In honour of International Men’s Health Week from June 14-June 20, 2021, we focus on Health in Men over the age of 60. While there are common health issues that arise at this stage of life for males, our focus here is on Musculoskeletal health which undergoes rapid changes with age. Complementary medicine not only helps to maintain good health, healthy ageing and longevity, natural health solutions can also greatly assist associated needs for muscle and bone health such as pain management and inflammatory conditions.
Ready to Retire
Studies suggest that retirement can have a major influence on people’s health behaviours and quality of life, making it an opportune time to support healthy and active ageing. (1) Good health equates to a more enjoyable and fulfilling retirement and winding back time spent in the workplace often leads men to change their lifestyle – albeit for the better. The good news is that lifestyle change at any stage of life may extend a healthy lifespan,(2) and choosing healthy leisure activities involving physical exercise is of great benefit. This of course equates to the need for good physical fitness and men may find that their musculoskeletal health needs to be managed in order to maintain an active lifestyle.
Men may experience a significant change in their body composition, and whilst weight gain is one thing, loss of muscle mass is another big factor. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. (3) With this involuntary loss of muscle mass comes the loss of strength and function, impacting on the type of exercise that is suitable to support lean muscle tissue and prevent injury.
Alongside changes in muscle mass, bone density decreases and joint stiffness increases (3) and the need for surgeries like knee and hip replacement may arise. Osteoporosis in older men is thus an important threat to the quality of life (4) and age-related changes most often leads to increased fracture predisposition. (5) As many as 1 out of 3 fragility fractures occur in older men and the outcome of major osteoporotic fractures, in particular hip fractures, is worse in men than in women. There are also significant changes in body posture in men over 60 who have a greater angle of lumbar lordosis (inward curvature of the lower spine)(6) and a small reduction in stature (known as kyphosis). (3)
M.A.N = Massage, Acupuncture, Nutrients
Our top picks for natural therapies for older men for musculoskeletal health are:
• Massage therapy
• Nutritional medicine
The Magic of Massage
Massage can be a wonderful therapy for relaxation and therapeutic benefit. Massage techniques can improve sleep and overall stress reduction, reduce muscle tension and improve recovery from injury. For example, treatment for knee pain has been found to be effective in not only reducing pain but also increasing the range of motion. (7)
Acupuncture has a long-standing history in Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be applied to a range of complaints. A study of patients over the age of 60 found that Acupuncture was valued as a way to reduce medication as well as a means to maintain physical and mental health with reported changes in mood, energy, and well-being as important benefits. (8)
Ageing affects the need for several essential nutrients and influences the rate of physiologic and functional decline. (9) The increased demands for vitamins and minerals which impact the musculoskeletal system include combinations of calcium, vitamin D and K, which are linked with better bone health,(10) alongside several other nutrients. Maintaining healthy bones is one very good reason for considering professional prescription of nutritional supplements as a step above good diet practices.
60 is the new 50
It’s no wonder that 60 is the new 50 – with a range of effective therapies to support the ageing process and promote longevity – which especially allows for good physical movement. It has been found that older adults over 65 are motivated to use complementary medicine for pain relief, to improve quality of life and maintain health and fitness with the therapies most commonly used including massage therapy and acupuncture. (11) Our practitioners are passionate about creating a treatment plan that encompasses preventative strategies as well as getting you the desired results to have a new lease on life – what better time than now?