How to Stay Healthy Enough to Age in Place
By Chris Litten
A recent article in our local Arizona Daily Star provided a checklist reflective of the physical and mental attributes we need to live independently. I thought the topic was perfect for this month’s article. Be encouraged because you can improve every single one of the keys shared if you’re deficient. Be affirmed if you can already check the boxes as accounted for.
The Six Keys to Aging In Place
The six keys that were shared are:
- Sharp Thinking Skills
- Social Connection
- Sharp Thinking Skills
Ever walk into a room and forget why you did so? It’s normal to forget things from time to time. However, if you’re noticing that your forgetfulness is becoming more frequent or that is has accelerated over the last year, it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with your doctor.
What is referred to in the article as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) does not mean you can’t live on your own. It does need to be addressed though, typically with strategies for simplifying tasks or responsibilities. Examples shared are cutting down the clothes in your closet or reducing the amount of tools you have in your kitchen.
I know I’m preaching to the choir when I bring up the importance of strength training. Most of you have this one nailed! Staying strong is so vital for staying independent. The article shares about the importance of having strength to lift groceries, carry your laundry, take out your garbage, and several other activities of daily living. I would add to that though based on the experiences I’ve seen over the years training countless clients.
Lower body strength of the thighs and hips is essential for aging with grace. Injury risk increases dramatically when the thighs and hips are not strong because of the way we compensate to pick things up from the ground. Back injuries resulting from poor body mechanics due to lack of strength reduce movement. Reduced movement leads to a loss of independence.
You can stay strong for a lifetime with a consistent weekly routine of 2-3 full body strength-based workouts each week. If you’re not sure where to start, book a consult!
Can you get up and down from the ground without any means of support? This measure will tell you very quickly whether or not addressing your flexibility is needed. Just think about how much freedom of motion you need to have in your ankles, knees, hips and spine to get up and down from the ground without an assist. Flexibility is a key to aging in place because we have better ability to respond to our environment if we can move our joints and muscles through fuller ranges of motion.
One suggestion is to stretch all of the muscles around your hips and your ankles. When we keep these two joint regions more available our fall risk drops sharply. If you would like me to expand on this thought, email me and tell me so!
Another key to living independently is to maintain your balance. Balance is a skill and if it is not practiced routinely, it declines rapidly as we age. Balance is also multi-faceted because of how much it’s influenced by our hearing, vision and touch. If you’ve had to get hearing aids or have noticed changes to your vision, you’ve probably also experienced some changes to your balance.
The gold standard for checking your balance is to stand on one leg with both arms crossed over your chest. You should be able to hold this without putting your other foot down for at least 20 seconds.
If you get out of breath cleaning your house, you may want to address this key to aging in place. The article shares how a lack of endurance could be an indicator of some underlying condition involving your heart or lungs. A lack of endurance can also simply be the result of inactivity also.
Make a daily commitment to get uncomfortable for at least 5 minutes. This means to get out of breath intentionally. You can do so with something as simple as walking. You can also choose to dance, up your pace cleaning your house or whatever other ways you come up with. Just commit to doing so daily.
6. Social Connection
We have all experienced some disruption to this last key to independent living during the last year. People who isolate have poorer health overall than those who have quality social connections. Isolation significantly increases our risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Additionally, social isolation is associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia2!
Adding people to your social network may be very difficult during this pandemic. Still, make a point to connect. Those who are in your safe bubble are a good place to start. From there, try a video call. You can ask someone for help if you’re not sure how to do a video call. You can probably find a how to tutorial online as well.
I hope this visit of the article, “Are You Healthy Enough to Age In Place” was worthwhile for you. As you read through each of the 6 keys, you may have had some that caught your attention more than others. That’s good! It’s important to be self-aware. Now take the steps you need to improve where needed. Till next time, continue to Move Better to Feel Better to Live Better!
1- Standish, Myles, editor. “Are You Healthy Enough to Age In Place?” Arizona Daily Star, 30 Nov. 2020.
2- “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 Nov. 2020, www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html.
Welcome New and Returning Clients!
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
- Lindsay Liffengren ~ Welcome Back!
- Jason Hayes ~ Welcome Back!
- Carol Bradley ~ referred to us by Dr. Mike Lee, DPT at ProActive Physical Therapy!
- Ann Marsh ~ Welcome Back!
- Nona Cusick ~ referred by fellow client Holly Berryhill and Dr. Griffin!
- Michelle Klingman ~ walk in!
- Deb Bryant ~ referred by Dr. Katie Rose!
- Kay Long ~ referred to us by Dr. Gerald Parks!
- Jeff Schuchart ~ referred by fellow client Bob Plymyer!
Client Spotlight – Maureen Roll
- How did you find out about us?
I found out about BodyBasics online.
2. What made you choose our service over anything else you could have done?
I was looking for a gym where the clientele was a little more mature. I didn’t want to work out in a large warehouse like gym. I wanted a place where the staff was friendly and the location was convenient for me to get to. In my first interview with Chris Litten, the owner, he was helpful and informative at finding the best workout for me.
