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Total weekly exercise regimen for over 60 (osteoarthritis)

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Total weekly exercise regimen for over 60 (osteoarthritis)

Old 08-09-16, 07:00 AM
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GetUpnGo
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Total weekly exercise regimen for over 60 (osteoarthritis)

For those of you who are over 60, what is your total weekly exercise regimen? I'd especially like to hear from folks who have osteoarthritis. I'm trying to set reasonable goals that build muscle and endurance while preserving the joints.

The dilemma: with osteoarthritis, pain is sort of ever present, but you can't just stop all activities to coddle your pain. It's hard to find that balance point where you're helping your overall health and fitness and not making your joints worse.

I'm wondering if the following that I'm doing currently is too much:

Bike 3 x 10 miles
Gym 2 days, for strength training only, not cardio
Hike 1 day
Kayak 1 day (10-15 miles)
Yard work 3 days

That totals about 12 hours and 10 sessions, meaning that on some days I do more than one physical activity, especially if I take a rest day. For example I might bike 10 miles in the morning and go to the gym in the afternoon.

I'd like to increase the biking to 40-50 miles a week but I don't want to give up the other activities to prioritize biking only.

I know the response is "It depends on how fit you are now." I'm fit enough to ride 20 miles and hike 5 miles (moderate rise). I've been doing strength training for the last 18 years but current strength gain is limited by shoulder arthritis.

You might also say it depends on your recovery. I easily recover after biking. Hiking takes one day of rest to recover. Gym recovery is good as long as I'm careful not to push the weights too high.

I need to reset my expectations at this age. At age 50 I could do heavy strength training, play racquetball, and bike 40 miles---one after the other on the same day with no rest in between. Those days are gone!
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Old 08-09-16, 10:45 AM
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Just turned 60. Never been diagnosed with arthritis but believe I have a slight case. Various joints bother me time to time. The major joint problem I have is my lower back. The main cure for that is stretching 4-5 days a week. So here's my schedule.

Bike Commute 10-15 miles 4 to 5 days a week
Bike Recreational anywhere from 10-40 mile ride on the weekend. Almost always take one day a week off the bike.
Short hike on the weekend 2-6 miles
Walk about 1.5 miles per day right at work. That's just serendipity that allows me to get away with that. But it has literally become part of the job.
Stretching and calisthenics 30-40 min 4-5 days a week.

Finding the balance point between causing more pain and preventing pain is difficult. I have not really mastered it. When pain crops up I try to work around that problem. Maybe even drop a specific exercise for a little while.
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Old 08-10-16, 06:32 AM
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I'm 63. Never been diagnosed with arthritis, yet the Dr mentioned that I may be seeing signs of it from time to time.

Swim laps at the Y twice a week (Sundays and Wednesdays) for a total of about 4800 yds (2.7 miles)
Bike 2-3 times per week (more likely just twice a week) usually a 12-17 mile ride and a 25 mile ride.
running twice a week for a total of about 7 miles.
walking 1.25 miles daily (with the dog)

Recently my chronic plantar faciaitis (sp) issue has flaired up again so I've been cutting back on the running and doing squats/lunges/pushups/situps

1 rest day a week
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Old 08-10-16, 07:01 AM
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61 here. Doc says I have a bit of Arthur in my shoulders and I'm pretty sure I have some in my hands too; but not enough to slow me down. Rotator cuff problems limit my swimming to about 1600 yds/day, 2-3 times per week; although swimming is only a seasonal exercise (winter.) Luckily, my knees are still healthy. My main exercise is walking a couple miles a day for work, and cycling 2500-3000 miles per season. Last night was 29 miles before a late supper.

It's no wonder that you recover quickly from cycling - 10 miles is almost nothing and you're probably not pushing the pace either; so there's nothing to recover from.
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Old 08-10-16, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
It's no wonder that you recover quickly from cycling - 10 miles is almost nothing and you're probably not pushing the pace either; so there's nothing to recover from.
I guess I deserved that comment. I used to bike 2000 miles a year in addition to intensive skiing, racquetball, weightlifting, kayaking, backpacking, and hiking. I was hit by early arthritis at age 50, possibly related to a lifetime of joint overuse (?). I do have something to recover from: a recent hip replacement and increasing arthritis in the other hip and shoulders.
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Old 08-10-16, 08:46 PM
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62 in my spine, shoulders and big toes. Shoulders sure are a real pain off and on.
I ride 100 mi + /week, mostly commuting, generally 32 mi+ ride. 2500+ mi /season
Got to do something for the shoulders - just don't have time for the gym.
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Old 08-10-16, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
..... I'm wondering if the following that I'm doing currently is too much:

Bike 3 x 10 miles
Gym 2 days, for strength training only, not cardio
Hike 1 day
Kayak 1 day (10-15 miles)
Yard work 3 days...
It's the yard work that is taking things too far! Notice... every other activity does not have the word "work" associated with it.

