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Better Movement in San Diego


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Your generation deserves to be physically able to do what you want and like to do. You deserve to be challenged so you can live life on your terms as long as possible. It is not an anomaly for baby boomers in San Diego and other generations to be strong, resilient and active while enjoying their retirement or enjoying work. There are four areas that you should be investing your time in when practicing better movement: Strength, Balance, Mobility & Cardio.

Strength

In a podcast, I heard recently Dr. Jonathon Sullivan spoke to the necessity of strength training of older adults. Nothing rings true more than this:

“The loss of muscle mass in aging adults is nothing short of a health catastrophe…”

If you are not strong enough to get out of a chair, pick things up, move yourself and other things it can drastically affect your quality of life. Sometimes individuals tell me that they don’t want to get “too muscular.” You need that muscle. It is important to continue or start training now to be stronger. It is never too late to do some form of strength training.

It can be intimidating walking into a gym. You may not know how to use the equipment. It can be a scene of loud noises, egos and so much going on. Most gyms will provide an introductory tour and show you how to use the equipment. That may not be enough. Perhaps it is better for you to work with a qualified professional to show you not only how to use the equipment but also what you can do without machines to increase your strength.

Wherever or however you choose to work in maintaining or improving your strength – using age as your excuse as to what you cannot do will not get you stronger. Often strength training can help you reduce pain, improve movement and indeed confidence. Do you need proof?

The deadlift may have a special name..but you do a version of deadlift every time you pick things up off of the floor. It is a full body movement. You don’t need to be a powerlifter to do some form of this so you can continue using your legs and posterior muscles to move. Here is the story about this woman. Click here to read it.

Balance

I use the example of a program running in the background when it comes to balance. When everything is going well we don’t really think about balance. But when our balance begins to erode it can take actual concentration to ensure that you don’t fall over. Regardless if you think your balance is good or not – challenging it and practicing better balance is important to better movement in life.

Generally, when we think about balance training it is standing on one foot and balancing. Sure that is a good way to perform balance training. You need to start where you are and if that is very difficult then practice it, and be mindful of your posture at the same time. At the same time, consider that movement is part of everyday life. When you are moving you are using your balance. Often balance is part of a complex movement.

Want to see an example of such a complex movement?

I challenge you to fight that initial reaction you may have that you cannot do this. This and most if not all exercises can be broken down into steps…then once someone is ready they can begin to link them together. I don’t downplay that this movement is challenging…there are so many more things in play here than just balance: single leg strength, coordination, core stability, body awareness…. That is everyday life activity!

The statistics for falls is staggering. Click here to check out the stats on the National Council on Aging website. Balance training is one of the pieces of the puzzle to help reduce chances of falls!

Mobility

What the heck does mobility mean?

In the words of Pete McCall in his article in ACE Fitness online magazine he describes joint mobility as something that:

“…relies upon a constantly changing axis of rotation. The muscle, fascia and elastic connective tissue surrounding a joint function to create movement and provide the stability responsible for controlling joint position while it is in motion. Optimal mobility allows a joint to experience full, unrestricted motion while controlling the constantly moving axis of rotation.”

Let’s back up a bit and make sure you understand the knowledge that he is sharing. I will put it in plain words, your optimal movement is when you can move your joints in a path and way that is natural and optimal for your body. This includes things like being able to raise both hands above your head or hip movement that allows you to comfortably walk, run or move without having to compensate how you move elsewhere.

Often I have found it useful for individuals to do some movement in different directions to help improve mobility. It does not need to be groundbreaking, but it can help you reconnect with your body. This is something that everyone, including myself, needs to do more of. If you make time to exercise in its various forms…making time for mobility work is imperative.

Take a look at some of Ruth’s movements below.

 

Cardio

I put this here because you may be expecting or looking for it. Perhaps you do cardio. Walking, treadmill work or hiking. This can be a good way to get outside. This is a great way to relieve stress and get some vitamin D. There are many benefits to cardiovascular training, check out this great article here.

My advice is this. Don’t feel as if you need to become a runner. If you are walking, hiking or running mix things up. I have heard comments on the fact that someone is walking so many minutes a day and is not really seeing any results. Obviously, there are other factors in play..but what is your walk, hike or run like? Change up your intensity, add some incline, or start timing it to see how far you can get in a certain amount of time. Volume – aka the amount of time you are walking or distance is not the holy grail.

