Whether you play golf or not, give this a video try to feel better, have less neck/shoulder discomfort, and it's a great warm up for golf, tennis, and even pickleball!
Strength and power training to mitigate fall risk
We have all heard the negative press, as we get older, we are more likely to have a fall. With that sobering statistic is the even more negative one, that shows that as we age, we are more and more likely to be at risk of hospitalization secondary to a fall. According to the CDC, approximately 3 million people aged 65 and over fall every year that requires a trip to the emergency room. Roughly 20% of those have serious injuries such as head trauma, fractures, and other serious injuries and/or complications resulting from these falls. Is this something that we are doomed to repeat for ourselves and/or our loved ones? Or is this something that we can potentially improve via an appropriate intervention?
Biology is constantly adapting to our environment and requires a certain level of stress to maintain itself. Too much stress of course is bad, like a hard fall that fractures a bone, but carefully measured stressors are great thing and needed for a strong organism. Now, we of course have an upper limit on this, and no one lives forever but why not spend the time on this planet with the ability to continue to do the things that we enjoy? As mentioned above, if we combine the right kind of stressors with good sleep and rest, optimal nutrition, then we can augment our ability to continue to do the things that we enjoy.
Balance training and mobility training is a good start to help improve ones balance and potentially decrease our risk of falls. Balance training is good in that it can help improve our ankle and hip strategy to help catch ourselves in case of a fall and may also improve our coordination. While mobility training can help keep our joints supple while also potentially help increase our awareness of our bodies ability to move in space. Again, these are a good start and still needed in the overall picture of helping decrease the potential for falls as well as possibly decreasing the fear of falling which is almost another topic in and of itself!
Strength and power training can help advance your program and allow you to continue to enjoy doing the activities you love. By definition, strength is the ability to move a force that is acting on a body. Remember, your body weight does count, but also being able to manage outside forces as well (think a grocery bag or walking up stairs with a suitcase in your hand). Power is the ability to produce or slow down a force with speed (think tripping on your carpet and quickly getting your leg under your body to catch yourself before hitting the ground). It has been shown by working on strength and power training type of exercises, then we can improve our body’s ability to adapt to the environment, potentially mitigate fall risk, and at the same time continue to do the things that we enjoy.
This knowledge may seem pretty obvious to many people but you may be wondering: I’ve never done this before and I don’t even know where to begin. This is quite common and nothing to be ashamed of. We need each other! When we want the best, we should hire a pro right? Just make sure that you hire someone that you are comfortable with, knows your relevant medical history, listens to your needs, and has a history of working with people in the population that is most at risk. I am ready to listen to your story! I can also help you improve your balance, coordination, mobility/flexibility, strength, and power.
Let me know how I may help you continue your journey with less fear, reduction of risk, and help you regain your confidence!
I gave this fun, interesting, and intriguing talk back in 2020 at the height of Covid to a empty auditorium secondary to covid restrictions at Sandia Labs. It is a talk on Pain Science and how understanding how pain works may be helpful to those who are experiencing it as well as give options to alleviate pain.
Remember, always talk with your doctor or physical therapist if you are experiencing pain as this talk is informative and NOT in any way giving medical advice.
Enjoy! Click link below to play.
It’s crept up on you. The things that you used to do with ease are more of a burden now and when you attempt them, you feel slow, not as coordinated, and you might even feel vulnerable doing them. You don’t want to ask for help, you never had to and you may feel that asking for help makes you sound feeble. At the same time, there is this lingering fear that you are losing control of your body and you don’t like it. You want a change. You want to feel better and have less fear. You want to be able to do the activities you grew up enjoying. If there was only a way to get out of this situation. A situation that makes you feel too weak to do the things you want to do. Not to mention you feel more uncoordinated and there is this underlying fear of falling as your balance has been more unsteady the last few years or so and getting on/off the floor sounds borderline dreadful. Hopeless? Not at all.
