General Health

Senior Health & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older
If 40 is the new 30, then 50 is the new 40, right?

You may be over 50, but you don’t have to be over having fun and living your best, healthy life! Actually, as we age it’s even more important to get started on healthier habits and ditch the bad ones. Your early to mid-50s are when biochemical changes start to occur, leading to the onset of cancer and other chronic illness. Now is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, assess your lifestyle and make senior health a priority!

Senior Health and Feeling Great
As we age we encounter more aches and pains, but there are so many positive aspects of growing older: Wisdom, self-discovery, and maturity. Regardless of how we feel, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, take up a new activity, or pursue a new career. The key is to keep moving and find ways to incorporate exercise and healthier habits into your life.

Healthy aging in midlife and even into your senior years isn’t rocket science. The body is a self-healing, self-regulating system and performs best when it’s on a regular schedule. The foundation for senior health begins with routine habits that are based around nutrition, exercise, and prevention.

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing OlderLearn to Manage Stress
Manage stress through exercise and other activities like yoga and mindfulness or a creative outlet. Research shows that a life of stress is really hard on the body, especially chronic stress. Patients who have higher levels of baseline stress are more prone to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Get An Annual Physical
Preventative screenings can save lives by catching cancer and chronic illnesses early. Annual check-ups and other preventative screenings should include pap smears, colonoscopies, mammograms, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.

Get Enough Sleep
Embrace routine, especially when it comes to sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of regular, uninterrupted sleep. Follow a schedule in regards to going to bed, waking up and eating meals. Sleep can also regulate hormones like insulin and cortisol, which helps prevent disease.

Focus On Nutrition
At every stage in life it’s vital to eat a heart-healthy diet, more fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. You should avoid or limit starchy, fried and processed foods and too much red meat. Reduce salt and sugar, increase healthy fats such as fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids, and skip anything with GMOs or ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s definitely the time to kick bad habits like excessive drinking and smoking, too.

Maintain a Healthy Weight and Keep Moving
Make regular exercise a habit, or at least find ways to be more active. Studies have found a link between a generally sedentary lifestyle, meaning hours upon hours of sitting, and increased levels of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and total mortality.

For many people, it can be very overwhelming to make multiple lifestyle changes at once. We recommend you start by focusing on one area of your life that you can improve. Exercise may be one of the easiest and best options. Think about this trifecta of benefits – heart health, combat weight gain, and boost endorphins.

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older9 Tips To Get Moving & Stay Motivated

1. Schedule time to exercise and switch it up.
The key to long-term exercise is not only making it a priority but doing activities that are social and fun. Playing tennis or pickleball with a friend, walking the dog, biking a local trail, swimming, gardening, dancing and playing team sports count toward the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.

2. Recruit a friend or join a class.
You’re more likely to exercise when you have a partner or group counting on you, plus it’s a great chance to make new friends and try something new.

3. Sign up for a competition.
Whether it’s a marathon or bike race, training for a competition ups the challenge and reward.

4. Try the 10-minute motivation rule.
Start with 10 minutes and see if you’re motivated to keep going. Oftentimes getting started is half the battle.

5. Break it up into smaller chunks
Research shows that 10 minutes of exercise has benefits, so incorporate activity throughout the day. Use a break at work to walk laps or climb stairs, do a set of squats, planks, and pushups during TV commercials, or try a 10-minute exercise video.

6. Focus on how you feel.
After you exercise do you have more energy, more strength, a better mood or more peaceful sleep? The scale isn’t the only measure of success.

7. Write it down.
Keep a journal of your daily activities and food/beverage intake. Be mindful of what you eat, and realistic about how many calories you burn. Snacks, sodas, and desserts have hidden calories or are often overlooked. A journal can reveal patterns of overindulging, emotional eating or chronic fatigue and depression.

8. Enjoy a rest day.
Don’t beat yourself up if you slack off for a day. While consistency is important, adequate hydration, sleep and recovery time matter too.

9. Celebrate small milestones.
The scale may have stalled, but maybe you’ve lost inches, regulated blood sugar, can run a mile, or noticed new muscles. every little bit counts.

Healthy Aging Starts With a Healthy Mindset
It’s hard to change bad habits for healthier ones, much less sustain them. The key is to also switch your mindset: Look at it as a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Many changes cost nothing and require only common sense and some self-awareness. Smile more, stand when you can, sleep at least eight hours, take a daily walk, and pursue your passions!

There is no magic pill for senior health and longevity, and, unfortunately, we can’t turn back the hands of time. But when it comes to living a long, satisfying life, it’s simple – the things you do today affect your tomorrow.

Our physical therapists are here for you, whenever you need us. If you’re having a difficult time getting started with an exercise routine and living healthy because of pain or an injury, we can help! Find a clinic near you and get in touch with us today!

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Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older

Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

Every runner is going to suffer an injury, pain, or imbalance at some point, but that doesn’t have to stop you from hitting the pavement. Proper form and strength training can prevent injuries, and  improve your performance, form and control.

We work with runners every single day and we see countless shin splints, ACL issues, stress fractures, pulled muscles, and random aches and pains. While our end goal is to get you feeling great and running your best, with no pain, it’s ideal to avoid these injuries in the first place – and proper planning can help. Every runner, beginner or advanced, should take the following injury-prevention strategies into account.

Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing InjuryStart Right
Warm up with a brisk walk or running drills, and then begin the more rigorous parts of your workout as your muscles begin to feel activated. If you’re just starting a running regimen, your routine should include stretching after running.

Identify Weakness
Every runner has some type of inefficiency in their form. It may be subtle, but finding those issues will uncover opportunities to make the body stronger and ready for more strenuous training. Physical therapists can identify these weak points through a gait analysis. By watching you run on a treadmill and examining your alignment, we can see where you need to strengthen muscles, adjust form, improve your shoe wear, or reduce impact in order to become a more efficient runner. When runners can see a knee drift inward, they can visualize the correction and activate muscles to offset the poor form.
Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

There are a few areas any non-injured runner can target to run more efficiently. Endurance runners may have underdeveloped hamstrings, so targeting the hamstrings with strengthening exercises may help. In addition, a single-leg balance or single-leg squat is a low impact exercise that pushes the body to build strength, balance, and coordination in the muscle groups most used while running.

Beginner Strategies
Starting a new running regimen? That’s great, but be careful because novice runners will have to adjust to the impact on their joints. A beginner shouldn’t start with 5 to 7 runs each week. Instead, replace several of these runs with biking, swimming, or time on the elliptical. Each of these activities builds cardiovascular endurance and strength without stressing the joints too much too soon.

Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

Big-Picture Training
Running shouldn’t be the end of your exercise regimen. Strength training can improve your running. Strength in your core and hips, flexibility, and coordination all factor into your performance, so make improving these areas part of training, too. Whether you devote hours each week to running, or run occasionally to maintain a basic level of fitness, a physical therapist can make sure you do so safely.

If you are experiencing shin splints, foot or ankle pain, knee pain, sprains, muscle imbalance, or any other type of pain when running, schedule a free consultation with us so we can take a look at your form and set up a program specifically for you.Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

Safe Running & Strategies for Preventing Injury

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Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of having poor posture…I’m right there with you. In fact, poor posture habits are something that most of us are guilty of from time to time. Have you ever really stopped to consider the consequences your body suffers as a result? Now that we so often have a smartphone or tablet in our hands, we spend even more time in a hunched position. These postures can have detrimental effects on our spine and the surrounding joints and soft tissues.

When you look at the spine from the side, you’ll see that it’s not straight up and down, it has several curves that create an “S” shape, which is important for absorbing the stress placed on our bodies. When we lose those normal curves due to continued poor posture, it can cause pain. The lower back and the neck have a normal backward curve and the upper back has a forward curve. Postural dysfunction occurs when the normal curves increase or decrease, leading to pain in and around your spine.

A common postural issue we often see in physical therapy is a forward head posture. A forward head posture is seen when the earlobe sits in front of the tip of the shoulder, causing an increased curve in your upper back. Over time, these poor postures can cause the following problems that often lead patients to seek physical therapy:

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You1. Headaches
When you lose the normal backward curve of your neck, and your cervical spine straightens or begins to curve forward, ultimately placing stress on the muscles, leading to headaches. Additionally, the nerves and joints in the upper neck can be compressed, causing pain in the neck and into the head as well.

2. Shoulder impingement
When the forward curve of your upper back increases, your shoulder blades sit more forward and higher on your back. When raising your arms overhead, your shoulder blade rotates a certain way to allow full shoulder motion. When the position of your shoulder blade changes, this rotation can decrease and you are now at an increased risk of pinching the tendons in your shoulder when you raise your arm overhead. This is called shoulder impingement and it can lead to pain and the break down of these tendons, increasing your chance of tendon tears.

3. Jaw pain
Pain in and around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is common with forward head posture due to abnormal stress placed on the mandible (lower jaw bone) and the soft tissues around your TMJ. If you compensate for the loss of your cervical curve with head extension, the muscles that open your mouth are stretched and your mouth will rest in an open position. In order to keep your mouth closed at rest, the muscles that close your mouth will work extra hard which can cause pain in the cheeks, head, and jaw. Additionally, increased stress on the soft tissues around the TMJ can cause pain and clicking or popping.

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You4. Neck pain
Loss of the cervical curve will place increased tension on the ligaments along the back of the neck. This increased tension can lead to the formation of bone spurs where these ligaments attach, as well as an increased chance of tears in your discs, leading to herniated discs. Bone spurs and herniated discs can affect the nerves that run from your spinal cord in your neck to your arms, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

5. Respiratory dysfunction
In order to take a nice deep breath, the lungs need room to expand. When your posture is hunched forward, your ribs have less ability to move and expand, causing more shallow breathing patterns and excessive use of the accessory breathing muscles in your neck. This type of breathing pattern can further contribute to neck pain and have serious effects for people with underlying respiratory disorders.

We’re here to help
The good news? Physical therapy can help reverse all these issues. We’re trained in manual therapy techniques to stretch and mobilize your tight soft tissues and joints and we can show you exercises designed to strengthen your weak muscles to improve your overall posture and movement. To request an appointment for a free consultation, click here!

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