Everything is Glutes

Seriously!  Knee injury - glutes. Ankle injury - glutes. Feet problem - glutes. Hip problem - glutes. Shoulder problem - could be glutes. Whaaaa???  We all have them. We sit on them every day. We shut them off. We sit on them more. We don’t pay attention to them. Then we expect them to do a whole bunch of work.  Your glutes are the largest muscles on your body. They are also responsible for initiating and maintaining gait in both walking and running. And, get this, they are responsible for helping you stand!!

Convinced that these are important yet?

Brain-Based-Fitness-MeetYourGlutes.jpg

Focusing on glutes means we need to also pay attention to the joints that they connect to in including your pelvis and your hips.  Not to mention, for walking and running we need to also pay attention to your visual system, vestibular (balance) system and your proprioception (limbs) systems as a whole unit.

Paying attention to a muscle means we need to build up its strength and we need to integrate its “firing patterns” relative to the rest of the whole unit.  This means that we can do butt exercises all day, but, if we don’t train your brain when and how to use the butt, nothing will change.

The order of glute work:

  1. Joint mobility (pelvis tilts)

  2. Muscle Activation (bridges)

  3. Muscle Strength (deadlift, kettlebell swing)

  4. Repeat in a variety of body postures (hip hinge, hip circles, single leg exercises)

My favorite glute targeting exercises are the pelvis a/p tilts, bridges and hip hinge work. We need to re-introduce your glutes to your brain and help your brain know how to use them.  Doing so relieves pressure off your knees, ankles, feet and yes, shoulders (as shoulders are responsible for assisting in hip swing). So, yes, everything really is glutes. Check out my Youtube channel for my favorite glute exercises!!

The Age Lie

I guess you can call me an aging athlete.

“You’re getting a little old to be doing XYZ”...I hear that a lot from friends and family members.  And, I’ve been hearing it for about 14 years, since I turned 30. It’s true that increasing age does introduce a whole flurry of challenges like longer workdays, more responsibility at work, more mouths to feed, longer commutes and more stress.  But, science continues to prove that it’s you who is responsible for how well you age, not the calendar. Because of our jam packed lives, we are more tired, short on personal time and are less engaged in the activities we once enjoyed. The balance of fun - work gets tipped way towards the work side and that’s when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

 “It is known that a lack of physical activity is a key risk factor for numerous chronic diseases, and even a simple parameter, such as time spent sitting, is an independent predictor of mortality.  Physical inactivity is thus a significant confounding factor in influencing the trajectory of decline in physiological function as a result of an inherent aging process…” (Harris & Lazzarus) This is aging according to science and proof that our bodies don’t just stop working because we age.  Physical and mental activity adds more fun and more health to our lives.

Studies done on athletes who remain active throughout life show that their biggest decrease in physical performance occurs in the 80th year of life.  “One clear conclusion emerges: being physically active is the body's biological default position for the maintenance of physiological function throughout the life course.”  

Oxygen capacity over lifespan - trajectory for active individuals does not dip to sedentary values

Oxygen capacity over lifespan - trajectory for active individuals does not dip to sedentary values

If you look at your daily life and are not able to see a way out of the chaos in order to prioritize your health and wellness, it may be time to talk to someone who can help.  Whether that’s a personal trainer, a therapist or life coach, a friend or acquaintance who has been able to stay active, there are people out there who can help. My goal here is not to shame. My goal is to say that there are ways to help and the more people you include in this journey, the higher the likelihood of your success.  We can reverse the aging process brought on by a sedentary, inactive lifestyle. You deserve to feel good and to age well no matter how old you are! It’s possible.

For more information: American Physiological Society: Physical Activity, Aging, and Physiological Function