I am in my mid-60's, doctor diagnosed arthritis in my back in '95. I've found that the riding mower is really rough on my back....... whereas my road bike seems to stretch me out and keeps me standing straight. Hard labor hurts later... controlled effort through exercise not so much. Turning my home office into a man cave... and getting rid of the office chair... was a big help as well.

I normally bicycle 2000 miles a year. This year has been extra challenging. I still do all my own yard work as well. But I know it isn't the best for me.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 08-10-16 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:26 PM
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Age 83 and been riding since the early 1970s.
Have ridden over 300,000 miles ( a quarter million miles of that with my wife on tandems) and fortunately only have had cancer.
Still ride +/- 100 miles a week.
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Old 08-11-16, 12:39 PM
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In addition to my other activities, I swim. Although the swim training can be a real workout, I find it helps me recover from the running and biking days. Would it be appropriate for your condition?
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Old 08-11-16, 02:53 PM
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I'm 60 and have osteoarthritis. From what I understand the main cause is heredity, specifically inheriting bad cartilage. My mom could barely move her hands in her last 10 years, so there it is for me.

I'd love to find a solution to bone spurs, which seems to be the other symptom along with disappearing cartilage. I've had two surgeries to deal with this. But overall, staying active is the answer to osteoarthritis and many other ailments. Keep moving, and it looks like you are.

I recently started doing the routines from "Tom Danielson's Core Advantage", which I read about here. So I'm doing those. I try to do a hard bike ride a couple of times a week (hard meaning 2000 feet of climbing) and I try to get the the gym 3-4 times a week, doing upper body and some leg exercises (lunges, squats). I don't use much weight, it's more important to keep up the routine without hurting myself.

I would agree that the gardening isn't helping you. I messed up my back one summer from shoveling dirt over and over. It's just not therapeutic. You don't want to mess up your hands either, so avoid repetitive strain.

https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Danielson...core+advantage
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Old 08-11-16, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
It's the yard work that is taking things too far! Notice... every other activity does not have the word "work" associated with it. . . . I still do all my own yard work as well. But I know it isn't the best for me.
I think you're right about this! It was heavy yard work that greatly worsened my shoulders and back. Shoveling snow from an 80' driveway is a killer. And I agree that biking helps the back.

Last edited by GetUpnGo; 08-11-16 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 08-11-16, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tg16 View Post
In addition to my other activities, I swim. Although the swim training can be a real workout, I find it helps me recover from the running and biking days. Would it be appropriate for your condition?
Naw, I can't swim worth a darn. I used to be a strong and enthusiastic swimmer, but I have very little range of motion in my shoulders now. Apparently nothing can be done about that.
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Old 08-11-16, 05:17 PM
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I'd just like to mention that one of my personal values is doing a VARIETY of activities, not just for health but to enjoy life in different ways. This is one reason why I don't bike more---it would mean doing less of other activities.
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Old 08-11-16, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
I guess I deserved that comment. I used to bike 2000 miles a year in addition to intensive skiing, racquetball, weightlifting, kayaking, backpacking, and hiking. I was hit by early arthritis at age 50, possibly related to a lifetime of joint overuse (?). I do have something to recover from: a recent hip replacement and increasing arthritis in the other hip and shoulders.

No, you didn't. "Ten miles is nothing" is elitist talk.

Last edited by ltxi; 08-12-16 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 08-11-16, 06:03 PM
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No matter what: keep moving!
Can't run (too many injuries/broken bones) can't swim (allergic to chlorine) but I ride 100-150 miles a week in hilly terrain!
Yes it is stiff here and there but cycling not only loosens every joints but also cleans the cobwebs between my ears! (I sure need cleaning)
So we keep moving to keep living!

Last edited by VNA; 08-11-16 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 08-11-16, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
........ It was heavy yard work that greatly worsened my shoulders and back. Shoveling snow from an 80' driveway is a killer. And I agree that biking helps the back.
I mechanized my yard work as much as I can. Which includes a snow blower. My neighbor had back surgery a couple seasons ago and I was able to keep up both his and my drive way with no problems.
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Old 08-11-16, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ltxi View Post
No, you didn't. "Ten miles is nothing" is elitist crap talk.
I used to think 10 miles was nothing. In fact I used to think 50 miles was nothing. Then through my late 50s and early 60s I had to walk with a cane. I never stopped biking then, even though every turn of the pedals hurt like heck. Did not stop hiking, kayaking, or going to the gym. I knew if I stopped I was a goner.

So okay, I'm no longer an athlete. But I'm in the 50% of Americans who DO exercise, not the 50% who don't. Honestly, I strongly suspect that I ended up with wrecked joints because I forgot to ENJOY biking and everything else and was more focused on the thousand-mile mark, climbing a certain number of mountains, adding 5 lbs a week to bicep curls. Too much focus on achievement, not enough focus on enjoyment and preserving my body.