Above all, I encourage you do get your cardio in. However, start at the top of the list! Get stronger. There are is a substantial cardiovascular benefit to strength training. Check this article out.

Wrapping it up…

This is not an exhaustive list of what you should be doing to improve your quality of life. That would be too overwhelming! 🙂 Being physically active and incorporating strength training, working on your mobility, challenging your balance will lead you on a good path to continue to be able to live life on your terms. In San Diego and elsewhere, I challenge you to invest the time in various forms of movement!

Lastly – if this all sounds interesting to you… Click here to learn about and sign up for the: Baby Boomers Better Movement Workshop here in San Diego!!

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3 Movement Lessons You Could Take From Children


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There are lessons on movement that we can take from the generation that is still learning how to function in a world that we are so used to navigating.  Here are three lessons that we could learn from them.

  1. Explore your world on your hands and knees

Generally speaking, children crawl, scoot and move around their world on their hands and knees before they can walk. When is the last time you have been down there? Crawling itself is a great movement that is great for your entire body including your brain. Perhaps you do cat camels/cow stretch on your own or in yoga class. Take a step further and just move around. Stretch your neck, legs, and torso in ways that can get your vestibular system working on more cylinders. Vestibular what? Viola… watch and learn below.

Explore the Original Strength Youtube page for good material. Also from a trainers standpoint…if you got down to the floor, you have to get back up again! It is important that you practice getting down to the floor and back up again. This is an easy thing to do until it is not, then practice how to do it in ways that your body allows.

     2.  Do what you enjoy doing

Children have a gift of tunnel vision and are in the moment (yes for better or worse sometimes!). They enjoy little things, big things and all kinds of things. How does that pertain to you? You don’t have to follow the crowds and walk into a gym if you are not comfortable there. There are many ways that you can exercise that doesn’t involve going into a large gym. You could think on the smaller scale and look to see if there are some more boutique gyms that have a welcome environment for you to benefit from some personal training from. If any kind and size of gym is not the most welcome to you then try sports leagues like tennis or golf. Running clubs often have running groups for all levels and probably one for certain age brackets too. Think you are too old to run? Ask Ida Kneeling about that…

   3.  Do some unscripted movement

I dare you to turn some energetic music on and see a child not start reacting to it. Dancing is not the only type of movement that can be unscripted. They also run or move their bodies in various ways.  If you have space get outside and get your hands dirty in the garden. Nobody is out there telling you when you move to the next station or how many reps to do when you are doing yard work. However, there are so many functional movements in yard work. If you don’t have space or ability to cultivate some life outside then find ways to move that don’t have to do with the stereotypical aspects of exercise. Volunteer, help build houses, find ways to move that you enjoy and can reconnect with your body.

Need some more advice from someone older? 🙂

 

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Start Where You Are…


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It would be an understatement to say that Arthur Ashe, the first black male tennis player was quite an accomplished individual. There is a great quote of his that will be the underlying theme for this post…

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”


Start where you are

  • Start at your current fitness level.
  • Be honest with yourself as to what you can actually do right now.
  • Wherever you physically are, accept and appreciate that.
  • If you are in a place of discomfort because of inactivity accept what you did to bring you to this moment & be empowered that you are doing something about it now.
  • If you feel as if your quality of life and fitness level is good…what are you doing to ensure that it stays that way?

Use what you have

  • Join a community! It could be… a gym, dance class, water aerobics class, or even an online group that holds each other accountable.
  • How can you alter your sleep schedule to get 7-8 hours of sleep?
  • How can you improve what you are eating or your portion sizes?
  • What equipment do you have available at home?
  • What exercise equipment can you get to use at home?
  • Are you already a member of a gym but not using it? It is time to cash in on that investment or use that money in a better way to help your quality of life.

Do what you can

  • Find a sustainable way to improve your quality of life. You can either make sacrifices or investments now…or be forced to do them later.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Get a qualified nutritionist on your team so you are more educated that what you are putting in your body is good for you, specifically.
  • Do you have a gym membership that you are not using? Cancel it and use that money in a way to improve your quality of life that you actually use!
  • Obviously what you can do financially to invest in your health has to meet your budget. Recognize that investing in your health starting now can have positive benefits in the future…but not overnight.
  • Avoid the instant gratification pitfalls. Better movement takes time and consistency!
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Memories Are Built On Movement


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I was leading a group hike in San Marcos and having a great conversation with a woman that was talking about the amazing experiences she has had in her life. She and I were discussing how important little and big moments are in life. She was and is a vigilant person when it comes to her health and well being.

