“Break a leg” is an idiom that we use to wish someone “good luck” in an ironic way. This was first used in the world of entertainment, where well-wishers would typically say “Break a leg” to actors and musicians before they would go on stage to perform.
The expression reflects a theatrical superstition whereby wishing a person “good luck” was actually considered bad luck. The expression is now not limited to actors and musicians, as superstitions and customs travel through other professions and then into common use. Just a little bit of trivia before we get stuck into something more serious….
[OST] + [EE] + [OH] + [PUH] + [ROH] + [SIS]
Meaning: “porous bone.”
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced; this leads a weakening of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture, specifically in the spine, wrists, hip, pelvis and upper arms. In many affected people, bone loss is gradual and without warning signs until the disease is advanced.
For this reason Osteoporosis is also known as “the silent crippler” because a person usually doesn’t know that they have it until it’s too late. Unfortunately, in far too many cases the first real “symptom” is a broken bone. Other physical signs of osteoporosis are loss of height with gradual curvature of the back (caused by vertebral compression fractures).
Osteoporosis risk factors:
Older Woman’s disease?
There are many misconceptions about osteoporosis, for example that it is a disease that affects Woman only when they are older. In fact, bone loss in women can begin as early as the age of 25, and worldwide, the lifetime risk for a woman to have an osteoporotic fracture is 30 – 40%. In addition to this, new studies have shown the prevalence of osteoporosis in men is higher than previously thought with approximately one in five men affected. This is clearly not just a disease that affects older woman.
Rapid progress is being made in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Early detection of bone loss is key to the prevention of suffering and escalation of health care costs. Bone mineral density (BMD) measurements are effective in assessing fracture risk, confirming a diagnosis of osteoporosis and monitoring the effect of treatment. Don’t delay, #Loveyourbones and assess your risk today.
Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation.
Early interventions are the best way to manage to Osteoporosis, click on the link below to assess your risk.
Assess your risk here
Osteoporosis and Exercise:
One of the best ways to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis is through regular exercise. Many health experts recommend exercise for osteoporosis, because when you exercise you don’t just build muscle and endurance, you also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones (also known as bone mass and density). Even if you already have osteoporosis, exercising can help maintain the bone mass you have, and lower the rate of bone loss, lowering the risk of fracture. In addition, exercise helps reduce the risk of falling, which is a vital skill for anyone at risk.
Silver Fit recommended three types of exercise for building healthy bones.
- Weight-bearing (meaning your feet and legs support your body’s weight; e.g.: walking, dancing, or step exercise)
- Resistance (strength exercises)
- Flexibility (stretch exercises)
For more information on Osteoporosis, or to find a health care practitioner close to you who can assess your specific needs, please contact NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa)
Helpline: 086 110 2265
Telephone: 021 976 4995
WhatsApp: 067 902 6150
Start an Exercise Programme Today!
Your heart, which started as a tiny spec when you were just a fertilized embryo, beat months before you were even born. This heartbeat was the very first sign that you were alive and since then this same heartbeat has become the governor of your life.
Your heart beats snuggly in a well-designed safe space within your rib cage, between your lungs. The average adult heart is the size of 2 fists clasped together. Hollow, and vaguely cone-shaped, it weighs about 250-350 grams, a pretty modest size considering it is your body’s greatest workhorse. Powering the entire circulatory system, it transports nutrients, oxygen, waste, heat, hormones and immune cells throughout the body over and over. Lub Dub, Lub Dub.
Night and day, it beats consistently. 100 000 beats per day, 35 million beats per year, 2-3 billion beats in a lifetime. Your loyal friend.
To put it simply, your heart is just a pump, and its main concern is to maintain the pressure gradient in the circulatory system. It does this by generating high hydrostatic pressure to pump blood out of your heart, while also creating low pressure to bring blood back into your heart. This pressure gradient is essentially what we mean when we talk about blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of the amount of strain your arteries feel as your heart moves your 5 litres of blood around your body. For blood pressure to be considered normal, the systolic pressure (the peak pressure on the contracting ventricles) should be less than 140mmHg. Conversely, diastolic pressure (the pressure in your arteries when the ventricles are relaxed) should be less than 90mmHg.
