Age Related Physical Changes?

Elderly
Elderly

Getting older isn’t for sissies! As soon as life begins our bodies start to prepare us. Our bodies are wonderful machines that help us to grow and acquire various physical skills that we will use all our lives. The bad news is that once the body systems have fully matured aging starts, as early as our teens. So, the truth is while we feel the effects of aging more as past 50 our bodies have been aging for awhile with subtle changes we may not have noticed before may have a major impact to our physical performance capabilities. 

So, let’s explore what some of those changes are. When we are talking about physical capability we look at 5 key areas which I will review below.

I am quite tall, and I remember as a child my mother would put a book on my head and make me walk around with it balanced on my head as she was wanted to ensure that I had good posture. Being tall herself she knew that I would probably tend to slump to make myself look smaller. I thought it was silly but am grateful for it now. Many things beside trying to make yourself shorter can affect posture. For those of us who carry purses or briefcases slung over our shoulders this can lead to changes in postural alignment, including a more forward head, rounded shoulders, an increase or decrease in the spinal curve in the lower back and increased bending in the hips and knees.

Strength declines with age especially if you do nothing to keep your muscles strong. You don’t need to as strong as a weight lifter but you do want to be able to carry groceries from the car, lift up your grandkids or do any of the other activities you do during the day .

Balance is also affected as you age. The tightening and weakening of muscles and decreased range of motion of joints can alter the body’s ability to respond to a balance challenge. Decreased circulation can affect the brains’ ability to help you stay balanced. These changes make you increasingly prone to falls.

The loss of flexibility results from changes in the body’s collagen structures. Collagen is a fibrous connective tissue that makes up about 30 per cent of the protein of your body tissues. As you age collagen fibres begin to stick together, causing connective tissue to become less elastic. Among other things this lack of elasticity can make it difficult to do shoulder checks when driving or bend over to tie your shoes . 

Endurance is also affected by age, the ability to perform an activity like walking or running for a period. Because you are less flexible and have weakened muscles, it takes more energy to remain physically active. Thus, your body tires more quickly than it did before when you were younger. A loss of elasticity in the lungs and a slight stiffening of the air passageways can make breathing harder during endurance exercise.

The Silver Bullet

Yes there is a sliver bullet and it called movement . No matter how active or inactive you have been in the past by bringing movement into your life you can improve your posture, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. 

Written by…

chess
Uncategorized
Jill Erridge

Who Wants A Fitter Brain?

I am sure that there are days when we would all like to have a better brain. Unfortunately, unlike many other organs we have in

Read More »

Is Functional Fitness Right For You?

Fit and sexy woman doing yoga in a park
Fit and sexy woman doing yoga in a park

So first, what is functional fitness? The Mayo Clinic define it as “exercises that train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently”. Who couldn’t use a little more efficiency in their lives particularly as it pertains to exercise given the most common reason for not exercising is lack of time. Read on and see what functional fitness can do for you.

Functional fitness prepares the body for real life movements and activities, the easier it is to do the everyday activities we all do daily, the less stressed we are and the more confident we are about our abilities. This is particularly relevant for those of us over 50 for all the reasons I talked about in my previous blog.

Now let’s explore what functional fitness is. It trains your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movement you might do at home, at work or in sports. The bonus is that by using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness also emphasizes core stability which is important for balance. There are 5 key movements that we focus on. They are pushing as you would a revolving door, pulling as you would when opening a door, lifting as you when carrying groceries, twisting as we do when we get in and out of the car and reaching up as we do when looking for that hidden stash of cookies on the top shelf.

As an example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise and down from a chair or pick up low objects. Now you might be saying I squat everyday just getting up and down isn’t that exercise?  Yes, it is however it is probably exercise being done incorrectly. There is a right way and a wrong way to get out of a chair. The picture below shows the right way. Is that how you get up from a chair or are you leaning more forward using momentum to eject you out? 

What are the benefits of Functional Fitness?