As we rounded a steep hill and came up on the ridge to see the sun burning off the morning fog I was talking about how she was able to what she enjoyed doing. She would not be able to have so many memorable moments in her life sitting in her house. She had to physically move. She had to perform simple and complex movements not only for everyday life activities but other ones that facilitate what she did for work and for enjoyment.

There are times in our life where our focus is on movement. When we are younger it is a learning process discovering our world. Then as we get a bit older and playing is a large part of our development we move in so many ways. As adults, both parts may fall off where jobs, careers or raising a family can become our priority. Injuries sharpen our attention on our bodies as to what we are unable to do or are aware of pain when moving in certain ways.

I challenge you – be more aware of how much movement is a part of your life. It should not have to take injury or pain for you to recognize this. Making this connection is a step in the direction to practice better ways of moving. Sitting back and not being proactive can lead to restrictions on what you can physically do. As you find ways to improve how you move that not only facilitates better movements…but also more memories!

 

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Baby Boomers Guide to Better Movement – Vol 2


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Do Complex Movements

Everyday life activities involve complex movements. Rarely do we isolate one specific muscle when carrying out our daily lives. Not convinced? Think about getting into a car. There are many ways to get into a vehicle depending on how high it is off the ground. However, we don’t just sit down like we do into a chair. At some point, at the least – these things are in play: balance, flexibility, agility, and strength.

Thus, moving better in life involves incorporating complex movements. Walking is more than just using your legs, it also incorporates balance and agility when there are obstacles in the way. Think of these complex movements another way…often when we do move in life we move with weight or moving weight. Carrying groceries, pushing a shopping cart or picking something off the floor are all ways we move that are complex movements. So don’t overthink this idea!

With all of that in mind (pardon the pun)…your ability to perform these movements is something that is not just physical but mental also. Practicing movements is good for your brain.

Examples include:

  • Lateral lunge/step to the side to balance.
  • Squat to medicine ball push out.
  • Performing standing curls or presses with a foot stance that challenges your balance.
  • Starting at the 1/2 kneeling position and then coming up to standing.

 

Be Able To Get Down To The Floor & Back Up

The ability to bring yourself all the way to the ground and back up to standing is probably something that was an afterthought when we were kids. As we get older we may not play as much especially if we don’t have kids or even pets. When the kids are old enough that getting on the floor is not a priority you may not do it as often. For some individuals getting to the floor is not only difficult but it is scary…because they are not confident or able to get back up. This is something that I want all of my clients and you to not be afraid of doing.

That inability and/or lack of confidence is huge. That can greatly increase the chances of falls and injuries. Looping back into the previous section of complex movements…this for sure is a complex movement!

For some ideas on ways to practice this click here. However you do it, don’t worry if it is not perfect. Practice makes better. The more you practice and have that confidence the more you can keep the chances of falls low. If it is easy for you there are many ways to make a floor to standing exercise more challenging.

Do What Works For You – Consistently

It is easy to be assaulted with what works in regards to better movement to improve your quality of life. You may have friends or family that have found success with certain workout routines, diets or gadgets that keep them on track in regards to what they should be doing. End of the day those that tout their success have one thing in common – consistency.

When you just walk every once in a while or go to an exercise class when the spirit finds you then it is not a recipe for progress. It is true that sometimes you may not feel like doing that activity. It is important that you stick to a consistent schedule of movement. It does not have to be the same thing, but a consistent schedule of movement can reap many benefits. You will see that over time there may be a plateau of your progress. When those times happen do not fall into the trap of automatically choosing more volume of whatever activity you are doing.

Variation or variety can be your key to maintaining your quality of life or improving it. For example, instead of going for a leisurely walk outside or on the treadmill – increase your pace. In this instance stick to the mileage, you usually cover and ramp up that intensity to add that variation to your usual walk and make it more of a challenge.

Be Attentive To Your Hearing & Vision

What do your hearing and vision have to do with better movement? Actually much more than you may think…other than the obvious. Everything is connected! Poor vision can negatively affect your balance. Click here to read more about that. This is about your vestibular system.  Curious to know that is involved with that amazing function of our bodies? Check out this overview of the human balance system.

Your ability to hear is connected to more than just than that sense. Hearing loss can bring an increased risk of falls. Yes! Read more about it here.

