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5 Step Process for Healthy Goal Setting

It's a great time to start to talk about health goal-setting for the new year. So I'm here to share the 5 step process I use to set my annual goals. 

Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of traditional New Year's resolutions. They set most of us up for failure and we have a bad habit of using them to shame ourselves. If this sounds like you, read on to learn what to do instead. I'll be sharing what I do to start the new year off right and reach my biggest goals.

I recommend setting aside 30 minutes to an hour to think this through and write it down on paper. Continue to review these monthly throughout the year using a shortened version of what we're doing today. 

5 Step Process for Healthy Goal Setting

1. Reflect on What Went Well This Year

One of the most important and overlooked aspects of goal-setting is to start off by listing off what you did well over the last year. This way you don't start the process of goal setting off by shaming yourself or thinking that you need...

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The Answer to Healthy Aging is to Focus on Less

The other day I was browsing through the comments in a Facebook group of women over the age of 50 discussing fitness. One caught my eye, and it’s not because it was the first time I had read the sentiment being expressed.

It was a woman frustrated with the amount of conflicting information coming at her from the diet and fitness industry. She couldn't decide where to start. Keto or intermittent fasting? Should I buy books on these approaches? What are macros? What fitness program should I follow? CrossFit or Orange Theory?

The underlying issue was too much information to make a decision. The overwhelm in her plea was clear. And within the comment, she also mentioned feeling the need to purchase a bunch of equipment and supplements before she could even get started.

And therein lies the problem. Our lack of health isn't due to a lack of information. Instead, information overwhelm leads us down a path of not taking action. And that is the most dangerous path of all. 

The...

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3 Mindsets Preventing You From Improving Your Balance (And What to Do About It)

 

Does your balance seem to keep getting worse no matter what you do? Never feel like you’re making meaningful progress?

If so, you aren’t alone. The inability to both set realistic health goals, especially for balance issues and reach them is one of the most common concerns I hear from my clients at their first therapy visit. And as I get to know them, it’s clear why this is a recurring theme in their lives.

Many of us develop the bad habit of holding on to self-limiting beliefs, as Gay Hendricks does an excellent job of highlighting in The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. These subconscious mindsets have the potential to limit all areas of our lives and are even more dangerous when we don’t realize we are holding onto them. And you may not realize how often your own hidden beliefs are dictating your life.

Let’s take a closer look at how you’re limiting yourself with your health goals, and what you can do...

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3 Simple Balance Exercises You Can Try at Home


Working on your balance doesn’t need to involve any fancy equipment and can be as simple as putting a 2x4 on a stack of books or yoga blocks to create a simple beam! Or if you aren’t so confident with your balance, try the 2x4 on the floor by itself first. Then give these 3 moves a try:

Pelvic listing on the beam is a great way to work on single leg standing and get your lateral hip muscles doing their job again. Stand on he beam on one foot and focus on pulling your hip inward to keep it stacked above your ankle.

Heel-to-toe standing and walking on the beam. If you have to move quickly along the beam it’s an indicator you don’t have good balance control. The slower you move here the better.

And the trickiest one for me: walking sideways along the beam. Try it both directions!

Some tips to get more out of your balance work:

Try this in front of a mirror for feedback and motor learning. This helps integrate your brain and your body.

Try your balance...

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10 Quotes to Change Your Perception of Aging

 

In my years as a physical therapist and restorative exercise specialist helping adults age well, I’ve realized aging well has more to do with mindset than any lack of knowledge of health. The adults I encounter who age well both view aging as a positive experience and maintain a strong mind-body connection as they age. The clients I’ve worked with have inspired me to do a lot of research over the years on healthy aging and these quotes have all inspired me along the way. I hope they do the same for you.

“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic. Shame can damage self-esteem and quality of life as much as externally imposed stereotyping. Becoming an Old Person in Training is a political act, because it derails this shame and self-loathing. It undoes the “otherness” that powers ageism (and...

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3 Tips to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

“How do I live a healthier lifestyle?” is one of the most common questions I’m asked as a physical therapist and movement coach. There is an infinite number of technical tips and interventions I can educate my clients on, but the reality is none of them matter until we first address our the most basic levels of our health and beliefs surrounding our health first.

In my years of practice, I’ve noted common patterns of thoughts and habits among individuals who lead overall healthy lifestyles and consistently meet their health goals. And on the other hand, sets of habits among those who continue to fall short of living the life they dream of living.

There are several layers to living a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t help to focus on the more advanced layers until you have a solid base in place. Like any other skill in life, we need to master the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques. The base of healthy life choices addresses the...

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The Health Implications of Kyphosis

 

Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the upper spine, and in today's video, we discuss the health implications of developing kyphosis. 

Kyphosis is most often thought of as an aesthetic issue, but it goes far beyond appearance. Kyphosis impacts how your ribcage and the vital organs it holds function. It can also limit the functionality of the muscles and joints surrounding the ribcage. It can also impact the bone density of the vertebrae. 

Kyphosis is caused by a combination of forces throughout the upper back. Muscle imbalances that pull the spine in this position are created by our movement habits, including excessive time spent sitting in front of computers and on cell phones. 

The great news is that this problem is reversible and preventable! 

 

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Movement Tips to Avoid Back Pain During Pregnancy

More than two-thirds of pregnant women report low back pain and up to one-fifth report pelvic pain during pregnancy. Reports of pain tend to increase later in pregnancy and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and work. About 20% of women who experience low back or pelvic pain during pregnancy report persistent pain for up to 3 years following pregnancy.

Chronic pain is complicated and much research in recent years has revolved around the term “pain catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing is a process of becoming fixated on pain, magnifying the effects of it, feeling helpless, and expecting negative outcomes associated with pain.

Research shows that those who catastrophize are more likely to develop persistent chronic pain and disability. Women who demonstrated pain catastrophizing during their pregnancy were found to be less likely to have been active throughout their pregnancy and more likely to develop persistent pain after.

The recommendation of daily physical activity...

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We’re All Old People in Training, So Train Wisely

 

“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic.” -Ashton Applewhite

When most people talk about aging, they portray this picture of decline. Hold onto this misguided belief the best years are behind them. Sadly the anti-aging message is pervasive in our society. And the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speaks volumes about our views on aging.

But what if instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does that change this image?

There isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age. Nothing more. By telling ourselves we've gotten "too old to..." we initiate the process of decline. If we'd just admit that yes, we are in fact getting older, embrace this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth we’d...

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Find Your Tribe: Reach Your Goals with a Healthy Aging Community

A staggering 28% of adults in the US over the age of 65 live alone. In recent years, a substantial amount of research has found on isolation in our later years increases the risk of adverse health events. Older adults who feel isolated are more likely to develop chronic disease, depression, and dementia. Isolation also increases the risk of mortality. 

On a similar note, one of the most common concerns I hear from clients in the clinic is the lack of social support in reaching their health goals. They express that it’s difficult to make healthier choices because of others around them, or a lack of people around them. It’s hard to get friends and family members on board while changing to health-conscious habits. It’s also more difficult to make healthier choices when you’re feeling alone. 

As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Therefore, if you want a healthier life, seek out...

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