For Better Health, Be Like a KidĀ Again

he other night, I was watching my barely one-year-old son attempt to pick up a garden hose in the backyard. Starting in a deep squat, he kept trying to stand up with something that was pretty heavy for his size. Standing unsupported without holding anything is a skill he has yet to master, and here he was trying something that seemed physically impossible. After about 50 tries, he finally got it and looked just so proud of himself when he did.

In watching my children grow over the last several years, I realized kids are invigorated by the most difficult of physical challenges. Driven by curiosity to learn about their environment, they develop new motor skills along the way. I am not sure where we lost this as adults, but developing this mindset and drive of a child would solve most of our health problems. Adopting this approach would bring more mindfulness to movement, paving the way for healthier aging. Let’s talk more about what we can learn from children to make our own...

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Quick Test: Are Your Hips Actually Weight-Bearing?

In order for your hips to be building bone density through the day, they need to be supporting the weight of your pelvis and torso in a certain alignment. 


A common pattern we see with resting standing positions is standing with the pelvis pushed slightly forward (as in the first picture). It is subtle but has major implications for bone health of the hips (not to mention the long term impact of this position on foot health, core strength, and balance).

Shifting the pelvis back so your body weight is carried over the heels (second picture) and maintaining this position throughout the day allows for optimal bone health. However, getting to this position if this is not your usual requires taking a closer look at the muscle groups that attach to the pelvis. 

A quick and simple test to help you determine where you carry your center of mass: make a plumb line from string with something weighted at the bottom. Position yourself facing sideways toward a mirror and find the boniest...

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For Better Health, Focus on Habits Rather Than Goals

“Losers have goals, winners have systems” -Scott Adams

Most of us fall into the trap of setting goals rather than focusing on the habits that help us achieve outcomes, particularly when it comes to our health.

We focus on the results rather than the processes. An important component of my interactions with people as a physical therapist is to discuss and agree upon goals for the course of care. By goals I mean what they are hoping to be able to do with the help of physical therapy. When I ask people what they want as an end result, most will tell me to be able to participate in hobbies like travel, dancing, or fishing without pain or having the energy to keep up with their grandchildren. These focus on quality of life rather than health metrics, such as pounds lost, blood sugar levels, or blood pressure readings.

However, when most people write out their health goals they focus on the metrics rather than quality of life. For example, one common goal is to lose a certain...

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Become a Student of Movement

As we have discussed in the past, movement is an essential component of health. We also know that the better the quality of your movement, the greater the health benefits. Moving better involves daily practice and a sense of awareness. In our quest for better health, many of us mindlessly perform exercise without a second thought. When we do this, however, we lose out on an opportunity to learn about ourselves. What if mindlessly performing exercise is entirely missing the point? Mindfulness with exercise maximizes the health benefits and also makes us more efficient and effective in our movement.

Mindfulness of our habits is vital to overall health. The longer I practice as a therapist, the more I realize the most successful people are the ones who incorporate a sense of awareness with their daily movement habits. Those who make movement a lifestyle rather than just another chore gain the most benefits. For better health, make movement an essential part of a lifestyle. We can...

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Better Health Starts with Mindset

By the time many people seek out our services, they are frustrated by the state of their health. People often get trapped in the cycle of believing they will never get better because of their health conditions or age. After having worked with so many people, we can tell you that mindset makes all the difference. Those that believe they can be healthy get there, no matter where they are starting from. Research agrees and supports the notion that the self-perception of our health influences our health behaviors and outcomes more strongly than other factors.

Health perception includes appearance, function, and ability to perform physical activities. This self perception has been shown to influence physical activity among all age groups. Those who believe they are healthy are likely to be more active. Likewise, those who have a negative perception of their health are less likely to be active, therefore more likely to develop chronic diseases. As we have discussed in the...

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Creating a Better Sleep Environment

Good quality sleep is a basic human need that is often overlooked in the discussion on health and wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 19% of adults in the US report not getting enough rest or sleep. Sleep habits are one of the first questions we ask our patients as the body cannot heal without enough rest. While our primary goal as therapists is to teach our patients how to move better, we cannot make meaningful progress without the foundations of good health in place. Improving your sleep is an essential first step toward better health whether you have chronic health conditions or not.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation occurs when you either do not get enough sleep total, sleep at the wrong time of day, or do not get good quality sleep. Adults who experience sleep deprivation may report not feeling refreshed when they wake up and feeling tired throughout the day.

There are many negative health effects of sleep...

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The Slow Approach to Health

A common perception in our society is there is one key to living a healthy life that we have not quite figured out yet. Chronic disease is rampant in our aging population so we must be missing something, right? Some unknown, mysterious secret that will change our health in an instant if only we could find it. However, the real truth is health involves many components and is constantly changing as part of a never ending journey. Eliminating one certain type of food or taking a new supplement is never the answer on its own, but can be a small part of the big picture. There is not one magical exercise or one type of food that will completely turn our health around.

Health involves more than looking at objective measures such as calories, weight, and blood pressure. We also need to spend time looking at the quality of our food, movement, and lifestyle. We make daily choices that either help or harm our health. Nothing changes drastically in one day or with one decision. Therefore, the...

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