Don’t Neglect Stability 

First, let’s start with a definition of stability and go from there. American Council on Exercise defines it as: “the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.” Feel free to read more about it here.

Does that help? If not – think about this idea. Think about owning a movement. I am sure you are familiar with the basic dumbbell bench press. The person is on their back on a bench and pressing two dumbbells up and bringing them back down. For sure, there is a time and place to move those weights up quickly. On the other hand can that person “own” that movement and slow it down a bit so there is less momentum so they are forced to be in control of the entire exercise.

What kinds of exercises can improve your stability? Honestly in the right situations slowing down the movement so there is less momentum is one of the best ways to do that. Another example is the dumbbell curls. You could throw up that dumbbell and let gravity pull it back down and do as many reps as possible. Yet a test of stability that is the foundation of strength is raising that dumbbell with the control without much momentum.

Build Your Core Strength and Stability

The core is much more than a 6-pack. Your core muscles are more intertwined with your body outside of that square area below our chest. Learn more about your core muscles here.  Our posture, how we move, sit and carry out our daily life all fires off our core muscles.  A good way to keep lower back pain away is to do core strength and stability exercises. This does not mean doing crunches all day.

Sure you may know about crunches. I personally am not a fan of them as it can lead to neck pain and does not really hit multiple areas of the core musculature. I am a fan of the dead bug exercise. I could write an article about why I do…but why recreate the wheel? Check out Tony Gentilcore’s article about this and also study his videos on mistakes people often make.

Also, all core exercises should not be on the ground. The reason is that we also are using things like balance or strength when we do utilize our core muscles…so why not do that when we are challenging our bodies to improve our core strength? Check out some examples below in the video.

 

 

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50+? 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Strength Training


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Generally, when the words strength training are said we think about Olympic athletes or those individuals in gyms with bulging muscles lifting heavy weights.  Without a doubt, they are strength training. You don’t need to be a superhero…or look like one to reap the benefits of strength training. Also, strength training is not only for the youngins. Everyone should be doing it!

1.

You Need Strength For Your Everyday Life Activities

I see it happen often. Individuals underestimate either how strong they are or how strong they can be. This happens in a gym setting where they may be disconnected to everyday life. Of course, it could be their unfamiliarity with weights. Yet your ability to lift luggage, a bag of groceries and shovel show all take strength. I promise you a gallon of milk weighs more than two pounds. Yet at the same time, a client will insist that she can pick up 2 or 5-pound weight. Do you travel? The maximum amount of weight carryon luggage is currently at 40 pounds. You may have wheels on it but at some point, you have to pick it up and put in the car or pick it up off of the ground. Standing up takes leg and core strength. Sometimes you may be holding something or someone. Do you want to always ask for help getting up or help to put your luggage in the overhead bin?

In everyday life what we move, pick up or carry often does not have the weight stamped on it. Nor are things exactly evenly weighted in everyday life. Even if you do not have a manual labor job – even an office job involves lifting boxes or other everyday feats of strength. Retirement is not best spent on the couch. If you are retired the world is your oyster. Chances are you are living your best life and every day is a weekend. Traveling and being as active as you want all encompass being strong enough to enjoy not having to answer to anybody.

You may have the fear or concern of hurting yourself while strength training. Perhaps you have hurt yourself in the past or want to learn about better form. Even if either or both are true then reach out to qualified professionals that are looking for people just like you to help get stronger.

Also, don’t forget that elephant in the room…BONE DENSITY.

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2.

Strength Can Translate To Confidence In How You Move

Nobody likes feeling helpless. You don’t enjoy being injured or unable to do a task or movement that you see others do with ease. You don’t need a psychology degree to understand the emotional and mental value in moving throughout life knowing you can use your body the way you want.

Read this great article in Self.com about women and the benefits they have seen from strength training. Click here to read it. There is a substantial connection to the emotional benefits of strength training. It is great to see that lightbulb go off when women recognize that they are physically stronger than they thought they were!

If you do play sports the benefits of strength training may already resonate with you. Although there are other things in play like agility, balance, or flexibility…strength is an important component. Are you are a runner? You need to be doing strength training too! Being able to “dig” stronger and more efficiently can help you run better, faster and edge closer to your PRs.

Do you claim not to be an athlete or play sports? I am sure you already see the trick question here. You still have events every day. You do squats, lunges, deadlifts, walk, lift, twist, pull, push every day. Being able to perform all of those movements with ease, or with more ease is key to having the quality of life that you deserve.

