In my years as a physical therapist and restorative exercise specialist helping adults age well, I’ve realized aging well has more to do with mindset than any lack of knowledge of health. The adults I encounter who age well both view aging as a positive experience and maintain a strong mind-body connection as they age. The clients I’ve worked with have inspired me to do a lot of research over the years on healthy aging and these quotes have all inspired me along the way. I hope they do the same for you.
“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic. Shame can damage self-esteem and quality of life as much as externally imposed stereotyping. Becoming an Old Person in Training is a political act, because it derails this shame and self-loathing. It undoes the “otherness” that powers ageism (and...
Wanting to gain some strength while improving your floor mobility? Try out these 3 simple but powerful floor mobility drills. A few things to keep in mind as you try these:
You’ll get more out of them if you move as slow as you possibly can. I mean painfully slow.
If you only get part of the way through the motion and find yourself plopping back on the floor, grab a few bolsters like a cushion to raise the level of the surface you're sitting on. Bolstering means meeting your body where it’s currently at and allowing you to work within your given range.
This is an example of taking a bigger movement like floor transfers and breaking that movement down into smaller pieces to improve your technique and expand your options. You can do this with any skill, it’s super fun!
Incontinence. Even reading that word made you want to turn away. It’s an initial warning sign that the strength of your pelvic floor is compromised in some way and no longer has the strength to hold the contents of the pelvis. The initial symptoms are leaking urine and can progress to the point of pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic health is the conversation no one wants to have, so, unfortunately, incontinence has become all too common. And millions of people are suffering in silence. And with the number of incontinence products and adult diapers popping up in stores, we’ve normalized the issue. But being incontinent at any phase in your life is anything but normal. And people feel hopeless for a solution.
There are several different types of incontinence. I won’t get into the technical definitions here but will describe how you know if you’re experiencing incontinence. If you find yourself leaking every time you...
“How do I live a healthier lifestyle?” is one of the most common questions I’m asked as a physical therapist and movement coach. There is an infinite number of technical tips and interventions I can educate my clients on, but the reality is none of them matter until we first address our the most basic levels of our health and beliefs surrounding our health first.
In my years of practice, I’ve noted common patterns of thoughts and habits among individuals who lead overall healthy lifestyles and consistently meet their health goals. And on the other hand, sets of habits among those who continue to fall short of living the life they dream of living.
There are several layers to living a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t help to focus on the more advanced layers until you have a solid base in place. Like any other skill in life, we need to master the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques. The base of healthy life choices addresses the...
Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the upper spine, and in today's video, we discuss the health implications of developing kyphosis.
Kyphosis is most often thought of as an aesthetic issue, but it goes far beyond appearance. Kyphosis impacts how your ribcage and the vital organs it holds function. It can also limit the functionality of the muscles and joints surrounding the ribcage. It can also impact the bone density of the vertebrae.
Kyphosis is caused by a combination of forces throughout the upper back. Muscle imbalances that pull the spine in this position are created by our movement habits, including excessive time spent sitting in front of computers and on cell phones.
The great news is that this problem is reversible and preventable!
More than two-thirds of pregnant women report low back pain and up to one-fifth report pelvic pain during pregnancy. Reports of pain tend to increase later in pregnancy and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and work. About 20% of women who experience low back or pelvic pain during pregnancy report persistent pain for up to 3 years following pregnancy.
Chronic pain is complicated and much research in recent years has revolved around the term “pain catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing is a process of becoming fixated on pain, magnifying the effects of it, feeling helpless, and expecting negative outcomes associated with pain.
Research shows that those who catastrophize are more likely to develop persistent chronic pain and disability. Women who demonstrated pain catastrophizing during their pregnancy were found to be less likely to have been active throughout their pregnancy and more likely to develop persistent pain after.
The recommendation of daily physical activity...
“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic.” -Ashton Applewhite
When most people talk about aging, they portray this picture of decline. Hold onto this misguided belief the best years are behind them. Sadly the anti-aging message is pervasive in our society. And the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speaks volumes about our views on aging.
But what if instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does that change this image?
There isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age. Nothing more. By telling ourselves we've gotten "too old to..." we initiate the process of decline. If we'd just admit that yes, we are in fact getting older, embrace this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth we’d...
A staggering 28% of adults in the US over the age of 65 live alone. In recent years, a substantial amount of research has found on isolation in our later years increases the risk of adverse health events. Older adults who feel isolated are more likely to develop chronic disease, depression, and dementia. Isolation also increases the risk of mortality.
On a similar note, one of the most common concerns I hear from clients in the clinic is the lack of social support in reaching their health goals. They express that it’s difficult to make healthier choices because of others around them, or a lack of people around them. It’s hard to get friends and family members on board while changing to health-conscious habits. It’s also more difficult to make healthier choices when you’re feeling alone.
As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Therefore, if you want a healthier life, seek out...
Most of us are familiar with the picture of sedentary living, but did you know it’s also possible to be actively sedentary? Actively sedentary is a new category of people who exercise for about an hour per day but are sedentary for the other 23 hours.
Mind-blowing, right? This means that someone who is meeting or even exceeding the American Heart Association’s physical activity guidelines for adults can still be sedentary.
Avoid becoming actively sedentary by adopting a movement-based lifestyle, in which movement is an integral part of your day to day activities. Small actions matter. Sit on the floor instead of the couch. Walk short intervals throughout your day, about 3–5 miles in total. Take your shoes off and let your feet experience some texture. Just keep yourself moving. The less your body stays in one position for a prolonged amount of time the better. Living this way is simple and requires no equipment, so there is no...
In recent years, research continues to find that physical mobility is one of the strongest indicators of the risk of chronic disease as we age. In hospitals around the country, staff members at all levels are being trained to help screen patients for mobility upon admission and before their return to home. Walking is now considered a 6th vital sign and physicians are increasingly encouraged to screen their patients for their walking ability.
In the clinic, we often aren’t seeing clients until they’re having a problem with their mobility. It’s our mission to make sure everyone has an awareness of subtle warning signs before there’s a problem. Upon every initial assessment, we screen our clients for 5 natural movements that give us a comprehensive picture of their mobility and help them guide their course of action.
Below is the list of movements we perform at every initial assessment. If you can perform the 5 below movements AND maintain your...