It is very common for our balance to get worse as we age. Many of us think that it is a normal part of the aging process, and just something that we have to deal with.
I am here to tell you that you don’t have to settle for your balance getting worse as you get older.
When I work with athletes, it is imperative to keep their hip muscles loose so that they are functional. As an athletes’ hips get tighter, their athletic performance will decline.
The low back and hip muscles allow us to stand up and sit down, cut back and forth, twist, pivot, and switch directions. The tighter that they get, the harder it is to cut, move, and do the things that athletes have to do.
What this means to a normal person is that the tighter their hips get, the more likely they will be to trip and fall, and the worse the effects from the fall will be.
Your Ability to Balance: All About the Age
Studies that show that the older we get, the more susceptible we are to falling, and the more the falling affects us. My 95 year old uncle Mort used to joke that the older he got, the harder the ground got. The tighter your low back and hips are, the harder it is to raise your foot to clear a curb or obstacle while you are walking and talking to a friend.
I find that tight low back and hip muscles make us more likely to fall, and make the effects of that fall, worse. This tightness is something that doesn’t occur overnight, it slowly and insidiously builds up over time.
That’s why most of us think that our tight and sore low back and hips are just part of life, and just part of getting older.
A tight low back, hips and legs are not a normal part of getting older.
Muscle tightness builds up every day. Everyday we are doing the same motions over and over again. These repetitive motions are what slowly, and insidiously, tighten up our muscles every day. The muscles get tighter and tighter over time until they pull on our joints and bones to give us bad posture, followed by joint pain. When someone bends over to tie their shoe and they throw their back out, it is due to tight muscles. It wasn’t bending over to tie the shoe caused the issue, that was the straw that broke the camels back. It was all of the muscle tightness building up over years, causing the muscles to get irritated and inflamed, and likely to be pulled, injured, sprained or strained.
Tight hip and low back muscles are becoming an epidemic in our society. With everybody sitting for hours at desks in front of computers, most people will have some hip and low back tightness. Sitting for long periods tightens up the muscles in the legs, hips and low back, (also in the neck shoulders and arms but that is a different topic). Sitting causes the muscles in the legs, hips and low back to get so tight that they become non functional. This is because every minute that you are sitting, the muscles in your legs, hips, core and back, are all contracting to keep you sitting upright and prevent you from flopping over like a boneless chicken.
Treating Your Chronic Sitting
A common diagnosis for this, I kid you not, is “Dormant Butt Syndrome”. This means that the muscles in the hip (or butt) area, get so tight from sitting too long that they become non functional, they won’t contract or move. The muscles get so tight that they can’t move. This causes a huge muscle imbalance in the hips and low back, and creates a whole host of back pain and injury.
The best way to treat this issue, how to prevent this issue form coming on in the first place, and prevent it from coming back, is to exercise, stretch and trigger point yourself. You want to keep the muscles in your back, hips and legs loose and strong. You want to stretch on a regular basis, and exercise on a regular basis.
Just walking won’t do it. Walking is a great exercise, but it has to be coupled with some other strength training and stretching. Otherwise walking will strengthen you up in an imbalanced way.
It’s like when I work on a construction worker who tells me that he doesn’t need to exercise because his work keeps him in shape.
Your work will strengthen you up in an imbalanced way because you are doing the same motions over and over again, and usually they aren’t balanced out to both sides of the body.
Usually you’ll have to use one side more, repeatedly. Over time this creates a muscle imbalance by overusing some muscles while other muscles get underused. This imbalance will eventually create injury and pain.
That is why it is so important to do some strength training and some stretching. You want to keep the muscles strong and loose.
But it has to be a balanced routine. That is why I put together Pain Free Lifestyle. It is a balanced, easy on your body exercise, nutrition and stretching system that anyone can follow, from home, spending about 20-30 minutes per day.
You don’t have to go through Pain Free Lifestyle. There are many exercise and stretching systems out there. You can do yoga, which is stretching and strengthening. Pilates, Ti Chi, Chi Gong, are also examples of systems that stretch and strengthen, are easy on your body, and are low impact.
