Wellness Wednesday – Lower Back Pain, No More!

Do you have lower back pain? If so, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. And, in one survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months. That’s a lot of people! There are various reasons why so many of us develop back pain, and some of the risk factors include age, fitness level, weight gain, and genetics.

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So, let’s talk about what we should do about it. First of all, stay active. Even if you experience some discomfort in your back, bed rest should be limited. In fact, one study found that bed rest alone may make back pain worse and lead to other complications like depression, decreased muscle tone, and blood clots in the legs. Stretching and strengthening exercises, however, can help alleviate chronic back pain and may help prevent it in the future.

Try these 5 exercises to stretch and strengthen your back and supporting muscles. Repeat each exercise five times, and then increase the number of repetitions as you get stronger and the exercises get easier. And, if you can’t get down to the floor to do them, don’t worry. You can do them on your bed or on a stretching table. There are lots of options. If you’ve ever hurt your back or have other health conditions, such as osteoporosis, consult your doctor before doing these exercises.

 

Back Extension

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms bent and palms flat on the floor under your shoulders.

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  1. Pushing with your hands and forearms, slowly lift your upper body off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds.

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  1. Slowly lower back down to starting position and repeat.

 

*Tip – Your neck should stay in a neutral position. Be careful not to look up as you lift your body. This could hurt your neck. You should be looking at the floor for the entire movement.

*Tip – The movement is small and should be slow and controlled, not jerky.

 

DSC00942Crawl

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees, keeping your arms straight under your shoulders and your hips bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight like it’s a table top.

 

  1. Perform a crawl-like motion, slightly raising the right hand and left knee off the ground at the same time. Hold for 2 seconds.

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  1. Slowly lower back down and switch sides, so you are lifting the left hand and right knee. Hold for 2 seconds, lower, and repeat.

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*Tip – This is a VERY small movement, so you don’t need to lift either the hand or the knee very high.

*Tip – Keep your neck in a neutral position. You should be staring at the floor throughout the entire movement. Be careful not to look up, as it might hurt your neck.

 

Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet planted firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

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  1. Push through your heels and lift your hips and butt off the ground. Squeeze when you get to the top and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds.

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  1. Slowly lower back down to the floor and repeat.

 

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet planted firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

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  1. Using both hands, pull one knee and press it to your chest. Tighten your abs and press your spine to the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

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  1. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.

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  1. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with both legs at the same time.

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  1. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the entire cycle.

 

DSC00942Cat Stretch

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees, keeping your arms straight under your shoulders and your hips bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight like it’s a table top.

 

2. Upward Phase: Pull your belly in and round your spine, back, shoulders, and neck, letting your head drop. You’ll look like an angry cat. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

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  1. Downward Phase: Then slowly let your back and abs sag toward the floor, increasing the arch in your mid and low back. Allow the abs to stretch towards the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

 

  1. Return to the starting position and repeat the entire cycle.

 

 

Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER….age is just a number

boomersNmotion.com

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Wellness Wednesday…What Does “HEALTHY” Really Mean?

 

 

If you watched the news at all last week, you probably saw that the FDA is planning to change its definition of “healthy.” Under the current rules, Frosted Flakes and Pop-Tarts could be considered healthy, but an avocado and salmon could not.

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Wait a second! This doesn’t make any sense. A strawberry Pop-Tart has 16 grams of sugar and includes a long list of ingredients including, not just corn syrup, but also high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sugar, and various food dyes. This list is anything but healthy; yet, at the present time, the FDA would consider this a healthy food.

It’s very confusing, and you may be left scratching your head. What if the foodimages-2s that you’ve been eating for years really aren’t that good for you? What if you were lead to believe a food was healthy based on the label, only to find out it’s really hurting your health? Can we really trust any food labels, and can we even trust the FDA to make current, up-to-date guidelines that giant food companies must follow? The current definition of “healthy” was created back in 1994 and has not been changed since that time.

If you’re like the majority of Baby Boomers and older adults, you want to stay healthy for all your years to come. A big part of that revolves around what you eat. Forget about what the FDA says and become educated, so you can make your own decisions regarding the foods you consume. If you’re looking for a place to start, keep reading.

 

In the book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan lists five guidelines on how we should be eating today. I agree completely with each item. Here’s what he says…

 

  1. DON’T EAT ANYTHING YOUR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE AS FOOD.

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For example, would your great grandmother know what a Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt tube was? I bet not.

 

  1. AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS CONTAINING INGREDIENTS THAT ARE A) UNFAMILIAR, B) UNPRONOUNCEABLE, C) MORE THAN FIVE IN NUMBER, OR THAT INCLUDE D) HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.

Think of a loaf of bread, for instance. Your grandmother would tell you bread contains a small number of ingredients: flour, yeast, water, and a pinch of salt. However, when you look at the ingredient list on a loaf of bread at the grocery store, you’ll find a much longer list including high fructose corn syrup, guar gum, and azodicarbonamide. You’re better off leaving it on the shelf. Besides, what is azodicarbonamide anyway?

 

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  1. AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS THAT MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS.debunked-9-super-healthy-food-labels

Think about it… for a food product to make health claims on the package, it must first have a package. Right off the bat it’s more likely to be processed than a whole food.

 

 

 

  1. SHOP THE PERIPHERIES OF THE SUPERMARKET AND STAY OUT OF THE MIDDLE.

Most supermarkets have a similar layout with the processed foods dominating the center aisles, while the fresh food – dairy, produce, meat, and fish – line the walls.