We all, every one of us, will get to that point where 10 miles is huge, and then it's impossible. Then what do you do? For starters you feel humble. Give an athlete a cane and he feels humble pretty quick.
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Old 08-13-16, 07:18 AM
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Upper 70's

Swim - 4 hours per week
Walk - 2-3 miles almost every day (6+ hours per week)
Bicycle - about 1-2 hour per day on average (7-10 hours)
Resistance exercises and balance exercises - 4 hours per week
Stretching - 1/2 hour per day ( 3.5 hours)

About 25 hours per week total - no Osteo diagnosed,although I understand that everyone over about 30 has osteo to some degree.

Last edited by gobicycling; 08-13-16 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 08-13-16, 12:40 PM
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I'm 72 with advanced arthritis in my neck and lower back. It started in my late 30's. Had a Cordisone shot in lower back last year. Can't walk or stand very long without back pain, neck hurts all the time. I can ride with no back pain and little neck pain.
I ride at least 20 miles every day and do weights for arms and shoulders. Have ridden 6,000+ miles every year for past 9 years and on schedule to repeat this year.
I attribute riding for letting me feel as well as I do both physically and mentally. I don't plan on quitting any time soon!
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Old 08-13-16, 01:07 PM
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I'm 64, and retired . I have both osteoarthritis, neck and spine and shoulders as well as RA, in my hands knees and wrist, presently, weird to have both, but it can happen I'm told as well as synovitis in those joints. My next step will have to be on injections for the RA, humirea if the progression continues.. Life is pretty miserable at times when I have flare ups. However I ride about 100-150 miles a week unless I'm sick from the flare-ups and lift 1 x weekly when I can lift light weights. I'm not as fast as I use to be or as strong, but I still get out and pedal. I look at the fact it's better to do something than nothing regardless of the pain

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Old 08-15-16, 07:55 AM
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I'm 64 and have arthritis from a knee injury. Even had stem cell therapy 3 years ago (HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!). Both my regular orthopedic surgeon and the orthopedic surgeon who did the stem cell therapy told me to quit walking (I never did run), and ride a bike or do an elliptical. Much less stress on the knee. So if yours is a knee problem, I suggest getting rid of the hike. Some studies show that impact exercises (running/walking) does damage joints, but others show that running provides better muscle control which actually helps with joint impact. So you have to use your judgement. My experience says my joints hurt when I pound them. So I avoid it and do things with smooth movements/no impact.
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Old 08-15-16, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by HAMMER MAN View Post
I'm 64, and retired . I have both osteoarthritis, neck and spine and shoulders as well as RA, in my hands knees and wrist, presently, weird to have both, but it can happen I'm told as well as synovitis in those joints. My next step will have to be on injections for the RA, humirea if the progression continues.. Life is pretty miserable at times when I have flare ups. However I ride about 100-150 miles a week unless I'm sick from the flare-ups and lift 1 x weekly when I can lift light weights. I'm not as fast as I use to be or as strong, but I still get out and pedal. I look at the fact it's better to do something than nothing regardless of the pain
For what it's worth my partner has had RA for over ten years and she's been doing Humira injections most of that time. It has eliminated most of her symptoms. She's a swimmer, and yep, better to keep moving when you can.
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Old 08-15-16, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dachshund View Post
For what it's worth my partner has had RA for over ten years and she's been doing Humira injections most of that time. It has eliminated most of her symptoms. She's a swimmer, and yep, better to keep moving when you can.
I believe the injections will be my next move,as my Rheumatalogist wanted to put me on humiera over a year ago. The possible side effects scared me off. Right now I'm on 3 different meds. For the RA. I didn't want to include the humiera injection as inmo it seemed pretty toxic. But I'm running out of choices and alternative medications.

Thank you for your response. I appreciate it.

Gary
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Old 08-17-16, 07:34 PM
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I just turned 55, I have had osteoarthritis in my knees and hands for the last several (6-7) years. The last 8-9 months I have had this nagging mid to lower back pain, went to the Dr. on Monday, x-rays taken, it is now in my spine. I didn't mention the odd hip joint pain to the Dr. but it is likely getting started there also.
I agree with other comments about the riding stretching out the back, it sure seems to help. I love to push for speed when riding, probably more than I should and I pay for it recovering, but I know there will come a time when the pain will be too much and I will have to slow down.
I think it is time to look into yoga to help with flexibility and be able to continue moving as long as possible.
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Old 08-21-16, 11:17 AM
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Cured (So far)

At the age of 59 I was obese and had metabolic syndrome.

I started Intermittent Fasting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to fix that.

On fast days I bike 25 to 35 miles. At least one day a week I do hills.

I don't know if I'm just lucky, but now at age 64, I'm no longer obese and there is nothing seriously wrong with me.

I'll take it.
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