by Cathy Clements, Nutritionist & Life Coach, NASM CNC, CPT, FNS, WFS
I have had to come back from injury, as many of you. Any injury you can avoid is a good avoided injury. Work toward that.
As a child, I was outside and very active. I broke a few bones, received stitches in my hand, leg and face. In my early 30s, I dislocated my shoulder for the first time. So when I tell my clients, the damage we do to our bodies before the age of 40, we pay for after the age of 40, I know from experience. I am still having problems with my shoulder, specifically.
There are four things to think about and work on to help reduce injuries: balance, flexibility, strength and posture.
These four are very interconnected. As we age we lose muscle mass from our 30s on. I am not talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger size muscles.
If you are the same weight you were in high school and haven’t been exercising, it is certain if you were to measure your body mass, you would discover it has decreased. You may say, well I am the same weight; that number on the scale matters!
But muscle helps us move our bodies and helps hold our bodies in good posture, which in turn helps us balance as we move. We fall less and have fewer injuries as we age.
Flexibility of our muscles aids our balance and posture. As we age, we tend not to be as active as we may have been when we were younger. If we aren’t, we are sitting more, which allows the hamstrings and glute muscle to become deconditioned. This can lead to lower back weakness and possible injury.
Stretching and strengthening these muscles — because they are some of the largest in the body — will help with all four: posture, balance, strength and flexibility. Plus more muscle helps to burn fat.
Posture is not just an aesthetic. The more bent over we become from injury, deconditioning, reading our phones or leaning over computers, our center of gravity changes. We have more back and hamstring pain. It changes our visual perspective, limits our view and increases the chances of a fall.
Working on these four things can limit the need for pain management.