Elderly Fitness

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You Are Not Broken


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One thing that the fitness industry generally fails at is making people feel as if they are a glass half empty. That theme intertwined with fitness makes you think about what you can’t do, can’t do well, can’t do what you used to do, or can’t do at all. Of course, I am not the only person in the world that wants you to recognize what you can do right now and build on that. There are countless individuals not just in the fitness industry that spread this idea. It is just that more often than not exercise is phrased in a punishment way or something you have to hate doing the entire time.

Feeling broken in a physical way can come in many definitions. I would assert that they all connect at the idea that you are unable to physically do something that you used to be able to do or do with ease. The effect of this feeling can include things like: (1) Starting to edit your movements in life to strategically avoid those movements that lie at the heart of that feeling of broken (2) associating a negative feeling to a side/limb etc. i.e. “that is my bad side” or (3) feeling as if there is no hope for any kind of movement that moves in that direction.

There is no way to sugarcoat how defeating and depressing that feeling can be. I have seen it in the body language of clients without them having to talk about it. Asking to help to move better in a way that you have had difficulty with is not easy. There is a fear of making the pain worse. There is also the fear of doing something “wrong.” Some people have told me that they literally can’t do something like a squat. They have that shiny fitness video portrait of a perfect deep squat probably with heavy weights. These same people do a variation of squats every day in everyday life…they just fear that expectation of a cookie-cutter or “perfect” squat.  Once they let go of meeting that a picture-perfect standard, they can practice better movement and build on that to move better. And guess what? They can move better than they thought they could.

Your body is made to move. I could care less how old you are. You are supposed to explore and enjoy your body through movement. There are many things we all do every day of our lives that we easily take for granted. You rolled out of bed and got up. You have the eye-hand coordination to pick things up and put them somewhere else. You have the ability to look over your shoulder. You can walk without any gait issues. The list can go on and on. In perspective, you or someone you know has a difficult time doing one of these or other movements. That can really put movements that can be nothing but an afterthought in perspective.

Start with now. Start with how you move now. Accept ownership of how you have arrived at this point in your state of fitness. Take credit for the good things. Also take the blame for inactivity, bad diets or other things that crept up over time. Now it is time to put that aside and practice. Find ways to practice better movement. Especially if you have the dedication to adopting good habits, move in ways that strengthen your movement foundation or work with someone that is good at both…you can reap great benefits.

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Keep Muscular Atrophy at Bay


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Strength training generally is associated with the “mirror muscles.” The mirror muscles can include biceps, that elusive 6-pack or muscular or toned legs. Those are great and all but muscles help us move not just look good. Muscles help us lift that bag of dog food up and into the trunk. These muscles allow us to reach down pick up a grandchild and play with them. Life involves strength. Life involves the power to come up out of chair with speed and control.

Atrophy is what we want to keep at bay as much as we can. When we are younger we may not be thinking about atrophy.  Atrophy is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue.” When it comes to adults as we get older is that muscular atrophy can happen as an effect of aging.

Here is an excerpt from a great article by Harvard Health about preserving muscle mass… “Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade…” Click here to read more of this article.

Strength training is for every age and gender. The amount of pounds we use when strength training may be less as we get older.  What should not change is the challenging nature of strength training. Gentle exercise does not keep atrophy as bay. Challenges are subjective when it comes to strength training. To keep muscular atrophy at bay for as long as possible incorporate strength training into your regime!

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The Scarlet Letter B


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You know that story. Here is a super duper short cliff notes version… a girl has to wear the scarlet letter A and it is not fun. It is her badge.

When we read that story we all knew we did not want to wear that label around. Not only would others make opinions about you but also you would internalize it. Our goals, aspirations, and joys rarely find their way to us in a straight line. We have struggled with different modalities. The challenges can be mental, physical, financial or a mixture that includes other ones.

What this short post is – it hones on your body. Your body is there for all of life. There are emotions tied to how we move. There are emotions tied to when we can’t move how we want to. A temporary physical setback like stubbing your toe is annoying. After that sore toe heals, it passes it can be a mere afterthought. Bigger things like chronic pain and discomfort in your knees, hips, or shoulders can affect your daily life. Especially if you can see a scar or your gait is noticeable you have a constant reminder. It can be an understatement that this is frustrating.

It can be easy to start attaching that emotion to your body parts. It is like a personal version of a check engine light that is on in your car. You know there is something wrong and there is a constant reminder every time you turn the key. As for your body every time you roll out of bed or do a certain movement you may be unconsciously “protecting” when you move.

Describing that body part is tied to emotions. Instead of your left or right shoulder, it becomes the bad right shoulder. There is an expectation and assumption that it will cause you pain or discomfort in any way that you move it. I have worked with many people that use that description when I am working with them. I have them switch to that side or move in a certain way and they will say out loud “oh this is my bad side.” Sometimes they will feel what the expected, and sometimes they will not and be surprised. Either way, I correct them and I urge you to describe it as your “other side.”

Especially when you introduce variations of a movement, practice breathing or mobility techniques you can be surprised by how you feel. You may not be using your full range of motion, but you are moving in a way that is with less discomfort or pain. Wearing that scarlet letter B can hinder you being open to the possibility that you can move in ways that are better.

I challenge you to try every day not to put that that scarlet letter B on every time you wake up and go on with your day. Find ways to move. Find ways to move differently. Be open to learning ways to move that can reduce comfort or pain even if it is a 10% difference. You just may be surprised by the outcome over time.

 

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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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