Balance Training

Blog

Exercise Without Assumptions – Train For Agility


No Comments

We rarely enjoy it when individuals make assumptions about us based on our beliefs, how we look or our age. When it comes to moving better and exercise don’t let assumptions about your potential hinder you. Regardless of your age, you should be training for a physical experience – life.  I strongly believe that age should not restrict someone from moving better. You can read more about it here.

Agility

Agility is defined by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as:  “how accurately and rapidly a person can change direction; involves the stages of acceleration, stabilization, and deceleration.”

With that definition in mind, a scenario may also help hit it home as to how important agility is.

It is a sunny day in San Diego. You are walking down a sidewalk and a couple is walking the opposite way busy with an excited conversation. One of them was holding their toddler’s hand who has a stuffed animal in her hand. As you say good morning and they pass the toddler decides it a perfect time to toss the stuffed animal right in front of you.  You were walking at a comfortable pace, but stop and quickly step to the side so as not to step on the animal.  You then reach down, pick it up with one hand and quickly catch up with the parents that did not see the “offering” and hand it back to them.

Let’s break this down, in terms of agility.

  1. You had to come to an abrupt stop and simultaneously step to the side.

This is the deceleration that was mentioned in the definition. If you didn’t have the agility (and balance!) coming to an abrupt stop could end in a fall or a trip. Of course, you also had the option to step over the stuffed animal too. That would also be using agility as you would react and step over an object and clearing it so you did not trip.

There is also the simultaneous sidestep. I am sure you guessed by now this takes some coordination to be able to judge how far to move your foot over and stop at the same time once you moved. Again, balance plays an issue as stopping and moving to the side can test ones balance if it has eroded.

  1. You picked up something and simultaneously started moving in another direction.

Here you are not only moving but moving with weight in your hand. Sure, this stuffed animal may not weight much. However, it still takes stabilization to move. Why? You were in a lowered position and pivoted in another direction with the animal in your hand. You had to stabilize and move. If you did not have the agility and balance doing this simple movement could have resulted in a trip or a fall.

  1. You picked up your pace to catch the family.

Acceleration occurred at the point where you grasped the animal and moved in an opposite direction. This aspect of agility is important so you can move quickly and with confidence. It was not a slow walk, as you would not be able to overtake the family. The parents were busy talking to each other so trying to get their attention would not help. Of course, you can argue that you could have decided to keep the stuffed animal for yourself 🙂

Food for thought: How do you think the scenario would have gone if agility was a problem?

I hope that this example helped hit home the importance of agility in everyday life. We all could use some “practice” in agility. You see on TV of athletes doing agility training so they can move better on the field of play. In your life – where you move is your field of play. Click here to read my other post regarding the importance of training for balance too!

Train for agility so you can move with confidence and enjoy the quality of life that you deserve!

newsletterclick

Freeconsultclick-2

Blog

How You Can Re-Define What Aging Means


No Comments

Think about your average commercials or the way in which individuals over 60 are depicted. Often in society “old people” are depicted as hunched over, frail and as if their best days are behind them.  This stereotype of a lack of mobility or range of motion, fragile nature, inability to do want to do in life does not have to be the quality of life for you. I urge you not to internalize this…or if you are a family member don’t allow that to affect how you view your loved ones and their potential.

In reality, that picture described above is and can be different. People are going on trips of a lifetime, running marathons, in the best shape of their life, continuing to move better and training to be stronger…all of the above and more. That can be you.

There is no mold, you can train for the life that you want to live.

How can you re-define what aging means to you?

  • Move better every day. Strive for progress in your movement, think of getting better at exercising as practice to do better over time.
  • Tap into what motivates you to move your body. Join a dance class, join an exercise class at the YMCA, join a hiking club..the possibilities are endless!
  • Be consistent about moving every week…but embrace variation.
  • Challenge your balance and agility. These are key to having a quality of life that you can enjoy and independence you deserve. Just being strong is not enough. Be a better walker, stair climber, better movement in your life.
  • If you have fallen, don’t let that define you. Find qualified professionals that can help you improve your balance and agility so you can decrease your chances of falling again.
  • If you have a disability you can still find ways to move better to improve your quality of life. Exercise is a flexible and adaptable way of moving and it comes in many, many forms.
  • Change your mindset that your best days are behind you. If you strive to move better every day you can continue to do what you want to do and like to do…or lead your life with more independence and confidence. You choose!
  • Take ownership of any chronic conditions that you have and discuss with your doctor how to reduce symptoms and how certain types of exercise can help.
  • Reach out to allies in your community that are experienced, qualified and excited to work with you and help you move towards your goals.
  • Never think that you are too old to learn something. Often exercise, especially when trying something new is a learning process. Be patient with the process. Also, that learning aspect along with exercise is great for your brain!

