Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Conner Henderson

Recent Posts by Conner Henderson:

Training Imbalances to Achieve Better Balance

GettyImages-1469684537Anyone and everyone can benefit from having better balance. From professional athletes to the active aging population, balance plays a critical role in everyday life. Whether a professional gymnast is flipping on a beam, or a senior is simply trying to lower their risk of falling, improving balance starts with two things: identifying muscle imbalances and follows up with corrective exercise. The skeleton is put together in a way that encourages a steady base and equal weight distribution. This allows a person’s center of gravity to be right around the belly button. If a person has no muscle imbalances, their weight and center of gravity would be sitting directly above the pelvis. The hip bone then distributes that weight to each of the legs. In a perfect world that would mean the person’s knees would be directly below the hip joint and the ankle would be straight below the knee joint. The perfect world hardly exists, and muscle imbalances are the reason.

Every moving joint has a muscle origin point on either side of it. For example, the shoulder joint holds the origin points of the biceps brachii and triceps brachii muscles. If the biceps muscle is stronger or tighter than the triceps muscle, the shoulder joint will be pulled and rotated forward. Any muscle imbalance will cause a change in mass distribution, ultimately resulting in a new center of mass. The body will compensate for this by changing gait or shifting other joints into a position that will feel stable. Unfortunately, this new position is usually one that the joint is not meant to be in. Until the initial imbalances are corrected through training, more imbalances will occur. The longer someone waits to begin corrective exercise, the harder it will be to correct, and the likelihood of injury or sustained damage will increase.

When the skeleton is completely in balance, all the joints are aligned, and the body is in its most stable position. Recognizing these imbalances are important, especially with the active aging community. The most common shifts in the skeleton are:

  • Anterior Pelvic Tilt (when the pelvis is rotated forward)
  • Excessive Kyphotic Posture (rounded back/shoulders)
  • Internal Rotation of the Shoulders (which can cause shoulder injury)

And all these deviations will not only cause pain, but a shift in someone’s center of balance. Being mindful of these imbalances and working on correcting them as soon as possible are very important. Corrective exercise will allow someone to achieve better balance while also relieving the pain caused by the skeletal shifts. With every muscle imbalance, there is a tight muscle and a weak antagonist muscle. Both issues should simultaneously be worked on to correct the imbalance.

Ways of releasing the tight muscle temporarily include:

Ways of strengthening the weak muscle for long term correction include:

  • Moving the Joint
  • Isolation Exercises
  • Isometric Contractions

Including any combination of these in an exercise program will help alleviate those muscle imbalances, providing pain relief and better balance. Consider scheduling an assessment with a fitness professional to have these possible imbalances identified and exercise prescribed to help!

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Topics: senior living balance senior fitness balance training

How to increase enthusiasm daily

GettyImages-910975942 (1)Enthusiasm is very important in the fitness world. As fitness leaders in the community, it is our job and our responsibility to set the tone for our residents and clients. Imagine coming in for a fitness class or a personal training session and your trainer is not energetic at all. It almost seems like they don’t even want to be there. How can you expect to be excited about your workout if your trainer isn’t? Energy, whether it is good or bad, is contagious. Our job as fitness professionals is to get people excited to workout. The best way we can do this is by increasing our own enthusiasm. If we are excited about their workout, then they will be excited too.

Here are seven simple things we can all do to generate, spread, and increase enthusiasm:

  1. Smiles On Our Faces – The first thing someone will see is your facial expression. A smile is a great thing to share, and it sets the tone for a positive exchange. It also opens the door to make a friendly connection with those around you. If you have a smile on your face, your clients will too.
  2. Maintain Dynamic and Energetic Body Posture – Lazy posture leads to lazy emotions. If we tackle every task in our day with great posture, we will feel more confident in ourselves. Emotions can be contagious and spreading confident energy will make people feel more comfortable. Check out these tips to help your clients improve posture through stability training.
  3. Pep in Your Step, Hustle in Your Muscle – Action creates motivation and a body in motion intensifies emotion. When going about the tasks for the day it is important to move with a purpose. The more focused and purposeful we go about our tasks, the more we will get done and the better they will be. Conquering the day with purpose will increase your enthusiasm and create excitement.
  4. Seek and Find Good in Others – Look for the good in others and find ways to praise them for it. Compliment more people more often because it costs nothing and has a great return on investment. When someone points out something great about you, it makes you feel incredible. Imagine if you made five people feel that way. Then those people each made five people feel that way. Enthusiasm would spread like wildfire.
  5. Press More Flesh – Polite greetings are always well received and tend to transfer courteous behavior. A simple handshake with a ‘hello’ or a fist bump, high five after a praise will make someone feel amazing. How did you feel when your coach gave you a pat on the back? Exactly.
  6. Review Your Goals Often – Most people are excited when writing down their goals. Getting started on something new is always fun. Reviewing your goals will continuously remind you of why you were excited in the first place. Keeping that fire lit is way better than trying to reignite it later.
  7. Train Hard and Train Regularly – And influence others to do the same! Training relieves stress and releases endorphins that create natural energy and good feelings. When the people around you see this, they will fall victim to the contagious nature of your energy. Once they realize how uplifting a workout can be, they will be hooked.

This is a great opportunity to reflect on how you have promoted energy and enthusiasm in your job as a fitness professional. It is okay if you hit a slump occasionally, but if you utilize these tips, you are sure to make an impact on yourself and your clients!

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