The Grand Stage

September 9, 2018

In case you didn't already know, today is Grandparent's Day. For me, Grandparent's Day comes with a level of heaviness this year as my grandpa passed away on September 7th last Fall. It's hard to believe he's already been gone an entire year. And although I know it's not that common for someone to have all four grandparents throughout childhood, it has still been hard to let go of someone who had such a special role in my life. I feel incredibly grateful to have had all my grandparents see me graduate high school, finish college, get married and have children. Grandparents truly are wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that the only reason Shea and I decided to settle in Clear Lake was so our own children could be near grandparents. Really you have them to thank for Simply Nourished and Better Body Movement existing :) 

Our children adore their grandparents, and it is pretty obvious that their grandparents are smitten with them as well. From the conversations we've had with many of you (who are grandparents yourselves), it is obvious that you can totally relate. Spending time with grandchildren (in nearly all cases) has all the perks of parenting without the responsibilities. Your role includes the fun stuff--like going out for dessert at The Viking, late night movies at the theater, and playing trains on the carpet for hours. However, so often as grandparents age they lose mobility or experience an injury that keeps them from keeping up with their grandchildren. 

 

Losing mobility is frustrating at any age, but studies consistently reveal that it is especially detrimental for those in their later years. M.D. Cynthia J. Brown and Kellie Flood, M.D., from the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, conducted a clinical review of academic papers published between 1985 and 2012 that dealt with mobility issues in a general aging population. Brown noted that mobility issues are commonly an early sign of impending functional decline in seniors. "Mobility limitations are the edge of that slippery slope that leads to loss of function," explained Brown. She continued, "Mobility is one of the cornerstones of healthy aging." In their conclusion, Brown goes on to list lack of physical exercise, obesity and smoking as the greatest risk factors among the aging. We strongly agree. Diet and movement, specifically, greatly influence the quality of life someone experiences--even more dramatically in her later years. 

 

Recognizing this is actually what led Shea to design the programming he currently uses at Better Body Movement, our services division of BE WELLness. While fitness is important at every age, there tends to be an abundance of opportunity for fitness activities for youth and young adults, and a near absence of healthy options for those in their 40s, 50s and on into the "grand" phases of life. Unfortunately, injuries are common when fitness programming is not matched to a person's age, ability and level of experience. The fitness programming of an athlete in her late 20's should look very different than that of a grandmother in her 60's whose primary goal is preventing injury and staying active and mobile. Sadly, many aging men and women do not prioritize mobility, and many who do experience injury due to naturally occuring physical changes in balance, flexibility and strength that come with age.

 

However, taking some simple precautions can make it possible for older adults to safely enjoy an active lifestyle. Older adults should be mindful of physical changes that can increase their risk of common injuries, including:

  • loss of muscle mass (resulting in decreased strength)

  • loss of elasticity in tendons and ligaments (reducing flexibility and range of motion)

  • loss of bone mass (increasing risk of fractures)

  • reduced heart, lung and nervous system function (affecting performance)

  • loss of cartilage (resulting in less cushion in joints)

  • deterioration of balance (increasing risk of falls)

By being mindful, and working with a trainer who is also mindful of these things, older adults can certainly stay mobile and avoid (or significantly reduce the chance of) injury. If you find yourself needing an opportunity like this--a fitness program and trainer committed to keeping you mobile and safe--we'd love for you to meet Shea and experience Better Body Movement. This Thursday, September 13th, he will be leading our first Healthy Living Class of the 2018/2019 Season. This Introduction to Mobility and Self-Myofascial Release class will be held at the Better Body Movement location: 419 Main Avenue in Clear Lake from 7-8PM. Cost $10.

 

If you have questions, feel free to email betterbodymovementcl@gmail.com. Hope to see you Thursday!

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