Choose the path that leads to a lifestyle and quality of life leads to you being able to do what you like and want to do!

newsletterclick

Freeconsultclick-2

Blog

Squashing the Myths About Exercise for Older Adults – Part 2


No Comments

Despite our cultural depictions of aging, we all have the ability to age well with the strength, agility and balance to maintain our quality of life and the activities we enjoy. Traditional exercise programs, and even many fitness professionals, often disregard the ability of mature adults and seniors to maintain and gain qualities like strength and agility.

Regardless of age, we should all make the time to move, exercise, or play. Let’s squash one of the myths that hold mature adults and seniors back from moving better:

2. It is too late to exercise or You’re too old for that

This myth seems to be based on a limited and subjective definition of “exercise.” Exercise does not have to happen in a big box gym, nor do you necessarily have to be wearing fancy exercise clothes. (You don’t have to wear leg warmers, tights and a headband unless that’s what motivates you!)

Consider all the activities that can contribute to exercise and fitness. For example, building and tending to a garden incorporates squatting, lunging, digging, pulling, dragging, pushing, core strength, carrying objects, and more. If you don’t have the space (or interest) to be a neighborhood farmer, then going for hikes, joining a rec league, pilates, enjoying the social, mental and physical benefits of Tai Chi, or trying out some group exercise classes at a gym/pool are all great ideas.

If you have a favorite park or enjoy walking in your neighborhood? Start there! Finally, if you do want a gym, shop around and find one that you are comfortable at. Independent gyms vary greatly. Find one that you’ll enjoy and will continue going to rather than paying for a membership that you are not using.

Find the exercise that fits your preference and lifestyle. Do something that YOU enjoy doing!

Blog

Exercise Without Assumptions – Train For Balance


1 Comment

We rarely enjoy it when individuals make assumptions about us based on our beliefs, how we look or our age. When it comes to moving better and exercise don’t let assumptions about your potential hinder you. Regardless of your age, you should be training for a physical experience – life.  I strongly believe that age should not restrict someone from moving better. You can read more about it here.

Balance

When you walk, run, climb stairs, get in and out of a car you use balance. It doesn’t take actually standing on one leg during your day for your balance to be tested. Merely shifting your weight can be difficult if your balance has eroded. If you don’t take the time to test your balance regardless of your age – your ability to use your balance over time will decrease.

The good news is that you can re-train to improve your balance.

Consider changing your stance when you are doing some upper body movement that you enjoy doing. For example – curls or presses with two dumbbells are often done in a neutral stance. Your feet are about shoulder width apart and you are doing all the work in your upper body.

Consider changing where your feet are at next time you do curls or presses. A staggered stance – with one foot back will test your balance. Or an individual could do the exercise with a narrow footprint – feet close together. In both instances, your balance will be tested.  Often I have clients do is a rear lunge and then a press. Thus, I ask them to perform a rear lunge and stick it and stabilize before pressing the weights. Very quickly they will see how challenging it can be especially since they have to do it in steps and not just throwing the weight up. An option is to instead step back instead of a full lunge and driving the back knee down.

Especially as we age having good balance will keep you out of the hospital and greatly reducing the risk of falls. It is one thing to be able to do a 350 lb double leg press on a machine. This feat does not translate if the person has difficulty walking upstairs or stepping up onto a curb because their balance is not good.

What is good balance? Generally, good balance is being able to shift your weight, walk and do everyday life activities without an unsteady or unstable gait. Of course conditions like arthritis can affect how you shift your weight. If you do enjoy going for walks and feel as if you can’t anymore consider getting some walking poles.  You can still move better within your chronic conditions.

Test your balance in however you choose to exercise. It can be done by seeing how long you can hold a leg up. Just remember our bodies move in life as a unit. When you want to really test your balance you should be moving. This movement can include lunging or moving with weights. Just remember to mix things up and change your foot pattern.

Of course, consult your physician before starting an exercise program. Medications can affect balance so it is important to understand what the side effects can be from a qualified professional.

 

Train for life!

Blog

Maintain or Improve Your Functional Capacity


1 Comment

Take a moment and take an honest look at your health and ability to move well. This doesn’t just mean being able to lift, shoulder press or leg press an impressive amount of weight. Moving well includes being able to sit down and stand up without having to rock or use the arm rests. This also includes the balance, strength, and power to climb stairs. Even if you may have restrictions because of issues like chronic disease or arthritis you can still strive to improve your quality of life and move well within those restrictions.

Challenge yourself – if you are moving well right now what are you doing to make sure that as you age that does not change? If you are not moving well right now what are you doing to improve your physical ability?

