One of the most detrimental health habits humans tend to have is something most of us probably never give much thought to, at least in terms of health impact.
It's your shoes.
For every 1 degree of heel your shoe has, 1 degree of spine, hip, and knee joint reaction is required to compensate…. meaning for every 1 inch of heel your shoe has, it causes 20 degrees of change throughout the joints of the legs and spine!
Think even a modest heel is not a detriment to your health? Think again.
Your footwear choices have a major negative impact on your joint, bone, and muscle health. The amount of joint reaction caused by wearing heels can be contributing to knee and hip osteoarthritis, lumbar disc compression, and even pelvic floor dysfunction (new moms... please avoid heels!). Improper footwear choices are also a common culprit of falls in older adults.
So, believe it or not... one of the biggest impact steps you can take toward improving your health is...
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about aging?
Do you imagine a life of limiting what you enjoy because of medical conditions? A time of decline? A life full of doctor's appointments?
Or do you imagine a life full of vitality? Feeling amazing so you can continue to do all the things you love well into your golden years?
We hope imagine the latter, but unfortunately most only picture the first scenario.
It's an understatement to say that our society holds tightly to a negative view of aging. It's pervasive in the ways we talk about older adults and also very apparent in advertising. It seems we are on a never-ending quest for “anti-aging” everything.
We often make the mistake of associating aging with decline, and these views impact the way in which older adults view their health. We make assumptions we'll decline both mentally and physically as we age.
But are we really declining because of age itself or because our views...
Did you know that 25% of your bones and muscles are located below the ankle?
Our feet were designed to be versatile with an infinite number of movements due to the number of joints and intrinsic foot muscles, yet most of us hardly spend time thinking about our feet.
They are the foundation of our body, however the care and maintenance of the muscles of our feet is almost unheard of. We tend to cram our feet into whatever shoe we like the looks of, with no regard to how that shoe might be impacting the health of our feet (and by proxy our overall health).
Today’s epidemic of foot damage including bunions, hammer toes, collapsed arches, foot pain, and secondary effects of diabetes including neuropathy, poor circulation, and even amputation are all considered par for the course. We blame genetics, not our lifestyles. What if the answer was as simple as mobilizing our feet and changing our footwear? There is a solution, but not the passive solutions many of us have...
One of our favorite questions to ask new clients is, “When is the last time you sat on the floor ON PURPOSE?”
So be honest... when is the last time you intentionally got yourself on and off the floor?
If you aren't doing this daily basis, you are actually missing out on a huge opportunity to maintain your strength and range of motion as you age. Getting yourself safely onto the floor takes your knees and hips through a greater range of motion than sitting in a chair.
Beyond the act of getting on and off the floor, sitting on the floor has strengthening benefits as well. Floor sitting forces you to use of the muscles of your trunk for support rather than sinking into the back of a chair or couch. And as another side benefit, you're much more likely to keep moving and changing positions while sitting on the floor.
Get stronger and more mobile without even being aware of it?! Yes, with floor sitting this is possible! The options are endless...
Due to the stereotypes perpetuated by rampant ageism in our society, most of us don't associate aging with positive images.
But, aging doesn't have to be negative.
Here at ABC, our mission is to change the way people think of aging. When we have clients come in, initially we only hear about the downsides of aging. The difficulty with walking. The loss of strength. Chronic pain. And one of the topics no one walks to talk about, balance issues and falls.
The first point we want to highlight is that none of the above have to be a normal part of aging! And if you are experiencing balance problems or falls, start talking to someone about them right this minute. With our aging population, this is an issue that has a major impact on the health trajectory of the country in multiple ways.
In 2015, the costs directly related to fall injuries in older adults totaled over $31...
Last month I attended a Move Your DNA weekend workshop at Boomerang Pilates in Toronto hosted by a Nutritious Movement Certified RES. If you aren't familiar, this workshop is for anyone who has read Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, MS to refine the exercises covered in the book.
The book uses biomechanics as a lens to explore how our environment has shaped our movement and vice versa, encouraging the reader to take ownership of their health. We spent the weekend exploring the use of corrective exercise and body alignment work to move toward more natural movement.
For me, this weekend was a small part of a 2 year long process to become a certified RES, which involves nearly 350 hours of movement training. The program heavily emphasizes understanding of your own movement in order to help others improve theirs... which makes a lot of sense.
My background is in physical therapy, meaning I spent the better part of the last 10 years extensively studying the human body,...
When is the last time you really paid attention to how you're moving?
For most of us, the answer is likely not very much time at all... until there is a problem. We take our movement for granted until we have pain or weakness to remind us that it takes effort to use our body to get around.
We've fallen into the bad habit of moving mindlessly throughout our day.
But... what if one of the keys to optimal health is to bring back thoughtfulness and reflection when it comes to how you move throughout your day?
You don't have to wait until your quality of life has taken a hit to become a student of your movement. And in fact, to prevent your physical health from going downhill, you should adopt a learning mindset ASAP.
Curious as to both why and how you should do this? Read on.
Do you understand the health benefits of exercise but have always struggled to maintain a routine?
Or do you not know where to get started in the first place?
If this sounds like you, you are in the right place!
If you struggle with exercise, it's possible to get more movement in your day with a few simple adjustments to your surroundings. And to illustrate this point we will start with a story about a broken kitchen appliance...
About a month ago our food processor broke. Panic ensued. It was a much loved kitchen appliance, one that we use daily for dishes like pesto and hummus.
Rather than running out to buy a new one however... we decided to see what would happen if we didn't replace it. At least not right away. Seems like an unconventional choice when we live in a world where we can replace anything instantly, but stay with us here.
We used a little creativity to find...
Are you one of the millions of people living with chronic back pain?
Have you been told by a medical provider your pain is due to arthritis? That you have the spine of an 80 year old? Or there is nothing that can be done about your back pain?
If so, you aren't alone. And unfortunately, what is often left out of this discussion is the fact that aging of the spine is perfectly NORMAL. Yes, it's not even abnormal to start to see signs of arthritis on imaging as young as age 30! Arthritic changes within your joints does not automatically lead to chronic pain and limited quality of life.
So, what gives and where is your back pain really coming from?
Age causes an increase low back pain for a variety of other reasons. About one in three older adults will experience low back pain. As we stated above, there are normal and expected changes in the spine that come with age include changes in posture, decrease...
Do you wake up feeling stiff every morning?
Does it take an hour or two after waking up for that feeling to go away?
Or does that feeling linger all day?
One of the most common questions we get asked is if this is a natural part of aging. Our clients wonder if this is just inevitable or if there is something that can be done to prevent this.
We're here to tell you this DOES NOT have to be a natural part of aging, and that yes, there is plenty you can to avoid waking up with that feeling every morning!
Flexibility, also known as range of motion, can be improved and maintained at any age. Our tissues get stiff because we stop using them, not just because of old age.
We need to take a closer look though, because only working on flexibility is not a great solution either. It's vital to keep a good range of motion of all of our joints as we age, but to function at our best we must also have the strength to control our...