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  1. GET OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET WHENEVER POSSIBLE

Think farmers’ market instead. You’ll have a full selection of in-season, fresh, whole foods that will make your insides sing!

 

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Still need more help sorting through this nutritional maze and live on the West Coast of Florida? Contact us today to schedule a SUPERMARKET SHAPE-UP session with a certified health coach. We’ll help you fill your cart with real “healthy” foods and teach you what to look for in the future.

Contact us TODAY at coaches@boomersNmotion.com or 330-990-0990!

 

 

Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER….age is just a number!  

boomersNmotion.com

Wellness Wednesday…Exercises to Help You Get UP from the Floor

It’s Wellness Wednesday, so let’s get strong! Last week we spoke about getting down to the floor and then getting back up. Have you practiced over the past few days? Is it easy for you, or do you struggle with it? Maybe you’re not able to do it at all because of past surgeries or medical conditions. That’s okay. We all have unique abilities, and it’s important that you do all YOU can do.

Today I’m going to give you 3 exercises that will strengthen your whole body. I chose these 3 specifically because they will help you get up from the floor. Based on the technique we learned last week, we saw that we need to use our upper bodies to push ourselves up and then our legs to actually stand. These exercises will help you with the pushing motion of your arms and upper body and the standing motion from your legs.

Even if you’re not planning to get down on the floor anytime soon, these exercises are still GREAT for you. Perform 2 to 3 sets of each exercise 3 times a week. You’ll feel stronger before you know it!

 

Wall Push-Up

*These push-ups will strengthen your chest, shoulders, and arms!

  1. Face a wall, standing a little farther than awall_push_uprm’s length away, feet shoulder-width apart.
  1. Lean your body forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  1. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the wall in a slow, controlled movement. Make sure to keep your feet flat on the floor.
  1. Hold the position for 1 second.
  1. Slowly push yourself back until your arms are straight.
  1. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

 

 

Chair Dip

*This pushing motion will strengthen your arm muscles!

  1. Sit in a sturdy chair with armrests with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.chair_dip
  1. Lean slightly forward, keeping your back and shoulders straight.
  1. Grasp the arms of the chair with your hands next to you.
  1. Use your arms to push your body slowly off the chair.
  1. Hold the position for 1 second.
  1. Slowly lower yourself back down.
  1. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

 

 

Chair Stand

*This exercise, which strengthens your abdomen and thighs, will also make it easier to get in and out of the car! If you have knee or back problems, talk with your doctor before trying this exercise.

 

  1. Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.chair_stand
  1. Lean back with your hands crossed over your chest. Keep your back and shoulders straight throughout the exercise. Breathe in slowly.
  1. Breathe out and bring your upper body forward until sitting upright.
  1. Extend your arms so they are parallel to the floor and slowly stand up.
  1. Breathe in as you slowly sit down.
  1. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Tip – People with back problems should start the exercise from the sitting upright position. (Begin at step #4.)

 

As always, we’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for upcoming topics.  

 

Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER….age is just a number!    

Wellness Wednesday…Getting Down and Up from the Floor

Do you have trouble getting down on the floor and then back up again? It’s one of those things that you did a million times when you were younger, and you probably didn’t think twice about it. Now, all of a sudden it may be more difficult and maybe you avoid it all together. The floor doesn’t have to be the enemy though. I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to help you get down safely and then back up.

I was just talking with a woman at the gym yesterday. She told me if you can’t get on and off the floor, you’re likely to die in 5 years. That sounds pretty grim, and I don’t know that it’s true. But, just that fear made her practice the movement daily. Sometimes fear can be a good motivator. I suggest that you try to get down and up once everyday too. It can take a lot of strength, balance, and flexibility. Over the next few weeks, I’ll give you exercises and tips to help make this process easier. For today, let’s learn how to get down to the floor so you’re lying on your back and then back up from that position.

The National Institute on Aging suggests:

To Get Down on the Floor:

  1. Stand facing the seat of a sturdy chair.
  2. Put your hands on the seat, and lower yourself down to one knee.getdown_r
  3. Bring the other knee down.
  4. Put your left hand on the floor. Leaning on your hand, slowly bring your left hip to the floor. Put your right hand on the floor next to your left hand to steady yourself, if needed.
  5. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  6. Straighten your legs.
  7. Bend your left elbow until your weight is resting on it. Using your right hand as needed for support, straighten your left arm. You should now be lying on your left side.
  8. Roll to your back.

Tip – You don’t have to use your left side. You can use your right side, if you prefer.

 


To Get Up from the Floor:

  1. getup_rRoll onto your left side.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor at about the level of your ribs, and use it to push your shoulders off the floor. Use your left hand to help lift you up, as needed.
  3. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  4. Roll forward, onto your knees, leaning on your hands for support.
  5. Reach up and lean your hands on the seat of a sturdy chair.
  6. Lift one of your knees so that one leg is bent, foot flat on the floor.
  7. Leaning your hands on the seat of the chair for support, rise from this position.

Tip – You don’t have to use your left side. You can use your right side, if you prefer.

 

Tip – If you have trouble getting down on or up from the floor by yourself, try using the BUDDY SYSTEM!  Find someone who will be able to help you, if needed. And, practice this technique together.

*If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using this method.

 

As always, we’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for upcoming topics.  

Stay happy, healthy, and active, AND REMEMBER….age is just a number!