 80s. As Diane says, “OsteoStrong is easy, fun and the most effective way to increase bone and muscle strength regardless of your age or fitness level.”
To schedule a free bone density scan, contact one of the area OsteoStrong locations found in Belle Meade, Green Hills and Hendersonville. Click here to get started.
This article is sponsored by OsteoStrong. Photography by Tausha Dickinson.