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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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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.

sleep_deprivation_effects_pinterest_crop
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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How Much Do You Want it?…A Better Quality of Life.


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I had a great soccer coach when I was in High School. He turned our team around from dismal seasons to a nearly undefeated record. He instilled in us the drive to improve and to work together during that process. One of the things he said a lot was, “ how much do you want it?” He wanted to pull out of us that drive to be a better team with more wins and more success for the school. His saying can ring true to many aspects of our lives and ambitions.

Often clients answer their own questions when it comes to things that should change to meet their goals. I worked with a woman in her mid 40’s that was in good shape but she wanted to lose some weight. She had a respectable exercise regime of 4 days a week and she was no couch potato. I asked her what she was eating these days. She blurted “oh I love sugar, I know that is my problem.”

She answered her own question, but she still wanted a tough workout to help her lose weight. Sure she could use some tweaks to her workouts. But she quickly admitted that those yummy m&ms were a large contribution to her weight gain. She still kept eating them. How much did she really want to reduce the sugar in her diet?

Another quick story. I hiked with a woman that used hiking poles during her hikes. They can be a great tool for those that do walk. Her balance was pretty good from the brief time I was hiking with her. She mentioned the next day that she noticed that her balance was not what it used to be. She wanted some ideas about exercises she could do to improve her balance when she had the time. I proposed that she leave the hiking poles in her room for her hike. Why? She could also use that opportunity during a hike to practice better balance. Yes, she would have to go a bit slower and focus. However, hiking was the perfect opportunity to improve her balance. It may be a bit uncomfortable and should have to go slower – how much did she want to improve her balance?

When it comes to improving the quality of your life there is no magic pill, 30-day turnaround or one-size-fits-all workout. It takes time. Especially if you have lived years of inactivity, ignoring tightness and pain or only wanted to do easy exercises you may be facing a wake-up call.  The truth is that it takes time, effort and patience to improve or maintain the quality of your life through fitness. Wanting a better quality of life should not influence unsafe or unhealthy ways of forcing the issue.  Improving the way you move is one habit to get into. There may be other lifestyle habits that you may need to learn (or unlearn!).

The benefits of taking this motivational saying to heart reach far to our everyday life. It does not have to be perfection. It does not mean working out 7 days a week and on a strict diet of broccoli and water (which sounds pretty miserable!). It means making small choices that add up to improve your quality of life.

Drink more water. Move more every day. Get enough sleep. Reduce the amount of sugar you are drinking and eating. Get stronger. Improve your balance. Move in different ways to challenge yourself. Enjoy how you move better.

If you have physical restrictions consult qualified professionals that can give you ideas on how you can improve the way you move. Make time to improve the quality of your life. Stop making excuses on what you don’t have time to do. Stop using your age as an excuse.

How much do you want it? 

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