Take a look at the below graphic. It is a simple and straightforward way of thinking about aging well. To explain what a functional capacity means – think about your daily life. Think about those daily activities that you need perform every day. These activities include what you need to do to maintain your health and well-being.  This capacity includes being able to go to the bathroom to pick up an object off the floor.

functionalcapacitygraph.JPG

I also challenge you to also include the things that you want and like to do. That capacity includes being able to get in and out of a sailing boat, competing in a triathlon or getting on the ground to play with the grandkids. What do you want and like to do? What do you have to improve so you can do those wants and likes easier or with less discomfort?

Maintaining your independence involves having that functional capacity. Maintaining your quality of life involves being able to move how your life demands. Introducing more or different ways of exercising will not only help you physically but also mentally and neurologically. Stay “in the green” and on the right path of a good functional capacity for your life!

 

Blog

Nine Fitness Tips & Tricks for Mature Adults


4 Comments

Mature Adults are an ever-growing population. As we get older we can still keep, regain and improve our fitness level which includes endurance, balance, and agility. You are never too old to start exercising.  You are never too old to continue to improve your life by moving. This is your opportunity to preserve if not increase your quality of life – empower yourself!

  1. Talk to Your Doctors. It should go without saying that before entering into an exercise program you should consult your doctor. Other reasons can also include the medications you are currently taking that can already affect your balance or impact your workout in other ways. Get those eyes checked too. Especially as our vision does change over time we may not realize if it is fact has.

Yoga & Tai chi are good ways to train & regain balance.png2. Think Outside the Box. You can enjoy an exercise regime at your local big gymnasium. On the other hand, other individuals don’t find such an atmosphere appealing. Either way, don’t force yourself to do whatever everyone else is doing or what works for your friend or loved one. Ideas for other ways to improve your health through moving include: hiking, taking dancing lessons, building a garden or training for a 5K or marathon. You don’t want to commit to a single thing? Then don’t!

Copy of make your vision a reality.png

Mix things up on your own or join Class pass, Lymber or other options that give you the opportunity to sample out different studios and gyms. Regardless of what you do, keep your body guessing & sprinkle in some variation.

3. Stretch and Cool Down. It is important to continue (and even increase the length of time that we do it) stretching and a good cool down as we get older. Sure you can still run the basketball court at full tilt with the youngins. But you need to incorporate some dynamic movements into your workout to prime that body better to do what you expect it to do. Keeping those joints lubricated and fostering mobility is key to keeping you off of the injured list.

4. Test Your Balance. Like everything else that changes in us as we get older is our balance. This does NOT mean that we lose it. Remember that saying – Move It or Lose it? Yes, that applies here too. Read for yourself about the importance of balance training for older adults.

IMG_9452.jpg

5. Thumbs Up To Strength Training. Some time of resistance such as dumbbells, body weight, resistance bands, sandbags, kettlebells machines etc. The numerous benefits include improving your bone density, helping to maintain your weight. Think about training for life. You need strength to do many movements that seem effortless because we have the strength and endurance to do so. Don’t wait until you are having difficulty carrying those groceries or squat down to get something off the floor. Improve your quality of life & avoid falling into the pit of thinking that you can’t preserve or even improve the strength that you do have. As with anything involving fitness keep on challenging yourself but allow for the time to learn and improve.

Check Out.png6. Think About What You Are Eating. Okay, do more than think – study. There is no denying that what you put in your body will not only affect your mood but also how your body runs and your fitness level. Take accountability of this fact. However, this does not mean being completely strict to the point that eating is a chore full of math and calculations. It does not have to be. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a qualified nutritionist that can help you on your lifelong path of health.

7. Improve Your Posture. Improved posture can be a byproduct of a moving in ways that get you on the fitness train. Contribute to that by looking at what you are putting our your feet every day. Yes, heels are bad for you. Maybe by this point that is not going to change this quickly – then take the first step to being proactive. Start showing your feet, calves and rest of your body some love and do the stretches. Also, it is time to ditch those favorite pair of workout shoes. Treat yourself and exercise on some old soles that are not making those knees happy. If yoga or other mind/body forms of fitness are of interest to you reset your body often so it does not get stuck in that sitting down all day or other habits that lead to bad posture.

say no to gimmicks

8. Avoid Gimmicks or Jumping on the Latest Fad. As the saying goes, if it is too good to be true definitely applies to fitness and your health. Do your research as if you were buying a used car, investing in a house or some other big transaction. This should be no different if not more important – this is your body. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For sure try out new things, just understand that there is no one-size fits all aspect to fitness and one’s progress.

Kid, consistent9. Whatever You Decide to do, Keep Doing It!  Securing a membership at the most killer studio with amazing equipment, flexible hours and great staff on hand to help you is awesome. But if the only thing you are doing is paying membership every month then that should be canceled asap. Setting up a walking date with a friend 3 days out of the week or committing to walking the dog longer every week is something to build on. Stick to something that you enjoy doing & set yourself up for success. Often gathering momentum is the hardest part, but be assured it takes effort to achieve your fitness goals!

