Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 |
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We all want to age gracefully and stay healthy and strong as we get older.
However, not many people understand that we need to do something about that now.
Aging is inevitable, even though you probably wish it is not.
But some aspects of aging are certainly avoidable, and we do not have to accept them.
For example, you don’t need to gain weight as you age, and you don’t need to stop doing some activities that you love simply because you are getting older. I understand that you may already have health conditions that are limiting you. However, you can still always make improvements.
When we try to slow down aging and improve our health, we likely think of eating plenty of nutrient-dense, healthy food, taking vitamins as needed, walking, and maybe meditation. These are all necessary, but the missing link here is our stability, mobility and strength (SMS). As we age, we tend to lose all three of these.
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury and possibly death in older people? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every second of every day an older adult (aged 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S. Falls are a major cause of disability, yet they are easily preventable.
Our joint flexibility and mobility is crucial for improving muscle strength and increasing life quality.
Flexibility and stability are the most-important components of physical activity. However, most people underestimate their role. This does not mean that you have to be flexible like a ballerina, but you should able to go through your daily life without discomfort in your body. Simple things such as tying our shoes become a major challenge for many people.
Many muscle aches and pains are avoidable by doing simple, regular, flexibility and mobility movements. Even just 5 to 10 minutes a day can reduce muscle tension, pain and joint stiffness, and prevent injury, too. In addition, this helps you to increase muscle strength with resistance training and lubricate the joints as well.
If you have a cat or a dog, then you already know that when they wake up the first thing they do is to stretch everything, and they do this several times throughout the day. They don’t think, they just follow their instinct.
Our joints alternate between mobility and stability. For example, when you work on your ankle mobility — by doing something such as flexing then pointing the toes, and rotating your ankle through a full range of motion in both directions — you also promote and increase stability in your knees.
You can think about the body as a chain, with all of the joints working together. So if you have hip pain, it is likely coming from your knee joints. If you have lower back pain, it is likely coming from your hips. And if you don’t have thoracic mobility, then you may get neck and shoulder or lower back pain.
Here’s how the joints act together like a chain:
Ankle – mobility;
Knee – stability;
Hip – mobility;
Lumbar spine (lower back) – stability;
Thoracic spine – mobility;
Scapula (shoulder blade) – stability;
Shoulder – mobility.
Here are some tips for what you can do daily to improve your mobility and stability, so that eventually you can increase your strength:
• Start first with your head, and turn it each side to look over your shoulder, then tilt it side to side so that your ears go towards your shoulders. Repeat 8 to 12 times for each side;
• Swing your arms with a full range of motion without bending your elbow. Move in each direction — front circle, back circle, and fully extended arms circle. Repeat each direction and each arm for six to eight repititions;
• Fully rotate your shoulder joints in both directions by shrugging and rotating your shoulders. Repeat for eight to 10 reps in each direction.
• Try the kneeling cat and cow yoga move, or you can do this standing by curling the spine and then opening the chest forward. Repeat six to eight times;.
• Swing your legs front and back. You can hold on to a chair for balance if you like, just try to not move the upper body, only move your leg. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg;
• Try high knees, pulling your knee as high as you can without leaning back. Repeat each side eight to 10 times;
• Put one leg in front of you and swing it from side to side. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg;
• Try a bodyweight squat, or if this is too hard for you just sit in a chair, stand up and sit down again. Repeat 10 to 12 times;
• Fully stretch the body, keeping both arms straight and reach as high as you can as if you were reaching up for something. Let go of all your body weight and lean forward, keeping the knees slightly bent. Don’t push yourself, just go as low as you can. Repeat eight to 10 times.
Try these exercises just for 2 weeks and you will feel much more energized, have less pain, and feel more mobile.
So yes, we certainly can age gracefully. We just need to put the work in now.
• “Healthy Aging;” Andrew Weil, M.D.;
• “Keep on Your Feet — Preventing Older Adult Falls;” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html;
• “Flexibility of Older Adults Aged 55–86 Years and the Influence of Physical Activity;” Liza Stathokostas, Matthew W. McDonald, Robert M. D. Little, Donald H. Paterson; U.S. National Library of Medicine; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703899/
• “Movement;” Gray Cook;
• “Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists;” Thomas Myers.
Ayda Ersoy is anutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.); master trainer (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro); registered yoga teacher; founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness; and founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System.
So you’re saying that walking may help to increase your life expectancy by years. That these activities may actually prolong your life physically, but has a benefit to it too. Like giving you extra dose of physical activity will strengthen your immune system. I’m an average built guy. I weigh about 71.7 Kg in weight and about 175 cm in height. I try to eat healthy anyway. But walking comes by more leisurely and not planned. So it is not thought of. Unconsciously I just do that activity, and not so much to plan a walk. I think this still helps.
This is another very valuable and Natural drugless Health Care article by Ayda Ersoy.
The exercise and stretching routines are invaluable to any age person, may we add a few tips.
People who wear reading glasses should be sure to remove them immediately after reading, especially if they are going to stand up, or are standing while reading. Get those reading glasses off before walking, because that is the source of many falls people suffer.
Another good tip is that when going upstairs, or even stepping up onto the curb of the sidewalk, be sure to consciously lift your feet a little higher at each step or curb, so you don’t trip on the step.
Try to recall the news video of President Biden falling forward going up the steps of Air Force One, looked like he fell twice in a row, and if he had hit his head, we might have had a President Kamala running the country.
Another tip is that when seniors hold things make an extra conscious effort to hold onto the item tighter, so it does not end up on the floor or ground broken or smashing your foot.
As to her good recommendations as to neck, or cervical spine exercises, add forward and backward (flexion and extension) movements to the list.
Sideways flexion, ear toward shoulder movement, is not a normal range of motion movement, so be careful and gentle.
When sitting, arms up horizontal, fingers touching in front of your face, rotate your whole lumbar and dorsal spine, below the neck, in a left then right side rotation, as many as 50 times.
At the same time as you rotate the spine to the left have your neck rotate opposite to the right. Start slow and go faster as you feel comfortable about increasing the rapidity of the rotations.
Stop if you feel dizziness.
This sitting and rotating exercise will warm up, exercise, stretch, tonify, increase strength, and stamina to the 1,500 muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the 23 intervertebral discs of the neuro spine.
Why neuro spine? Because the primary purpose, besides several other spinal purposes, of having a solid bone helmet, or skull, and 24 vertebrae, made of bone, is the all important purpose of Housing and Protecting the all important Central Nervous System consisting of the Brain, Brain Stem (containing the 12 Cranial Nerves), and Spinal Cord, and Cauda Equina (the lower portion of the spinal cord).
The first cell, out of the initial few developed after the conception of the parents’ sperm and ovum, becomes the Central Nervous System which immediately becomes the onboard onboard “computer” for the human body. By that reference to a computer, it means that the inborn (Innate) intelligence of each human being is passed through via the sperm and ovum to the primary cell of the nervous system, passed from parents to the child, the nervous system becomes not only the organizer, the coordinator, the controller, the director of not only the “miracle” of developing, from 2 parent cells, a new human life of extraordinary diverse cells that make up, not only the soft and hard tissues of the body, but also several body vital systems and vital organs, including the capability of mating with opposite sex for reproduction and survival of the human vertebrate species.
We have to admit that the optimal functioning of the vital organs and their vital systems, per the Central Nervous System are incredible in our specie, and our reliance on all body systems, especially now in our need of a Healthy Immune System.
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