The easiest way to break a heart is to mess with its pressure. 1 in 2 South Africans suffer from hypertension and these figures are on the rise. Not a very nice way to treat your loyal friend, is it? Often there are no symptoms until it’s too late, so it’s best to keep your finger on the pulse, and check your blood pressure regularly.
How Your Heart Does Its Job
Your heart, and its vessels, is a relatively simple yet elegant set-up that requires precise coordination to create the high and low pressures required to pump blood around the body. Your heart gets this right by using its own anatomical pacemaker, and some heart cells can generate their own electricity, which controls signal and communication throughout your heart so that each section works together in unison.
Your heart receives deoxygenated blood through the vena cava vein, where it spends a second in the right atrium before dropping into the right ventricle. From there it is sent quickly to the lungs where your blood it packed full of oxygen and then returns to your heart into the left atrium before sliding down to the left ventricle where it will build up pressure again. Blood then leaves your heart from the left ventricle through the aorta, the biggest and toughest artery in your body roughly the diameter of a garden hose. From your heart, your oxygenated blood travels through your circulatory system in order to feed every single solitary cell in your body with the nutrients you need to stay alive. It takes about a minute for all the blood in your body to complete that circuit which means even if you are at rest your hardworking circulatory system moves about 7500L of blood through your heart every day.
Blood vessels are sometimes described as ‘a glorified plumbing system of the body’, but they are not just passive tubes, made merely to carry liquid around. Blood vessels are actually dynamic organs capable of contracting and expanding as they deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells, carry away waste products and maintain blood pressure. If all your blood vessels were strung together in a single line they would measure 100 000km! Keeping these blood vessels healthy, unclogged, supple and functioning well can be achieved by having good quality blood pumping through them as opposed to blood dripping with bad cholesterol.
It is safe to say that your heart is probably the most iconic muscle in the body. However, as with all muscles your heart, as well as your entire cardiovascular system, needs exercise to maintain its form and function. Cardiovascular exercise is really just any physical activity that raises your heart rate sufficiently and is an essential component to any exercise program. Cardiovascular exercise greatly reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, risk of heart attack and stroke. We hope you are getting enough of it.
Stop for a moment, put your finger on your pulse and ask yourself; how much love do you give your very own heart? The workhorses of your body, the most iconic muscle that you own, and the governor of your life. Lub Dub, Lub Dub…
The human body operates best when it moves. With sufficient practice, a movement can become a learned skill that through regular use becomes second nature. The converse is also true. When we avoid or stop moving in certain directions or dimensions the body slowly loses the ability to do those movements or skills and this affects our functional ability, imposing on our independence.
How easy is it currently for you to get up and down from the floor? The answer to that question may depend on a few factors—your age, how many injuries you’ve had, your confidence and, of course, whether there’s something down there that’s really that important.
If it’s too difficult or painful you may avoid getting up and down from the floor altogether. This is an important skill to have, though, especially when we get older. In fact, it is so important that our ability to do so is actually a measure of fitness and longevity. The World Health Organisation describes the ability to be able to get down and up safely off the floor as “an important skill for older adults to learn which will help them in coping with a fall”.
Despite this, only about 50% of people are able to get up from the ground. This then results in a ‘long lie’ which is defined as “remaining on the floor or ground for more than one hour following a fall”. All of which is a marker of weakness, illness, isolation and is associated with high levels of mortality rates in the elderly following a fall. Furthermore, half of older adults who remain on the floor for an hour or longer, die within 6 months following that fall. Unfortunately, the amount of time spent on the floor following a fall is then associated with the fear of falling, muscle damage, pneumonia, pressure sores, dehydration and hypothermia.
No one wants to fall. And most people think it will not happen to them. However, research shows us that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 years will fall over each year. All people at risk of falling should have a strategy for getting up following a fall. Preparing for this, will make it easier to minimise further injury and expedite getting up from the ground.
Getting up and down from the floor calls on almost every area of fitness and many parts of our bodies: balance, core strength, lower body strength, flexibility, and coordination.
