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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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The Power of Patience When Improving the Quality of Your Life


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One word can be a driving forward force or a weight that can hold you back from reaching goals that involve improving the quality of your life.

Patience.

When it comes to patience and improving the quality of our life being patient with ourselves and the process is what the bricks that line the street to our goals are made of. This could be patience in listening to your body after an injury and to adjust, recover and learn from what happened. Or being patient and understanding that losing weight takes time, regaining your mobility takes time, getting stronger takes time, as does regaining your body awareness. None of these happen overnight. Understand that chiseling away at any of these takes time.

If you are working to regain something like strength or balance – understand that it did not erode overnight. That took time. The kind of strength training you were doing was not sufficient or consistent enough. Think about the amount of time it took for your balance to become so challenged that you started noticing it. It was more than a span of weeks or months. That took years. Initially, it may not have even been noticeable. Perhaps as it became apparent it was not addressed.

Think about how over the years bad posture can add up. For example, wearing shoes that are not good for your body (like heels!). Or ignoring a nagging tightness that adds up to some sidelining pain. It has a snowball effect.  I don’t point this out for you to beat yourself over the head about that amount of time.

I instead point this aspect of time to give you a perspective. I understand if you are frustrated and want that goal for your health to be reached tomorrow. Especially in this day and age of instant gratification, instant text messages and especially ads that infer that they can get you quick results you become accustomed to thinking like that. Often this is not the case. If it does happen it can be questionable if that movement improvement is truly sustainable.  Recognize instead the power in doing something about your health and well-being. That empowerment can be exciting and stimulating. This commitment takes work and I see and hear many testimonials from individuals that have come far because of their own work and the help of other people.

Obviously being patient and giving excuses are completely different. For example, being patient while improving your hip mobility does not mean doing mobility exercises every once in a while. Instead, this means being patient with not seeing immediate results when consistently doing the mobility exercises. This patience includes recognizing the small improvements as they add up to big ones. Setbacks are frustrating and they can shatter our patience. You are human and you feel things. After you allow yourself to feel what you feel – while pressing reset and putting the pieces back together, be patient with the rebuilding process. As you put the pieces back together, think about how that setback happened and how you contributed to it.

Finally, Practice patience with your process. You could feel as if you are doing all of the right things and you are not seeing the results that you seek. Nothing can be more frustrating than that feeling. If you feel stuck improving the quality of your life, reach out to allies, fitness professionals and other qualified health professionals who can guide you down the right path to your goals. When you find someone you trust that takes your goals and interests to heart, understand that they see the long-term benefits to seemingly sometimes small choices.

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How Fit Can You Be Over 50?


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This question may come to mind when fitness and healthcare professionals strongly encourage various forms of exercise. How much “in shape” or “fit” do I need to be?  Many articles and studies highlight the numerous physical, neurological and cellular benefits to exercise.

The best answer is to turn the question back on you…how fit do you need to be to carry out the physical demands of your everyday life? What can that entail?

  • Sitting down.
  • Getting up.
  • Stepping to the side and reaching for something.
  • Reaching up to get something.
  • Carrying heavy items on one side while walking.
  • Turning to see what is around you.
  • Walking up stairs or on uneven ground.
  • Conditioned enough not to be winded at the top of the stairs.
  • Clothing and bathing yourself.

The list goes on…

This physical ability to carry out everyday tasks is also called your functional capacity.

Another way of phrasing this is – what do you enjoy doing and what do you need to do physically to be able to do it? Vacations? Visiting and playing with grandkids? Hiking trips? Running marathons? Enjoying the sites at a national park? Everything that brings you joy incorporates some sort of movement, regardless if that just means walking across the floor to open the door for a family member.

To answer the question one way: You should be as fit as your life demands.

This idea means you should not structure your life around your bodies limitations especially if they include your functional capacity. Instead, you should practice, exercise, and “train” to be able to do what you want to do easier and with less thought about how your body is moving.

Another way to answer the question is: Be as fit as you can possibly be.

Striving to be fit is a lifelong journey. As we age we may have to adapt and change the ways that we do exercise, but that does not mean we stop challenging ourselves. The more you move better every day you are rewarded with independence, confidence, and peace of mind that you don’t let your age determine what you can or cannot do.

To be clear, being “fit” is more than strength (although it is important, as especially leg strength is associated with morality).

It is also the power to move quickly if necessary.

It is also the agility to be able to walk over and around objects.

It is also the balance to be able to walk, bend, carry things and do things simultaneously.

It is also the mobility and flexibility to move your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, neck, and shoulders.

It is also the ability to be able to get to the ground and stand back up.

 

You CAN be fit over 50. You deserve to live the life you want to live!

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How You Can Re-Define What Aging Means


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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!

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