 

Blog

Mobility & Balance – Move it Or Lose It!


3 Comments

Being able to move freely or easily is something can be taken for granted. Reaching back to put up your hair could be an automatic motion for you. You could not even fathom that tying a jacket around your waist to be an arduous task. Or let’s talk about your balance. It could be something that you only think of when you see gymnasts or when you try standing one leg. Walking up stairs seems more like an increase in elevation than a balancing act.  In addition, shifting a bag of groceries while walking does not seem like your balance is tested.

Mobility and stability are something that makes moving throughout life easier. When an individual is unable to do everyday tasks, this will affect their lives and well-being. Becoming empowered to regain one’s mobility and balance will put him or her on a path to being more self-sufficient, more confident and improve their way of life.

Yoga & Tai chi are good ways to train & regain balance.png

What happens when mature and seniors lose their mobility and stability? If we don’t know someone like this we may pass them on the street or help them at the grocery store. This lack of good physical performance has a cumulative effect.  There was a study published in 2015 – Age-associated declines in muscle mass, strength, power, and physical performance: impact on fear of falling and quality of life.  A excerpt is quoted below.

Summary: This 3-year longitudinal study among older adults showed that declining muscle mass, strength, power, and physical performance are independent contributing factors to increased fear of falling, while declines of muscle mass and physical performance contribute to deterioration of quality of life. Our findings reinforce the importance of preserving muscle health with advancing age.”

The facts are glaring. In San Diego 1 in 3 seniors fall each year. In 2013 in San Diego 17,224 seniors were treated and discharged from Emergency Departments. San Diego Elderly Falls Report.

geeksme-gfitness-stairs-escaleras-deporte
Even though we may not consider climbing stairs as using balance…we do balance. When walking at some point one foot is off the ground and you are balancing while in motion. Photo Credit.

And you know what was two of the things that the fall was caused by? Yep, you got it – balance & mobility.

What can be done to decrease this chance of falling? Yes, exercise.

No matter what your age stay empowered to choose to move in the so many forms of exercise. If you don’t move it, eventually you will lose it. The good news is that it can be regained. Seek out your doctor to learn how other factors such as medication can affect your mobility and balance. Get cleared to exercise. Then seek out a qualified professional that can help you move better.

You have a great sense of balance and your mobility is good? Great, don’t stop! If you are feeling challenged seek out those that are qualified and excited to help you move better.

-Damien

Blog

Five Reasons To Incorporate Balance Training Into Your Workout


No Comments

 

Balance is more than just standing on one leg. It is important in so many activities that we do daily. Here are just five of numerous reasons why you should spice things up with some balance training when working out.

  1. It improves your joint stabilization. Stabilization is “the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.” Thus, to break it down you can be able to stay strong and steady when walking up a flight of stairs with a heavy bag of groceries in one hand. Or if playing sports, running etc. and you don’t have a good joint stability you can run the risk of tearing or stretching a ligament.

 

IMG_20160712_084246
Having some fun going for a hike up & over this terrain is much more fun when you have some good balance.
  1. We live in an unstable world. Even if you don’t consider yourself athletic – you still balance every day. Getting out of the car, walking up stairs, going for a hike in the wilderness are all instances of balance plays a part in your life. Sure, you may not be walking a tightrope – but better balance means better reaction time or better coordination. For instance – tripping over a crack on the sidewalk and catching yourself takes balance. Thus, you are more aware of where you are in space and can better react with good balance.
  1. It strengthens your core. An example would be a single leg deadlift – even without any weight you are firing off the stabilization muscles in the planted leg. Of course, the rest of the body is attached and you are focusing on staying upright. The muscles around your spine and abdominal area are activated also. Your core is much more than that 6-pack. Keep that core strong so it can support the spine, pelvis and joints. You bend better, you lift better you can shift things away from your body better. Play sports? Compete? You are a more powerful athlete or competitor.
  1. Stronger core =’s better posture. With better posture then it means that the deck is stacked properly. When bad posture creeps in the body is smart – it compensates. But when the body compensates then that is when the chance of injury or tightness will occur. Everything is connected in the body. Just got some new sneakers and noticing that your knees stopped hurting? That is an example of how the shoes affected your posture. Now imagine if it is something inside of you that is not as stable and strong.
  1. Fall Prevention. Yes, this is a risk for individuals when they are getting older. It was noted that in San Diego “one in three older adults (65+) falls each year.” Balance is one of the reasons for these falls. For that reason, it is important to improve and challenge your balance in various exercises. Any age group can benefit from this and it is important to keep on incorporating it as we get older. In addition, those who play sports that are moving in all directions also benefit from this as it substantially improves their athletic performance.

Sprinkle in some balance training into your workout regime. Regardless your age or your athleticism, it is an important component to a stronger, stable, confident and fit you!

-Damien