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Use it or lose it!!!

I’m writing this very quick blog in response to a conversation I had with a really lovely lady I bump into fairly regularly.

She does a physical job and she made a throw away comment that she’d love to give it a go but if she got down on the mat she knew she wouldn’t get up – does this sound like a regular type of comment you’d say yourself or hear others say?!

Normally I’d just laugh it off but actually she’s 62, aka YOUNG in todays money! So I decided to gently challenge her. She said she had chronic back pain and had some physio exercises in a drawer somewhere that she got last year but had forgotten about. She essentially had accepted that it was an increasing struggle to get about and as a result had reduced her working commitment!!!

62 !!!!

In my role as a Palliative Care Specialist Nurse I had the opportunity to attend fantastic lectures etc and out of all of them this is the one that stayed with me and is partly why I wanted to learn to teach Pilates.

A doctor who I was working with was doing a PhD into maintaining independence for as long as possible – and this is what I learnt from her –

  • From the age of 40 every decade we naturally lose 10% of our muscle strength
  • We need 40% of our muscle strength to carry out ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs for independent living at basic level include, brushing your hair, sitting on the toilet, going up and down stairs, filling a kettle, doing a bit of cooking …….)
  • By the time we’re 80 we only have 60% to work with!

She used her research to secure some charity money to fund gym sessions at the Royal Free Hospital, London. The attendees were palliative care patients with life limiting illness, their motivation was to ‘live’ the days they had left and do that as independently as possible. They formed friendships, had camaraderie, shared banter and reported a significant increase in their Quality of Life (an official audit marker).

So this is what I told her (I really hope in a non-patronising way)

In my classes the average age is 50 – 75 with some younger and some OLDER clients. The thing they all have in common is the determination to be as mobile, strong and flexible as THEY can be.

Don’t feel you need to come to a class. Use youtube, use your exercises from your physio – bring them and I’ll go through them with you, go for a regular walk, take on more jobs  – essentially, want to be independent! In 10 years you’ll look back and reflect on how able and mobile you were now – please don’t regret it!

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