There are exercises that mirror everyday life movements or help facilitate better movement in everyday life for a reason!

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3.

Strength Training Has No Age Limit

You are never too old to strength train. Like anything as we get older our priorities change. You understand that to be able to move your body is what is important. There may still be some aesthetic motivation…but trying to get a 6-pack is not as important as being able to play with your grandkids on the floor or having the ability to continue working if you so desire.

If you desire you can still do some movements that not only take strength but are fun and make you feel strong…like the tire flips below.

How can she do this? Why did I have her do this? Martha’s squat form and ablity to squat well with weight translate to flipping the tire. There is some pushing involved with her hands, but when she gets down low to drive up with her legs and hips that is 80% of the work.

The main thing to impress upon you is the necessity for you to strength train and challenge your body. It can be done through bodyweight exercises at first if that is your level of strength. Then in time adding some sort of resistance is key. It does not have to be dumbbells, resistance bands can provide an often underutilized way of increasing muscular strength. Moving with resistance or weight is important to maintain or improve your quality of life. Strength training is for you!

 

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Three Things You Know You Should Be Doing But…


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There are things that we know we should be doing that help improve our quality of life and general health. They are pretty simple. They are often not the most glamorous, page-turning or exciting things. Yet any fitness trends latest drugs or instant gratification aside – not doing these can affect our health in negative ways.

Start with what you know….give yourself credit. You know these things. Be better at doing them. Forget about waiting for new years…every day is a new day!

Drink More Water

You can search for yourself all of the statistics of how much water is in the body, how much water we should drink a day and the like. You know you should be drinking more. You don’t need to watch an exclusive news report or some talk show to get this groundbreaking news. You know this.  Every day you restart your intake. This is a lifelong habit. Making excuses that your organs, skin, brain, and body pay for is not good.

water infographic insta

Get Enough Sleep

Sure, it can be a struggle to get enough sleep every night. Life happens. Stress happens. Insomnia happens. But just letting things run their course and not trying to find a sustainable way to get 7-8ish hours of sleep a night is a bad path to travel. Regardless of how healthy you eat, how rigorous of exercise you get or health craze that is working for you – that can’t replace giving your body the chance to heal, rest and regenerate. Check out the graphic below and click here to read more.

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Graphic Credit: Healthline.com

 

Move Your Body

Yes you know you should. Your body was never made to sit, ride in a car all day or sit behind a desk. The days are not behind you where you can benefit from exercise in various forms. Your body was made to move. Click here to read here an article posted by American Council on Exercise about just that.

Just move. If you are not a fan of the gym then find some other space or activity to take up. Click here to read a great article posted by Tim of Original Strength about this.

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Thoughtful Movement


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It is much more convenient when you don’t really have to think when you are moving. Things become second nature. In everyday life, it can be a plethora of things. We go on autopilot often and muscle memory kicks in.  But there was a time we had to think and focus on how we moved. You were thinking more when we were learning.

It is like when you first learned how to ride a bike or even drive a car. You were probably hypersensitive to your balance and your speed when you were learning how to ride a bike.  As for driving a car balance was not an issue…but all of the things you had to do (check your rear mirror, then your side mirror, check out your speed, turn your signal on, watch for that stoplight) was kind of a sensory overload. Soon all of that calmed down and you got it. It became second nature.

As for your movement now it is a bit different. Perhaps you don’t play as much as you used to do when you were younger. Maybe you are tired of being beat over the head about exercise with a capital E. It could be you feel disconnected from your body.  Whatever it is, you know you need to do something, and you are trying.

I still challenge you to be engaged. If you dance – get into it. Let the music take you but reconnect with your body and play with your movement. If you are going to the gym or doing more conventional ways of exercise don’t just go through the motions. Study. Learn. (…and trying to say you are old won’t fly with me!) I don’t mean be a perfectionist about form. I mean notice your breathing. Learn about the importance of creating tension in your body during a movement and notice how that feels. If you do work with a trainer still don’t turn your brain off. Notice how much weight you are moving with. Be a good student and learn. Take ownership of your sessions.

Exercise is good for your brain and there are definitely ways to move that make you think and be more aware. It can be more like riding a bike again. This way of engaging does not stop at strength or conditioning…stretching and moving in ways to increase your mobility should be a mindful activity too.

