Walking Tall to Avoid a Fall: Part 2

26 Oct

            Last month we looked at “The Senior Foot Shuffle”. We learned factors that cause impaired gait.

The first major cause was emotional trauma or a fear of falling. We also learned that underlying medical conditions can affect the way you walk. The most important finding was that shuffling your feet increases your chance of falling. This month we’re looking at ways to improve strength, balance and confidence so you can walk tall to avoid a fall.

Strength

            A big cause of injury in the elderly is hip fractures. A lack of muscle strength and bone density means your mobility will be impaired. This means engaging in weight bearing exercise that builds muscle. Strong muscles protect your joints. Having strong joints means less injury. Strength training is a great way to build muscle and protect your joints from wear and tear.           

Balance

            When you increase your muscular strength, it’s important to improve your balance as well. This means once again challenging your balance in a controlled setting. I teach people how to go up the stairs and navigate uneven surroundings using specific props. This not only engages the body, but the mind as well. You’re teaching your brain to be prepared. This gives you the confidence to navigate the world around you.

Confidence

Improved confidence occurs when I help someone improve their strength and balance. When your strength improves, you stand a little bit taller. When your balance is improved, you feel more secure. You feel better about your situation. That’s the most important thing to remember. You can do something to help yourself feel better.

Improving your gait requires taking an active approach. The good news is that you can help yourself! If you want to improve your strength, balance and confidence you’ve got to take the first step.

 

A Step Too Far: Why too Much Exercise is Bad for the Body.

18 Oct

Why Too Much Exercise is Bad for the Body.

    I don’t encourage people to dive into exercise full force, especically if they’re just starting out. Even if you’re a seasoned exerciser, I woudn’t recommend making your whole life about exercise. I love moving and it makes me feel good. There’s a point when you’re doing too much and it becomes dangerous. When exercise stops feeling good, then you could be doing too much.

Take it from someone who has worked with people for the past seventeen years as an exercise professional. Too much exercise is a bad thing. I’ve gone through this experience as well. I’ve done way too much and it came back to bite me. You end up feeling lethargic, tired and grumpy. Exercise should feed your positive energy and not drain it out of you. If you’re in the gym seven days a week for hours on end, then I encourage you to really think.

Am I doing way too much and not resting?” People forget that it’s in the rest and recovery time that you get stronger. When you do not take sufficient rest between work outs, then you don’t have an opportunity to recover. If anything, I’ve seen this only increase the chance of injury. Rest is when your muscles grow. There’s no sense working out seven days a week especially if it’s leaving you drained. That’s what I’m referring to. When you work out SO much and there’s no opportunity for rest, it’s counter productive to building strength. Rest is JUST AS important as the work out.

Exercise is about consistency. The more consistent you are then you will develop strength. I say that rest is also about consistency. The more consistent you are with rest, then you will develop strength. So what is the appropriate amout of time to spend exercising? I encourage people to at least average three days a week to start. Between home, work and personal, my clients are spread thin as it is. Three days a week, at least for one hour sessions equate to three hours a week. For most, this is pretty reasonable.

As you develop strength and endurance then adding an extra day per week is reasonable. If you’re in the gym four days a week, then you have three days to rest. In my opinion, this is a happy balance for most people I work with. That’s what exercise should be! A happy balance in order for you to feel energized outside of the gym.

Just remember if your routine is causing fatigue, weakness and lethargy then it’s probably a good idea to cut back a bit. It could mean you’re doing too much. As well, it could mean your nutritional needs are not being met with the amount of energy you put out. If you’re putting out way too much energy and not putting it back in, then you will feel like crap.

Exercise shouldn’t take away from your life or your energy. It should motivate, support and energize you in daily life. It should help you feel better!

Change is Good!

16 Oct

If you’re stuck doing the same old exercise routine, it’s time to change it up! 

