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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A Brief Overview of Chronic Pain

As the chronic pain epidemic continues to pour over into the opioid epidemic, new research continues to break down the complexity of chronic pain. Just a few years ago, chronic pain was viewed completely from a biomechanical perspective. When the medical community realized that treating only the injury was not only not working, but the epidemic of chronic pain continued to worsen they realized they needed to take a step back and look at the whole person. What has been discovered has been an eye-opening look at how chronic pain involves factors beyond what is happening within the body tissue. Now, we take a broader look at the whole person and understand chronic pain has a multitude of origins.

The Actual Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Over time, physicians and other professionals realized the amount of tissue damage being seen on an MRI and the amount of pain a person was experiencing just were not matching up. Beyond that, those who underwent surgical procedures were showing...

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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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Your Mindset About Aging is Impacting How You Age

It is an understatement to say that our society has a negative view of aging. It is pervasive in the ways we talk about older adults and our 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 all assume we will decline both mentally and physically as we age. But are we really declining because of age itself or because our views on aging influence our behavior? I would argue the latter.

Discussions about aging often involve emphasis on becoming too weak to participate in life in a meaningful way, or mental decline that is inevitable. When people start to believe they are “too old to…” they stop doing certain activities that are likely keeping them healthy. When people start to believe they can no longer do something simply because they are “too old” then we create a learned dependence upon others to do things...

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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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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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