Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Kind of Old Person Do You Want to Be?

My husband Paul and I have quite the long and active bucket list, which we have been busy checking off. Now, we are not dying but given the inevitable, we decided to make a list of things we wanted to do before that day. As a physical therapist, I have an understanding of the aging body that has made me realize we should set a time line. I have also seen a great variety in this aging process and it is not all genetics but also very active-dependent. 

So about 10 years ago, after noticing that my husband was ignoring my workout suggestions (as husbands do), I finally pushed the right button. I said, “Paul, with all your plans for the next 50 years, I was wondering what kind of old person do you want to be?” This got his attention! He wanted to know more. So I explained what sitting at a desk for 10-12 hours a day would do to him. I went on to describe how working out only certain areas of this body (pects, lats and rectus abdomens with push ups, pull downs and sit ups, plus 20 minutes on the stair mill 3-5x a week) although good in many ways was also causing imbalances in his body. These imbalances would probably end up in joint problems in his neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees and feet and eventually hip, knee, shoulder or back surgeries and maybe even joint replacements. These life-changing events might get in the way of his biking, skiing, water skiing, tennis, golfing, climbing and hiking.

I definitely had his attention and Paul, agreed to let me help him get properly evaluated and instructed in a balanced exercise regime which included a FMS (functional manual screening), sports performance improvement program, functional training, strengthening, balance and stretching. This has resulted in performance improvements and a couple of minimal injuries, which consisted of a minor calf strain and a few fractured ribs showing off how low he could get to the water while water skiing.

Without these improvements Paul may not have been able to fully experience Kilamanjaro, the Everest base camp, Fitzroy and Torres del Pain in Patagonia, the Milford pass in New Zealand or 54 holes of golf at St. Andrews in 12 hours this past August for his 54th b'day just to name a few. I am sure as he continues his program he will complete this ever-growing bucket list and be the kind of older person he envisioned. 

 How does this story affect you? 

Well, along our travels we met some people who were unable to accompany their partners up the mountain due to injuries or they were just not fit enough. Bad knees and backs now limit others we know who thought they were fit. Unfortunately, now that they have the time to travel they are no longer able to climb up to see the sites or are unable to play golf without a golf cart. 

How can you be the kind of older person you want to be and when should you start thinking about this? 

Now is the answer and Duffy & Bracken can help you design a customized program. 
  • An FMS delivered by a highly skilled physical therapist will give you the knowledge to empower you to get on the right path. 
  • A performance improvement program - if you play a sport - will give your body the right tools to begin performing the skill you have been having trouble with, no matter what sport or coaching you have tried. 
  • GTS classes will give you a balanced exercise program and teach you how to exercise in a balanced way, push yourself and get results. 
  • Happy Feet will evaluate and teach you how to take care of your feet by wearing the right shoes for you. 
  • An Ergonomic review for your home or office desk will help you get the right set up to avoid straining your body 8-12 hours a day. 
Let us help you, help you!