“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” George Burns. I love that line. I often hear my massage clients say that their pain is a result of old age. This amuses me, as often enough, I am the same age or older than they are. They will ask me after giving a 90-minute massage, “Aren’t you exhausted?” I say, “Not at all, if anything, I feel invigorated.” It is all in the way I move when massaging someone. I use the larger muscles in my body to move around the table and put myself in a position of mechanical advantage to reach the area I wish to work on. I apply pressure where needed by using my body weight to get into those niggly bits. I bend without rounding my back to keep my own back healthy. I don’t buy into the idea that we have to become stiff and live in pain as we age. That is why I also teach people how changing their posture, can change their lives. By teaching people how to lengthen, strengthen and reshape their bodies, they can start moving and enjoying their lives again. The bottom line is “How you move matters.”
It breaks my heart to hear people having to give up the things that they love because they just can’t move the way they used to. I am not only referring to sports but things like gardening, dancing or even walking in nature. Learning how to align the body to work the way it is designed, gives you more freedom to move with less pain. People don’t get too old to move, they stop moving and then blame their lack of ability to do things on age.
“My creaky aging joints are unavoidable.” Actually, not exercising is what makes achy joints inevitable. When Australian researchers at the Monash University Medical School looked at women ages 40 to 67, they found that those who exercised had more cartilage in their knees. It suggests that being physically active made them less likely to develop arthritis. Even if you’re born with the healthiest set of genes, how you live your life determines how they behave over your lifespan. One way your genes can be changed is by how much physical activity you get. If you aren’t moving as much as you would like due to painful joints and muscle aches, I would suggest you look at why? Most of the pain we experience today is a result of imbalances and misalignment of the body due to poor posture. Correcting it becomes a very important first step in getting active again. Recent studies have proven that 90% of low back pain is the result of poor posture.
You don’t have to conform to the belief that as you age, your bones become fragile and your posture becomes bent. Remember, only death is certain when it comes to aging. Osteoporosis is definitely more common in older people, but it’s also very preventable. A study of females over 100 years of age found that only 56 percent had osteoporosis, and their average age at diagnosis was 87. Not bad, given these women grew up before the benefits of diet and exercise on bone were understood. Thankfully, you know better. Exercise should be part of the optimal management of every patient with osteoporosis. However, this is not usually the case as most physicians don’t know how to direct people when it comes to physical exercise in these cases nor do they have the time to follow up and track the results. Weight-bearing exercise, which works against gravity and stimulates bone formation, is more effective in preventing osteoporosis than non-weight bearing. Bones respond better to particular types of exercise, including: 1.) Weight-bearing exercises like brisk walking, hiking, stair climbing, tennis, netball, jogging and aerobic dance. 2.) Resistance training, doing planks or machine-based exercises like leg presses and seated rowing or using free weights i.e. dumbbells or ankle weights. 3.) Yoga won’t bulk you up but it will improve flexibility, balance, bone density, endurance, muscle mass, agility and energy level.
If I haven’t inspired you to start moving more at this point, perhaps you can look at how movement affects your sex life. Impotence and reduced libido are related to normally preventable medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. The solution is keeping yourself in shape. Something as simple as lifting weights a couple times a week can improve your sex life. And yes, sexual desire might decline a bit as you age, but that doesn’t typically occur until age 75.
The bottom line is, there is no universal definition of aging. How you’ll age is entirely up to you and the time to begin writing that definition is today. If you are looking to regain healthy movement in your life, see how changing your daily habits can change your life. Go to my teacher’s page for updates on Free workshops and courses in Australia www.gokhalemethod.com/biography/Michelle_Ball
Contributed by Michelle “Mickie” Ball – Massage therapist and Gokhale Method® Teacher and Posture Coach. PH: 0428 223 271 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org