Avoid Hip/Knee Replacement? Dance

I mostly hang out with parents trying to decide whether to have another baby (I was 47 when I had mine and he's now 13).  But my generation group is now in the throes of undergoing knee and hip replacements.

My husband, a former college athlete, is considering both.   

A new study has found that doing what we did when we were younger (not that), can help. It's dancing, and it's helping older folks who feel less pain when they're moving around (or, as newswise.com, puts it, "movin' to the groovin'," ouch).

Dancing eases hip or knee pain and helps older adults move better, according to the study by Saint Louis University.

“After dancing, over several months they reported less pain and were able to walk faster,” the Web site quotes Jean Krampe, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University and lead author of the article.

The findings are significant because older adults who walk too slowly are more likely to fall, become hospitalized or require care from others, Krampe said. “Doctors and nurses recognize gait speed as the sixth vital sign that can help us predict adverse outcomes for older adults,” Krampe said.

Even walking just a little faster helps, though I'm sure my trying to run a 10-minute mile is not at all necessary.  

“Walking just a little more rapidly can make enough of a difference for a person to get across the street more quickly or get to the bathroom faster, which keeps them functional and independent," said Krampe. "In our study, those who danced didn’t walk dramatically faster, but they had a meaningful change in their walking speed.”

 In addition, study participants who danced reported that they reduced their consumption of pain medicine by 39 percent and those who didn’t dance said they took 21 percent more pain medicine.

So, get up and dance!


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