When it comes to exercise, one size doesn’t fit all. The exercise you choose is influenced by your health, lifestyle, work hours, responsibilities and more. While we’ve all come to understand how important it is to exercise, having a strong sense of what your choices are, is helpful. Here are the basics on the 4 types:
Endurance: Walking, jogging, yard work and dancing, are all considered endurance, or aerobic, exercises. They have a positive impact on your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Not only do they improve your cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of many diseases, they also help you build stamina.
Strength: Strength training makes your muscles stronger and help you stay independent. Strength exercises like lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing isometric exercises (where muscles are held in place with minimal movement) can make quite a difference in your ability to do things like carry groceries, lift up a child, and other such everyday activities.
Balance: Many lower-body strength exercises that are a part of balance training can make a world of difference in the quality of life for seniors. Exercises like, standing on one foot, doing a heel-to-toe walk, and Tai Chi, strengthen the lower body and help to prevent falls.
Flexibility: Being flexible will naturally give you more freedom in your movement and the benefits are obvious when it comes to everyday activities like getting dressed and driving. Flexibility exercises intentionally stretch your muscles and help your body stay limber. Yoga is a great flexibility exercise along with doing things like calf-stretches and shoulder and upper-arm stretches.
When you think about these exercises and what works best for you, it is helpful to contemplate ways that you can incorporate all 4 types of exercise into your life. Doing just one exercise, such as focusing only on weight-lifting for strength, can help you get stronger, but reduce your flexibility. Walking without stretching can lead to muscle injuries.
While we encourage you to exercise, we also encourage you to mix it up. Remember that physical therapy isn’t just for rehabilitating from an injury. We set up exercise programs regularly for patients who are of all different ages with many different goals. Exercise is a key component to injury prevention and optimal performance.
When you choose, choose wisely and know that we are here to help you, too.
For those who struggle with food, the holidays followed by the beginning of a new year can be overwhelming. The pressure to adopt (and keep) a new year’s diet resolution is heightened. Promotions for dietary programs are everywhere. There is traditionally lots of focus on the prospect of “looking good” – which is far less important than feeling good and being able to move well and live well.
In our first entry for our 2020 Mobility InSight with PTP series, we want to share just a few motivating facts about how a well-balanced diet impacts your mobility. We encourage you to use these facts to strengthen your resolve and make food choices that enhance the quality of your life. We sincerely value our patients and are committed to giving you information that promotes your well-being in a simple and helpful manner.
Here are 3 meaningful MOBILITY reasons to adopt and maintain a well-balanced diet: (In case it is helpful, here is a great link to what is considered a well-balanced diet.)
A well-balanced diet will reduce fluid build-up in your legs and ankles. Swelling in your lower legs and ankles is often caused by hypertension. When your blood pressure is high, your heart works harder. Over time, this extra effort can lead to the heart muscle becoming thicker and less effective. This allows fluid to build up in your lower legs and ankles, which causes them to swell up and often causes movement to become painful and difficult. Eating smart helps your heart and your mobility.
A well-balanced diet has a positive impact on arthritis. Processed (packaged) foods, sugar and sugar alternatives, fried foods, white flour products (like pasta, some breads) are all examples of foods that can cause inflammation. Inflammation, a major cause of arthritis, can be made worse when these foods are part of your daily diet. Reducing your intake of these foods can reduce inflammation and pain and improve your mobility.
A well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Though our bones can weaken over time, there is excellent data that shows us that the loss of bone density and strength can be reduced by making healthy food choices. When we don’t have a well balanced mix of calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (all often out-of-balance in fad diets), we compromise our bones (and our nerves and muscles), often leading to an increased risk of fractures and other related health issues.
To give you a healthy reminder of WHY making great food choices is a gift to you and your mobility, we made you a small poster that you can download HERE. Stay tuned for our next 2020 Mobility InSight with PTP segment.
Until then know that we are rooting for you, your good health. and your mobility!