3. What was your issue/challenge/goal before you started with us?
I had a total knee replacement and was looking for a gym after my initial rehab. I hadn’t exercised for a long time prior to my knee surgery. My goal was for improved over all physical conditioning. I wanted to ensure that I would be able to enjoy an active lifestyle.
4. Share 3 ways that your life has improved because of our expertise
Strength, stamina, and balance. I am a widow and I wanted to be able to continue maintaining my home, pool and yard. I also have 7 grandchildren and I am determined to keep up with them. I care for my 3 year old grandson for 8 hours every Tuesday. I also did not want to be fearful of falling as I aged.
5. What surprised you the most or made you the happiest about the benefits you’ve experienced since you started with us?
Probably my progress over the last year and learning the correct way to do the exercises so I don’t injure myself. I am extremely proud of the way I have progressed in my exercises, I can now do squats, planks, mountain climbers, and weight exercises just to name a few. Also, because of proper instruction, I don’t have to worry about injuring myself!
6. What would you advise someone who’s contemplating whether to contact us?
Just do it!!! The first step is always the hardest, but you will be so glad you did. All the staff at Body Basics are kind and caring trainers who want to insure you have the most productive workout possible.
7. Speak to your virtual training experience. What would you say about the level of coaching virtually versus in studio?
My virtual training at Body Basics has been excellent. I decided during this pandemic I would work our virtually. I have a mother who is 98 years old so I didn’t want to expose myself on her to anything I might pick up on the outside. I have not regretted one second of on-line training. I have to give a shout out to Kristian, Vadim for making it a fun and positive experience during this tme.
“Client Shout Outs”
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. Each month, your coaches share one client shout out a piece!
- From the X-man – Shout out to Teena Sandstrom for putting on lean muscle mass during the pandemic, doctor confirmed! She regularly attends the online Fitness Fusion class at noon. Her dedication to her fitness and wellness is definitely paying off!
- From Kristian – Shoutout to Maureen Roll for her continued strength gains! Recently she had really heavy bags at the mall and she stepped onto the escalator which she is always terrified of losing her balance on. She wasn’t scared and she was totally fine and in control!
- From Amanda – Shout out to Ann Liebert for graduating to a hex RDL!
- From Vadim – Shout out to Carol Bradley for her consistency and commitment to improving her knee range of motion. To date she’s improved available knee bend by just over 10% from where she was one month ago!
- From Chris – Shout out to Jane Spitzer for her significant improvements in squat depth and control!
- From Dustin – Shout out to Bill Matsukado for remembering to do his exercises outside of the gym and having an open mind and good work ethic!
Recipe – Slow-Cooker Beef-Barley Soup with Red Wine & Pesto
We will eventually get some cooler weather. We have to! When we do, you’ve got to try this delicious dish!
- 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1?½ cups 1/2-inch-thick diagonally sliced carrots (from 3 carrots)
- 1 cup yellow onion (from 1 onion)
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 3 cups unsalted beef stock
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
- ¼ cup jarred pesto
- ½ cup uncooked whole-grain hulled barley (not pearled; about 4 ounces)
- 1 (5 ounce) package baby kale leaves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Step 1: Pat the beef dry with a paper towel; sprinkle with the pepper. Heat
1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over mediumhigh. Add the beef to the skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until
lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the beef to
a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the carrots, onions, and
remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet; cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer to the slow cooker.
Step 2: Add the wine to the skillet; cook over medium-high 1 minute,
stirring and scraping to loosen the browned bits from the bottom
of the skillet. Pour over the beef mixture in the slow cooker.
Step 3: Stir the stock, tomatoes, and pesto into the slow cooker. Cover;
cook on HIGH 2 hours. Stir in the barley; cover and cook on HIGH
until the beef and barley are tender, about 2 hours. Stir in the kale
and salt. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve hot.
Tips: Multicooker Directions: In Step 1, transfer the browned beef and
softened vegetables to the inner pot of a 6-quart multicooker. In
Step 2, pour the hot wine mixture over the beef mixture in the pot.
In Step 3, stir the stock, tomatoes, and pesto into the pot. Lock the
lid; turn Pressure Valve to “Venting.” Cook on SLOW COOK [More]
2 hours. Stir in the barley. Lock the lid; turn Pressure Valve to
“Venting.” Cook on SLOW COOK [More] until the beef and barley
are tender, about 2 hours. Finish Step 3.
Serving Size: 1 1/2 Cups Per Serving: 301 calories
Protein 22g Carbohydrates 25g Dietary Fiber 6g Sugars 6g; Fat 12g Saturated fat 2g Sodium 630mg
Recipe credit from “Slow-Cooker Beef-Barley Soup with Red Wine & Pesto.” EatingWell, 2020, www.eatingwell.com/recipe/276940/slow-cooker-beef-barley-soup-with-red-wine-pesto/.
Chris, Kris, Kristian, Amanda, Dustin, Xavier, Vadim, and new addition, Samantha