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  • Writer's picturePaula Allia

Fitness Together

Get Moving

October was National Physical Therapy month. Each year this month reminds me of how important it is to keep moving and exercise the body, mind, and spirit. Naples is a perfect place to walk, run, cycle, play golf or tennis, and participate in weight training activities.

It is never too late to have the opportunity to help yourself be the best that you can be. Studies have shown that exercise performed routinely helps the body avoid chronic medical conditions. If conditions already exist improvements can be made. Current statistics reveal that one in four adults has a disability which is around 61 million people in the United States.

Some people expect that those who are older have a high risk for falls. Indeed, one out of four older adults falls each year. These falls can lead to a person being disabled. This can go undetected unless recognized by a health professional. Problems do not start later but earlier in life for most people. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, more than 80% of adolescents do not get the right amounts of physical activity in their lives.

Habits are formed on average in about 66 days. Most people do not even realize that they are forming a habit. For example, using an electronic device and sitting with a forward head and rounded back can over time cause changes in neck and back mobility, weaken muscles that are stretched, tighten muscles that are shortened, and decrease blood flow even to the brain. Suddenly one day you realize that you are tight or have poor postural habits.

There are so many ways to get moving but one may not know what is right for them. Understanding your own needs can help you set up a plan to get moving. Do you need to:

• Strengthen bones? Weight- bearing exercises help to build bones.

• Breathe better? Breathing through the nose will help filter the air and get oxygen into the blood provided that the lungs are functioning properly.

• Decrease stress? Everybody has some form of stress which can be lessened with exercise.

• Lower your blood pressure, pulse, and cholesterol? These can be lowered when the right amount of intensity is used.

• Strengthen your body? Using the right amount of weight that is safe for you can provide more strength for what you want to do.

• Have the endurance to play with the grandkids? Exercising some daily can help reach this goal but then strength and balance are also needed.

• Get more flexibility for golf? Stretching tight muscles for the right number of seconds and reps can improve the flexibility needed.

• Use caution because of osteoporosis? Severe osteoporosis may need pool exercises or compressive exercises in a non-weight bearing position before proceeding to weight-bearing activities.

• Use caution due to orthopedic issues? Twisting exercises can cause pain in a hip or knee.

• Learn how to get better balance? Is the balance a result of weaknesses, eye coordination, or a neurological complication?

It is so important to choose the right activity or exercise to achieve goals! One must understand what is needed in a particular case. Everybody has certain circumstances and these need careful consideration.

Knowing your medical conditions whether young or old is a good place to start. If you know this status, it is important to get checked each year to evaluate any changes that you and your body have experienced. For example, if someone has low back pain but wants to hit a golf ball further, understanding the back’s current condition can help them choose the right avenue. Some may start in a pool with buoyancy, so the spine is not compressed. Another may perform core exercises to help to stabilize the spine while others may need more muscular and myofascial flexibility and extensibility. Even a specific joint might need to be opened so that the joints can coordinate together to create that perfect swing.

When understanding what specific needs should be addressed, finding the right professional to help is key to facilitating the body to help itself. Everybody has some potential that can be unleashed. The longer you wait to participate, the more tightness or other limitations can develop. Do yourself a favor and start moving today! For further information or guidance with regards to this information, please call Dr. Paula Allia at 239.263.9348.

Here’s to Your Health!


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