You may come up against a barrier. It could be a physical barrier of a range of motion or a mental barrier as to something you think you cannot do or a movement that once lead to injury. Listen to that and don’t pack that away. Being aware of that and allowing that feeling to sit in the present is all about thoughtful movement.

Your brain was firing on all cylinders when you learned something for the first time. Those first times are still now and in your future. You just have to be open to learn, seek out advice and try different things. Allow yourself to learn how to ride a bike again. It can be scary but also exciting and stimulating. Again, you are never too old to learn. You can create more neurological pathways at any age. Read more about it here.

Get on that metaphorical bike & learn. Make mistakes. Avoid comparing your progress to others. Fall and get back on. It is all part of the process of better movement. It feels new and different.

Walk towards more thoughtful movement 🙂

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Balance: The Program Running In The Background


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Your computer, phone or other technology that you use has things going on right in front of you. You make calls, work on documents, send e-mails or other things when you make use of that device. You don’t need to know how exactly your device works to know that there is usually something else going on the background. We usually realize that when things slow down because the program in the background is affecting the main task at hand.

Shifting the focus from your technology to your own body – let’s think about the technology of you. You are out to run errands. You walk out to your car and while shifting something in your hands to free the others you then open your car door and get in. You get to the store, shop and come back home.

The entire time. Every step. The program of balance was running. It ran in the background keeping you steady and on your feet while moving, shifting your weight and carrying things.

Usually, we only notice that a program of balance running when it becomes the main focus or concern of a movement. For instance, you are walking on a narrow surface and want to avoid stepping off of the edge. Or you are balancing with one foot raised to see how long you can do it. Especially when you trip on something and are trying to avoid falling it is a focus. Your focus is all about your balance and moving without falling over. On the flip side, we also notice our balance when our ability to keep our balance while moving has eroded. For example, you notice when you have to really concentrate on not falling when changing direction quickly, getting in and out of a chair or just walking quickly.  All of these instances could be a signal that your balance has eroded.

There is no need to wait until you notice the signs. There is no benefit to waiting and increasing the risk of falling. Also be aware of other things to check like your vision, medication you take or even your hearing. They can negatively affect your balance.

Click here to read about a study that reported how impaired vision can affect your balance.

Click here to learn about how medication can negatively affect your balance.

Click here to find out about research that links hearing loss can increase the risk of falls.

Be proactive. Find ways to dynamically challenge and improve your balance.

Click here to go to the Balance Video Series and find ways to improve your balance.

 

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The Baby Boomers Blueprint To Better Movement – Vol 1


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Your generation is very diverse however in between all of the different lifestyles and priorities there is one idea, in particular, you intersect on. That point is the ambition to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Largely, the first thing that comes to mind are the things you enjoy doing. Next are the things that you need to do in your life and everyday life. However your priorities fall, better movement plays a powerful role in doing what you want to do when you want to do it.

Here are some things to keep in mind to give you some structure.

Avoid Protecting

Pain sucks. I get it. An injury is not fun either. We remember when we were injured especially if it greatly impeded our everyday life. Perhaps after we have healed that episode is imprinted in our head. You may move a bit differently. You may move in ways to avoid that injury that happened. It can include moving more within our range of movement, thus moving less in ways to protect something like our backs. Possibly this is affecting your breathing and you are holding your breath more. You may also be tighter in some areas and not even aware of it because you are engaging certain muscles for longer than you used to do.

Obviously, there is a mental and physical part of the pain. They are intertwined very well.

But there has to be room for movement. There needs to be room to discover ways to improve things like your strength, stability or become more aware of how you are compensating in your movements. Making room for movement does not mean throwing caution to the wind, ignoring pain or acting like you never were injured in the first place. Making room instead includes learning how you can reduce the chances of it happening again through ways of movement or breathing. Making room includes variations like an assisted squat instead of a bodyweight squat. Making room can also include seeking out qualified professionals that can help you. You don’t have to do this alone.

Step Into Strength

Physical strength is used in our daily life. This does not diminish as we get older. Your priorities may have changed in regards to your physical stature but your body still thrives from strength. Leg strength is one of the indicators of your mortality rate. If you do walk that is great. However, strength training builds that foundation for a lower extremity that can take on the terrain of various levels and softness. Building strength means fighting some sort of resistance. Things like claiming that you don’t squats, deadlifts or lunges in real life leads to avoiding the exercises you need to be doing. You do variations of all three exercises in your daily life including pulling, pressing and twisting. Reaching for the lightest weight possible does not translate to lifting, carrying and placing a heavy bag of groceries on the ground.