  1. Improves everyday life: Fitness experts have proven that by improving the overall function of your body, boosting muscle strength and endurance, and developing muscle and body stability, everyday activities can be completed with ease. every day.”  In addition, functional fitness improves overall quality of life due to the stress relief factor. 
  2. Greater muscle memory: By performing regular functional fitness exercises you are not just building muscle and core strength but exercising the brain too – effectively boosting your brain’s memory.
  3. Increased mobility: Functional fitness helps to improve balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and agility. All these components will leave you more mobile, which in turn helps with your day-to-day life.
  4. Improves balance and posture: Since functional fitness is all about fitness the body to make the muscles work together instead of targeted fitness, overall strength and balance will improve. Fitness the muscles to manage weight properly will also reduce stress on the body. In turn, posture will be improved.
  5. Reduced risk of injury: By mimicking the movements done in everyday life, the body is more likely to be able to withstand stressors. Functional fitness  encourages muscle and   ligament strength, which are the areas that are highly susceptible to injury.
  6. This type of fitness is usually more fun than others since you are essentially fitness for your everyday life.

If you think Functional fitness is for you contact me for a free consultation.

Written by…

chess
Uncategorized
Jill Erridge

Who Wants A Fitter Brain?

I am sure that there are days when we would all like to have a better brain. Unfortunately, unlike many other organs we have in

Read More »

Who Wants A Fitter Brain?

chess
chess

I am sure that there are days when we would all like to have a better brain. Unfortunately, unlike many other organs we have in our bodies we are not yet able to transplant a new brain when the one we have isn’t operating at its peak. So that leaves us with the challenge of taking the best care of our brains as we possibly can, when we can. Which is now. We have had many advances in science in the last decade and now understand much more about the brain than we used to. We know that the brain continues to build new cells and pathways right up until the day we die. So, for those of us who may have misspent our youth experimenting with drinking and marijuana this is great news – all those brain cells we killed can be replaced – hopefully with more responsible brain cells 😊

What is Brain Fitness? It is the state of having a quick, efficient and flexible cognitive processing, likely a consequence of an increased number of neurons, functional connection between neurons and processing speed. Using brain fitness, you can continue to learn well into old age, develop new skills and abilities and alter your behavior and performance.

I said you could rebuild new brain cells, but it doesn’t happen automatically – there are things that we need to do to encourage and facilitate the growth of new brain cells and pathways. There are 3 key ways to keep your brain fit which I am going to touch on today.

 The single most powerful thing you can do to keep your brain fit is physical exercise. Scientists have proven that cell replacement doubles or triples through movement. Movement has more impact on your brain fitness doing crosswords, sudoku, Luminosity or any other passive activity. If you think about babies, they explore the world around them through movement – it is our first and most natural teacher yet as we age there is a tendency to move less because it is hard or painful or we are too busy to build conscious movement into our daily lives.

All physical exercise is good and will help your brain, if you really want to boost the brain through movement there are a few things to keep in mind for optimal results. Research has found that movements that integrate both sides of the body in a coherent manner and equally activate both right and left motor and sensor cortexes as well cross the midline of the body are optimal. (Brain Gym and Me- Dr. Paul Dennison).

Movement is the silver bullet to brain fitness and if you remember my previous blog it is also the sliver bullet to physical health. Do you see the trend that is developing here? 

Along with conscious movement you also need to feed your brain as you would your body for optimal health, Coincidentally the same food that keeps your body healthy keeps your brain healthy. Food is more than nutrients for our body it informs the DNA in our bodies what to do. If you could ask your genes to say what kinds of foods are best for your health, they would have a simple answer: one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates. That’s what recent genetic research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) shows is the best recipe to limit your risk of most lifestyle-related diseases. Avoid processed food as it is low in nutrient value, make greens your best friend and banish sugar from your world just for starters and you will feel a difference. 

The 3rd component of brain fitness is mindset or what thoughts you hold in your brain and what you tell your brain. Your mindset determines how you will interact with the world around us. If you focus your attention on the negative and on scarcity versus abundance, then your brain becomes a source of negativity for you and the lens through which you view the world. If you focus your attention on the positive and abundance versus scarcity your brain lights up with positivity and the lens through which you view the world is a sparkly and positive view.. Each day we recycle about 70% of the thoughts good and bad that we had the previous day and as we recycle them the truer they become. Learn to recycle the good ones .

In summary your fit brain needs movement , nutrition and a positive outlook . What have you have you done for your brain lately?

If you want to learn more about neuroplasticity check out this video.

If you would like to learn more about fitness for your brain come to my Active Aging Essential Brain workshop. Link to events.

Written by…

chess
Uncategorized
Jill Erridge

Who Wants A Fitter Brain?

I am sure that there are days when we would all like to have a better brain. Unfortunately, unlike many other organs we have in

Read More »