I am a huge fan of weight lifting, but only when done moderately. As we age, heavy, high intensity weight lifting beats us up more and more and we recover slower and slower from it. That’s why I would recommend that whatever exercise system you choose, you can do it repeatedly, and without pain.
You want to feel better after a workout, not beaten up and in pain.
You want an exercise system that you can stick with, without causing pain and injury.
Exercise smarter, not harder.
Eat intelligently, not less.
Have a Pain Free Day.
“If I had known I was going to live this long then I would have taken better care of myself.”
“Getting old isn’t for sissies.”
“This pain is just due to getting old.”
These are all common sayings I hear around my office.
I am here to tell you that just because you are aging, doesn’t mean that you have to be in pain. Aging doesn’t equal pain.
I have been in practice for almost 15 years. I am a chiropractor who specializes in neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries. I am a trigger point specialist.
The people who have seen every type of medical doctor out there and still don’t have any idea of what’s wrong with them, they are in pain, can’t find out what is wrong with them, and have no idea how to reduce their pain, come to see me for an answer and a treatment.
Our overall health is related to how we take care of ourselves rather than related to how big or small our waistlines are.
Pain Free Lifestyle exercise and nutrition programs are designed around the principle that it is more important to take care of yourself, be healthy and feel well than it is to lose weight and be thin. The program is designed around the belief that it is more important to be healthy than it is to look healthy. The program is comprised of exercises that are designed to make you feel better, rather than to get skinny. Pain-Free Lifestyle is not a get-thin-quick scheme.
A new, anti-diet book came out that reinforces this approach to exercise and nutrition. It is called “The Obesity Paradox,” and it is written by Cardiologist Carl J. Lavie. Lavie, who is a cardiologist at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, said it very succinctly: “Looks can be deceiving.”
Rest is one of the most often overlooked components of staying in shape. It is hard to know when to work through pain, and when to listen to your body and back off and rest. Rest usually isn’t even considered a component to staying in shape. But rest is essential if you want to continue to exercise.
How much time should you take off? Do you take the time off completely? Will you lose conditioning if you take too much time off? These are all valid questions that can be hard to answer, even if you know about exercise.
You’ve heard the saying you are what you eat.
Well, it might just be more true than you think.
As anyone who reads my articles can attest, I am a big fan of vitamins and supplements.
I believe that when they are taken as designed, as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle, they have a positive effect on our health.
People get in trouble when they take vitamins and supplements as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. I have heard the mindset of “I don’t have to exercise or watch what I eat since I take vitamins.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If you’re like most of us, you hate going to the gym. You want to get fit, but joining a gym is too expensive, too inconvenient, or maybe you’re just the independent type.
No gym? No problem. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need fancy, expensive exercise equipment to get your body back into shape. All you need is to know how to work out properly and which exercises are proper for your body. If you know what you are doing, then you can perform more than enough exercises at home to get you into shape and to keep you there.
Pain has become a much discussed and debated topic as of late within the health care communities. Pain used to be viewed as a side effect or symptom of a disease process. It was thought that once you fix, cure, or calm down the disease process, the pain will go away. The pain was looked at as a side effect.
Now research is showing that pain can become a separate disease process and not just a symptom of another disease. Research has been increasing in this topic since the Institute of Medicine released a report calling on academia, government, and physician groups to develop a plan for treating and managing pain.
It seems that I spend most of my time in my practice trying to either convince patients to exercise or to convince them to back off from exercise.
Most people don’t exercise enough. Many people come into my office with a health issue that’s been coming on for years, they haven’t done anything to manage it or help it out, and they want me to fix it in one treatment.
On the other end of the spectrum, I get people in my office who exercise too much. Their bodies are in a state of chronic overuse which makes them much more injury prone. When a muscle is overused, it is tight, irritated, and inflamed. A muscle in this state is primed for injury. When a muscle is in this state, it doesn’t take much to injure it.