The hard truth is that biological organisms (including you) do have a shelf life. It can be scary to think about, but one might argue that it’s even scarier to think about how one can be on this planet for several decades and lose large scale capabilities, not because of age, but because we stopped pushing ourselves. Biology needs challenge. Without challenge, we literally prune our systems that are not in use. This includes our nervous system (coordination/balance), our muscles (weakness/poor power), our cardiovascular system (stamina/endurance), and our skeletal system among (bones more brittle) others. Now, these changes do happen if we get “old enough”, but we can S L O W these trends down with consistent and intelligent stresses. These stresses are movement based and can go along way to help mitigate this downward trend and we can actually, to a certain point, improve on our systems. Yes, we can get stronger, improve balance, get better coordinated, increase our mobility/flexibility, and get MORE out of life well into our 6th, 7th, 8th, and even 9th decades. But how does one navigate this?
This is where investing in a caring and educated senior fitness specialist can have a role. First, they can ask the right questions. They need to know YOUR WHY. Why do you want to improve your health, your strength and balance? Without the proper why, movement and exercise seems too difficult, out of reach, and often burdensome to many. Nailing down your why layers in context and makes making behavioral change easier and often results in longer lasting and even quicker attainable goals! Secondly, a good senior fitness specialist is educated on exercise for aging bodies and often many of them have physical therapy backgrounds and can assure that you have success without causing damage. Along these lines, many potential clients are often being discharged from physical therapy and the need to find a qualified and educated Senior Fitness Specialist who is also a good listener is imperative! Finally, this Senior Fitness Specialist is mobile and they can help you in the comfort of your own home. They have basic exercise equipment they can bring, work with the equipment you have, make recommendations on purchasing new equipment, and the creative ones are amazing at just using gravity to help improve your strength, balance, stamina, and help improve your life.
In conclusion, there is hope and there is help out there. Your fears are real but tangible results are attainable for the vast majority of people. You just have to take the first step. Most Senior Fitness Specialists offer free initial consultations and are eager to hear your story. I know I am. Tell me your story. I’m listening.
We grew up and they took care of us. Now that we are getting into our 4th, 5th, or 6th decade, some of our aging parents may beginning to worry us with their declining health, lacking energy, decreasing abilities and suddenly we may feel the need to take care of them. What is a son or daughter to do? Are there any resources out there? Will my parents be amenable to help? Can they “age” better?
It is difficult to see our parents get older. We often don’t get a chance to see them enough and when we do, we cringe watching dad try to get out of his favorite chair and mom shuffling her feet on the ground while complaining of aches and pains. Oh, let’s not forget, Dad fell last month and hurt his elbow and shoulder. While we can’t stop the clock on aging, there are some things we can do to make the last decades of our/their life more energetic, productive, and filled with less fear.
It is true that as we age between our 50’s to our 70’s, we TEND to lose muscle mass and strength/power (3-5% per decade on average) with the curve further accelerating after the age 70. As our strength and power decrease, our chance of falling tends to increase as we have less resources to catch ourselves in the event of losing our balance. This coupled with a slowing nervous system, potential visual and vestibular system changes, as well as slower reaction times. Finally, and on top of all this, fear of falling often creeps in which makes this vicious cycle even more…vicious!
Ok, most of us know the above information fairly well already. What is a son or daughter to do if they want to get their parents on board? This is a great question and one that will vary depending on the parent in question. There may be some parents that are 100% against receiving help while others who are gung ho to get started yesterday. Most of our aging parents will fall somewhere in the middle and may need some level of persuasion to get started. This is where a good personal trainer with decades of experience in helping our aging population can come into play. They can talk with your parents during a free consultation to figure out THEIR WHY! Most of the population could care less to exercise. We don’t need to talk about exercise. But we will flesh out what their fears are that may be getting in the way. We can route out WHAT they still want to do in their lives and make that the reason behind getting help. Do they want to travel with their partner? Do they want more energy to play with their grandkids? Do they have other hopes and dreams that are fading out of reality that can still be a possibility if they just had more strength, stamina, balance, and less fear?
Hope is not lost. I can help your aging parents get back on track. If your parents need some outside persuasion, then perhaps I can chat with them during a free consultation to find out what makes them tick and come up with some strategies to get them back on track. I’m here, I’m keenly listening and ready to help.