      That’s the thing about the human body, it’s highly adaptive. When you learn to do something new, you become more efficient at doing it. It’s no different with exercise. If you’re not changing your routine every few months then you’re probably not going to make any progress. This is why change is good!

     One the biggest mistakes people make is not changing their routine. I know people who’ve done the same things for YEARS on end. They stop seeing results. I’m not surprised by this. They’ve become so good at doing the same old thing. Time for something new! Like I said, your body is highly adaptive. When you present it with a new challenge, it has no choice but to get better. Whether this means changing your exercise routine or taking on a new hobby. The more frequently you change, the better you become. The better you become, the harder you have to work. It’s a double edged sword for sure, but it’s worth the effort.

Being stuck in a stagnant exercise routine won’t get you far. Try something different and you may just see results. I tried kickboxing for example. It was lots of fun! It also taught me speed and agility. Something I’d otherwise not included in my exercise routine. Don’t be afraid to shake it up a bit. It’ll only benefit your body and mind.

 

Here’s to your health!

Strength isn’t About Size

06 Oct

250LBS on Lat Pulldown. Struggling to pull the weight, he throws himself back. I’m cringing. Just waiting for the cable to snap…

He does it all wrong so why does he keep doing it?

One of THE biggest issues I see in the gym is people using WAY too much weight. They aren’t even doing the exercise properly! There’s no sense in doing an exercise poorly with a lot of weight. You’re not impressiong anyone. You’re just increasing your chance of getting injured.

Using a lot of weight doesn’t make you strong. Especially if youy aren’t moving it correctly. You’re just repeating a bad habit. After a while you’re going to get really good at doing things wrong. Don’t mistake using a lot of weight for strength. If you’re not doing it right, that strength is for nothing.

It’s like learning how to play a sport. Weight training is no different. You need to be able to do it well in order to get the best results. Why do we keep doing it wrong?

No one likes admitting they are wrong! People who have no experience should learn from someone who does. I don’t mean an internet personal trainer. Someone in the flesh who has at least ten years experience. If you don’t know who you’re handing your health over to, then you’ll get hurt. Educate yourself on the basics of exercise. If only for your personal safety.

Quality over quantity. Do an exercise with proper form with a weight you can handle. You’re more impressive when you can actually do things right. Breaking your back in the process is not part of the plan. Lifting heavy doesn’t make you strong. Strength comes from developing good exercise habits. When you continue to do something well, you’ll keep it doing it well as you increase the load.

Keep that in mind.

 

 

 

 

Fitness Is More than Physical

04 Oct

     We confuse fitness and wellness with being physically strong. What about the rest of you?

Many people come across as physically fit, yet are emotionally and mentally unwell. Physical fitness is the outcome of being mentally and emotionally well. There are aspects of your life that may be out of whack, so to speak. Perhaps you have an emotional problem stemming from poor relationships. Maybe you don’t have a good relationship with yourself. Emotional disturbances have a distinct impact on physical well being. You can run ten miles every day and think you’re in good shape. If you’re running away from yourself than you may find yourself emotionally & physically spent. You may burn out.

We’re often too hell bent on acheiving physical wellness that we forget to take care of everything else. Stress is a major factor that impacts emotional health. Exercise is an added stress. We add stress on top of more stress, then you’re a big ball of stress. Again, you can be in good physical shape but are you really? You can ignore the emotional and mental stress so long before it manifests itself physically. Are you sleeping at night? Are you able to focus at work? Is your digestive system out of balance? All these symptoms can be underlying emotional problems. Your body is literally in a fight or flight state. This impacts the nervous system and in turn your organ function.

Think of your body as a chain. There are links in that chain to help keep the connection strong. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all links in that chain. If one of those links is broken, then as they say, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” What’s the disruption and how can we address it? You will never reach your peak of physical wellness unless all the other links in the chain are strong. Don’t ignore what’s going on inside. Whether it’s emotional or mental stress, how you manage it can make a great impact on your physical fitness.

Fitness is more than physical.