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Your Invincible Years are Over: how to stay strong, fit and pain free as you age

Old Superman #famousoldies

I used to beat the hell out of my body when I was in high school.  I played soccer, basketball, rugby and a variety of other sports on almost a daily basis.  I would bang and crash and hurt myself, but it never really slowed me down because I just took it for granted that within a few days or a few weeks my body would heal up and be ready for more.  In University I tested my body with little sleep, more sports and a lot more alcohol, but I still always bounced back and kept going.  Around my mid-twenties to early thirties a few things happened that started changing my perspective on life.

By the age of twenty four, I had completed two university degrees and was officially a registered physiotherapist.  I’d like to think I was a lot smarter after six years of university, but I learned much more in the following six to ten years than I ever did in school.  It was a time when my body seemed to start getting less and less invincible and I started gaining more and more perspective on the importance of physical health.  I still played soccer, hockey and squash, but my body started taking longer and longer to recover; things that used to take days to feel better, starting taking weeks and I was forced to consider the physical consequences of my activity choices more than ever.

As a physiotherapist, working with clients from nine to ninety years old, I started recognizing that I was not alone in the weakening of my invincibility around age thirty.  I would hear an average of ten ‘getting old sucks’ complaints a week, equally spread amongst the thirty, forty and fifty year-olds.  The sixty and seventy year-olds tended to phrase it more around ‘this old body is falling apart,’ and the eighty to ninety year-olds just seemed to be happy if something actually didn’t hurt.  Read More

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Creating & Managing Your Own Health Record: A Crucial Ingredient to Preventative Health

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When was the last time you went to your doctor?  Your dentist?  Your physio?

Why did you go?  What was wrong with you?

What did your health professional tell you?

What did you learn from the experience?  Anything?  Do you remember?

Your body is a complex structure with all sorts of things happening in it that you likely don’t understand.  It is easy to leave the care of your body to others that ‘know what they are talking about’ and just do as you are told, but it is a dangerous habit to fall into.  Too much dependence on busy healthcare practitioners can result in you getting lost in the shuffle of a strained medical system.  Your doctor or physio may be a very compassionate and diligent professional with your best interests at heart, but you have to remember that he/she likely sees ten to twenty other people every day too and it is easy for things to fall through the cracks.

The best way to make sure you are taken care of is to become the leader of your own healthcare team and try to learn something about your body with every interaction with your doctor, physio, trainer, etc., and then keep track of your health related experiences over the years.  Write down every time you have an injury or pain.  Write down every time you see your doctor and what you learned from the appointment.  Write down the advice your naturopath gave you so you can refer to it again in the future.

You should create your own health record, in your own words of what you understand to be wrong with you and what you might be able to do to get better and prevent the problem from surfacing again.  Your health is a product of everything you have done up to this point and it is a very helpful tool if you have a record of the past that has helped you learn along the way. 

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