The average person over 65 is sitting too much. For example, the average person sits while watching TV 6.5 hours a day. Usually in a recliner, and you know how I feel about recliners. I digress, but movement is key to a healthier body. Notice I didn’t say exercise. I didn’t want to scare anyone. Three weeks ago, I finished a class to be certified as a Health Coach and the teacher, a physical therapist, said the words diet and exercise must be stricken from our language. He said we should use, movement and nutrition. The word diet scares people as they think of restrictive eating and exercise makes them think of going to the gym. So today, I want to talk about movement and nutrition.
The Importance of Movement
Most people believe that as they get older, they should slow down. Our friends, family, and even our doctors tell us to slow down as we age. Who could blame you for buying into the idea of slowing down? Even our work-life shares the same thought process. We are supposed to retire at 65, relax, and do nothing for a few years. Some of you already know that doesn’t work, but the idea is still out there.
After the age of 30, we start losing muscle mass for the rest of our lives. Movement forces us to use our muscles which can replenish our muscle mass as we lose. Of course, it is an uphill battle because we are losing it as we gain it. Unlike when we were in our teens and twenties when we were just building muscle on top of muscle. That seems like such a waste because when we are young, we want to sleep and hate to do manual labor. So, the only thing we use all that muscle for is to get a date. What a waste of muscle!
When I speak of movement, it can include going to the gym, but there are many other ways to get more movement into your life. You could go for a bike ride on the Legacy trail, swim in your pool, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood, or play tennis. If that is not your thing, you could mow your grass, clean your house, wash your car, or volunteer at a local charity. The problem for many is they may live in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow them to mow their lawn or any yard work. Today too many people hire others to do the yard work, housework, and we drive through a car wash to clean our cars. We need to be more inventive about how to move and, by all means, avoid sitting too much.
For me, I am always looking for ways to move. For instance, I choose the stairway instead of the elevator. At my office, that forces me to climb two flights of steps up to five times a day. I get to do my own yardwork and I help with a lot of the household chores too. I still go to the gym three mornings a week. I must confess though; I drive through the car wash. I feel so lazy doing that! Oh yeah, I stretch every day like I tell you. I realize that for some of you, medical circumstances prevent you from doing some things but remember, it is about moving the best you can. Once you start, you may see an improvement that can allow you to do more.
What About Food?
Food is equally as important as movement. Many foods we all like can create too much inflammation in our bodies. We think of inflammation in our joints and around our heart, but did you know, the inflammation is also around the brain. Inflammation around the brain can lead to brain fog, cognitive issues, and eventually dementia. Eating a more plant-based nutrition plan is always a better choice. Just check with your doctor, or nutritionist, as it can affect certain medications. A good nutrition plan includes 60-70% plant foods, especially green leafy vegetables, 20% meat, and 10% simple carbs like bread or pasta. We hear people say they are on a no-carb diet yet eat salads. They are actually on a no-simple-carb diet. Which means they are leaving off bread, pasta, white rice, and white potatoes. Vegetables are carbs too and they are called Complex carbs. You can eat all you want of them, and you will get more nutrients for your body than other foods. Did you know that green leafy vegetables like collard greens contain more calcium than milk? Believe it or not, that is a true statement. Learn how food converts as it enters your body, and you will see that most of the foods we eat are killing us. Too many simple carbs can cause lethargy and fatigue making it more difficult to move regardless of any other ailments we may experience.
Don’t forget about Stretching!
Stretching is more about feeling the muscles letting go than forcing them to stretch. If you are forcing the muscle, you could be doing strength training, not stretching. Make sure you are feeling the intended muscle stretching. If not, the form could be wrong. Holding for 5 seconds allows the brain to release the muscle before it senses any danger. Repeating the stretches 10 times allows the brain to learn it is safe for the muscle to move that way.
Don’t forget the Tennis Ball Massage!
Softening your hips and back is easy when you use the tennis ball. Just lean against the wall and apply enough pressure to feel the painful area. The temptation is to press harder but resist it. Instead, breathe out and allow the muscle to soften under the ball. Then move to another spot and repeat. Continue doing this until most of the painful spots are gone.
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About The Muscle Repair Shop
Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop Founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday. Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs. Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique.
Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allows clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.