Stretching

Is it Really Your Age?

I just had a client come in to see me complaining of low back pain. She had been to doctors who had sent her to physical therapy. After several weeks of therapy, her back improved a little but still nagging her every time she did anything. She went back to her doctor to complain, he politely said to her, it is probably your age. This woman is less than fifty years old, how could it be her age? Most people would agree with the doctor, since all of our peers tell us that after 40 it is downhill from there.  With so many people living to well in their 80’s, that means that more than half your life is living in pain.

   According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, more people suffer with pain each year then diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Opiods have been the answer for a while and we are learning that is not working. Braces, injections, and surgeries don’t seem to be slowing the pain down. The question is what do we do now? When the lifespan was only 65-70 years old, we could survive till death, but today we are living much longer and it is becoming impossible to survive that long.

 The best answer I have seen is learning how the brain works with our muscles and how to stretch our bodies correctly. What we see in the gyms and on TV is not stretching correctly. It is disappointing to see all these highly educated people stretching people incorrectly. We need to teach them better. Learning to stretch correctly stopped my own back pain 16 years ago and I see it helping people everyday regardless of their ages. What age has to do with your aches and pains is to tell you how long it took you to get to the pain. Everybody at 50 does not have the same pain in the same place. Your pain has more to do with your lifestyle. Things like the way you walk, stand, and sit play a huge role in the amount of pain you suffer. I will talk in future posts more specifically about gait and posture so stay tuned for that. Be sure to ask questions or make comments on any of my posts as I am open to questions and comments.

Stretching

#1 Reason People Fail the Fitness Resolution!

 Happy New Year! Yes, it is that time of year again when we all create our New Year’s resolution. Not surprisingly, getting in shape always seems to be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, by February 1 we feel we have failed then just quit. I used to do the same thing. I had great intentions to lose the weight by going to the gym, but the problem was I felt worse after working out than I did fat. You miss a few training sessions and now you feel it is hopeless.

   I remember working in a gym as a trainer and  see the same people come in every December, buy a membership for themselves or a partner.  They would usually come in with new gym outfits and confident this would be the year to lose that weight. Sadly, by the second week of January, many would no longer come back. Then the next December it would start all over. Why is this so difficult?

   It can be hard to believe that we are no longer 22 years old anymore and the in the gym, that is very apparent. Members would come in and try pick up their workouts where they left off in high school or college. Of course that was 20 plus years ago which is a recipe for an injury. So the injury would stop them and leave them feeling like they are too old to work out. Others would come and workout as instructed but would wake up the next day sore and stiff. They would feel hopeless because they had pictured themselves feeling awesome as in the ads for the gym. Sometimes a trainer’s ego can get the best of them and they can work you too hard, too fast. Sadly, few people understand the value of proper stretching. Traditional stretching like you see in most gyms and schools is not correct stretching and may lead to more injuries.

   The #1 reason people fail to get fit, STIFFNESS! Yes, the work out will make you stronger, give you more stamina, and it will definitely make you stiff! I am not saying you should not work out, but you must add the stretching into the routine as well. Think of your car. We all know we need gas and oil for the car to keep running, correct? Think of strength training as the gas and stretching as the oil.Leave one out and the car stops, so will you.

  Strength training will build strength and improve stamina, but it shortens the muscles which apply pressure to your joints and nerves, including your back. That pressure will stop your body from producing enough lubricate in the joints and discs which allow you to move smoothly. The joints and discs will dry out and create arthritic conditions.

   Stretching, on the other hand, can free those joints by creating space between your vertebrae and joints which allow the lubricating fluid to soften and cushion to alleviate pain. Unfortunately, too many people hold their stretches too long and apply too much force which switches the stretching to strength training.

  So let’s make plans again this year to get in shape. Begin your workouts as soon as possible, let us teach you how to stretch properly, and visit a nutritionist to learn how to eat a proper diet to achieve your goals.  No diet that requires deprivation only will work. It is not about calories in, calories out, but your emotional tie to food. The quality of the food, like the quality of the gas in your car, will determine how well you run.With the proper plan you can achieve your goal. I know this works because I lost 105 lbs. in 1997 and I never re-gained it back by staying on the plan.