Proactive Fitness: Taking your health into your own hands

By AJ Williams

It’s time to make your health a priority and kick your healthy habits into full gear. The best way to do that is to develop a proactive lifestyle approach to health which means taking your health into your own hands for a better quality of life. The demands that life has on your body changes as you age and at this stage of the game, it’s very important that you start to take care of your body, mind and maintain good muscle quality. Good muscle quality is at the foundation of vitality, while poor muscle quality leads to poor movement which can lead to all kinds of pain, arthritis and discomfort. No matter what stage of life you’re coming from, there are proactive steps you can do now to put yourself in the right direction.

Moving right

We all know how important it is to keep moving and stay active but it’s also important to understand what kind of movements you’re doing. While you start to address your limitations of movement that have been building up for the last 30 years (weak knees, stiff shoulders, etc…) it’s important to find exercises that work for you, your body and your lifestyle. Not only could it improve your physical limitations, but also prevent any further injury or strain on the body.  Moving right is the first step in the right direction.

Curbing Stiffness

The stiffness you feel when you sit for too long or the sore muscles you get when you move around too much are telling a story. If you feel these things, it’s important to address them with a good massage coupled with specific stretches or prescribed exercises. If it does not get rid of the problem, then it’s a great idea to seek professional help to get you on a health plan that will keep you moving.

Exercise

When you are feeling good and are ready to add in some exercise with resistance, it’s important to start slowly. There is no rush, in fact your body will benefit more from taking it slow and building your endurance. Remember – no pain, no gain. You can get a great workout from doing resistance activities that are not too heavy, as long as you feel the muscles working. Most everyday movements should be easy for you but if there are some that are more difficult, make sure you start the exercise with stretches. If you have any muscle weakness, then a functional exercise might be best for you. This would be something like a squat (standing and sitting) or sit-ups (getting out of bed in the morning without using your hands to help). You don’t need to add weights to these exercises if they’re already challenging to do, but as they get easier that might be the right time to add some resistance.

Fuel for the body

It’s very important you get the right nutrients to maintain good muscle mass. As we age, we tend to get looser skin around the body, but this is mainly due to the loss in muscle mass. The more we keep active, the less likely it is for this to happen. It’s also important to keep in mind that just because you’re eating well, doesn’t mean your body is fully absorbing the nutrition from food or supplements. I always suggest a good detox with the help of the appropriate professional to help recharge your kidneys and liver. Finally, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water makes everything better, from clearing your skin to easing your digestive tract.

Keep your head in the game

It’s easier to fall to old habits when you surround yourself with the same circle of friends you’ve had for years. Look to make new friends of all ages that help keep you on your toes, challenge the way you think, and keep the mind in shape. When we branch out of our circles, it helps us learn new things about ourselves and keeps you in the upswing of life.

Finally, the body is a very complex thing and now is not the time to make big mistakes. Booking an assessment with someone who knows how to live proactively and understands your specific needs as you age, is key to longevity and a great quality of life.  Your health is in your hands, it’s never too late to get back into the game of life.

Noel Miller is the founder of Design Fitness, an alternative health service based in Toronto. His healthcare experience includes massage therapy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, sports coaching, athletic development, athletic therapy, cranial sacral therapy, sensitivity training, and leadership development. designfitness.ca.