Stay On Balance

Balance is not a physical attribute. Balance is not a measurable thing like height and weight. It may not be the sexiest like impressive feats of strength or some flexible yoga pose. However, the ability to have the balance to move throughout your life is easy to take for granted. As you move…think of balance is a program running in the background. It runs in the background when you are walking down the street, mounting stairs or picking something up off the floor. That program is running when an obstacle is in your way or when you are carrying the groceries inside.  Don’t wait until the warning signs come to the forefront of balance that has eroded. Remember – your life involves movement. When you do work to challenge and improve your balance incorporate movement.

Train For What You Enjoy

Your life involves movement. Especially when it comes to the things we enjoy doing, we want to be able to move well. You don’t need to be some daredevil to justify practice so you can move better. It should be pretty straightforward – you enjoy golf, swimming, running or hiking? Why not learn how to be stronger, more agile confident and just plain better at those things?  Even if activities like that are not on your list of things to do – again life involves movement. Your life involves various strength exercise, things that take core strength, movements that demand balance and agility.  That joy of movement is what makes things enjoyable and memorable.

Get Out Of Your Head

I don’t know who came up with the quote but loosely paraphrased – the gains largely happen on the days that you don’t want to exercise. When we feel like rocky it is easy to exercise however you see fit. It is those days when it is a bad week, you are not feeling strong or something is just off. Also, don’t expect every time you move to be some monumental step of progress. Often we are practicing a movement and working to perform at it better. We all have different lengths to achieve the goal of a better movement. Lastly, setbacks happen to the best of us and listening to your body is ever so key as we get older.

Sometimes the truth is that you may not be able to do some things physically like you used to do. That does not mean you should give up on learning other ways to move. If you keep on drawing lines in the sand as to what you will not do or try soon you are stuck in a small box of movement. That restriction does not bode well for a quality of life that allows you to do what you want to do – when you want to do it.

Also striving for perfection when it comes to exercise in its various forms can be problematic. Striving to move better and moving towards a goal of moving better than yesterday is a better way to think about exercise. This does not mean you are taking things easy. It just means that moving better is a process. We all have different ways of learning and the rates of which we progress.

Volume Is Not The Holy Grail

Increasing volume in ways like spending more hours exercising, adding more weight or increasing reps is not necessarily the path that leads to a better quality of life. So what if you are walking or jogging for an hour? Is it a leisurely pace and you are wondering why you are not seeing an increase in your cardiovascular health? So what are ways to tweak a workout other than volume?

Four ways to change up the way you move are Time, Intensity, Duration or Variation.

Time

Using the running example, time can be a factor. How far can you get in 20 minutes?

Intensity

The question posed above can also apply to intensity because you are picking up the intensity of the run. Also, you could do some sort of intervals. Let’s say 800 you go at “race pace” and then the next 800 you back off and go slower. You do this for 3 miles.

Duration

Yes, this is volume here. You run for an hour. Of course generally, in this instance, you will not be pushing the pace. You are focused on staying steady and a pace you can stick to. However don’t get comfortable. After you are doing well then it is time to see if you can cover more distance.

Variation

This could be cross training or other ways of running. Maybe you are doing some agility drills like high knees, quick backpedaling or lateral shuffles. All of these and more contribute to you being a more agile and body aware runner.

Do What You Know You Should Be Doing

There are some things that we should be doing that don’t involve a doctor’s prescription, recipe or a how-to manual.  Don’t play dumb. We all are guilty of it. Nobody is good at everything.

Often we gravitate towards some new trend, new diet or fast lane to a healthier us. The boring stuff gets left on the curb. Don’t let that boring stuff get left behind in your routines. Need an example? I am sure you have heard all of the statistics about how much percentage of our bodies are water and the importance of hydration. Yet how many excuses have you given as to why you are not drinking enough water?

  1. It is boring.
  2. It does not taste like much.
  3. I keep forgetting.
  4. There is water in my coffee (So basically, I get enough water).
  5. I don’t like the way it tastes.
  6. I know I should but…

Drink your water, come on. Find what works for you whether it be a bigger water bottle, some sort of routine or a ribbon tied around your wrist. Dehydration is a road that can lead to bad compensations and results.

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