If you have any issues in those areas, say you don’t have much flexibility in your hips or your balance is wobbly, it may be a difficult challenge. Feeling shaky may make it seem impossible but there is a safe way to get up and down from the floor, whatever your situation. Taking it step by step and practising on a regular basis can help you master this important skill. The issue also reminds us of how important it is to engage in an exercise programme (especially one that is specifically targeted towards to needs of older adults). Not only will exercise significantly reduce your risk of falling but, through targeted exercise, moving down and up off the floor will become much easier.
Imagine being able to play games on the floor with your grandchildren or to know confidently that if you have a minor fall you would be able to get up independently.
For some: easier said than done… but practice makes perfect.
Not sure where to start?
Click here to learn more!
Silver Fit has recently launched a new component to its exercise classes that includes teaching members how to get onto the floor (or as close to as possible) and back up again safety. This is done through a range of exercises and stretches that each member does at their own pace and level of ability.
If you would like to benefit from a class voucher (for you to participate in a FREE class) please contact Silver Fit by completing the form at the link below:
As we age, our bodies change, and we find ourselves struggling with issues we didn’t even think about 10 years before. Part of this change includes the transformation of our lifestyles, including our social lives, eating habits, and exercise routines. The difference in eating behaviours can be a result of many things, such as; an increased/ decreased appetite, a new living space or a decrease/ loss of taste.
Assessing Your Appetite:
When trying to assess your appetite, it is best to look back at how your eating has changed over the last few years. Think back to two years ago – what, and how much did you eat? Are you eating the same kinds of food, and are you eating the same volume of food? If not – why not?
Make a list of what differences there are in your life – did you move, or lose a loved one? Did you used to cook, and now have meals delivered?
Take a look at this list and analyse what you see. Do you think you eat better now than you did two years ago? If so – well done. If not – what are the reasons?
If it’s because you have moved, or lost a loved one, have you spoken to someone (be it a psychologist, counsellor, religious leader) about your feelings? Emotional strain is often reflected in our eating behaviours, as when we are hurting, we often tend to adjust our eating, without realising it. We feel nauseous, have stomach cramps, lose our appetite, or even overeat, all as a way of trying to hide our emotions. This uncontrolled eating behaviour can be detrimental to our health – Overeating may result in gaining weight, which could result in an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. While under-eating can cause someone to lose weight, become frail, which could result in a falling and serious injury.
Ballerinas, tight rope walkers, ice skaters… they seem to have such poise and a natural balance that most of us dont possess. But I want to share a secret with you today… That balance comes from lots and lots of practice. Which shows us that while our balance can worsen with age and different conditions that we cant avoid, it can also improve with practice.
WHAT IS BALANCE?
For one to stay upright, 3 things need to happen:
- Your sensory system accurately portraying information on your body’s position in its environment – Hearing, vision and touch (such as our feet on the floor).
- Your brain processing that information – Neurons and sensory receptors in the brain (i.e. making decisions).
- Your muscles and joints coordinating movement based on the information your brain gives them – Being able to contract and relax your muscles to move how you want to.
These 3 factors are usually an automatic process for our body, and so when we feel our balance worsening, we need to explore which of these steps are not working how they should be. Generally, balance is caused by a variety of factors, so we need to know what these factors can be and work to correct them.
So what are some of the things to be aware of?
- Chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis.
- Poly pharmacy (taking 4 or more medications).
- Hearing Problems (hearing loss, infection, vertigo).
- Vision Problems (poor sight, macular degeneration, cataracts) .
- Low Blood Pressure or Low Blood Sugar.
- Nerve problems.
- Muscle Weakness.
For example, if our brain is not receiving good signals from the eyes, ears and skin, it will affect the information our brain has to work with. So it is important to get glasses and/or hearing aids if function has deteriorated. Or if we have a disease that affects the brain this may compromise motor function and movement, and so we will need to make sure our sensory input and muscle output are stronger to compensate. If our muscles and joints are too weak to carry out the messages they receive, it will be beneficial to stretch and strengthen our muscles to ensure they can adequately respond to the information they are receiving.
With balance, it is a case of practice makes perfect. If you are challenging your muscles in a controlled environment and encouraging them to be aware and responsive to the brain’s messages, your body will respond quickly and efficiently to keep you upright and stable. As a result you have better control, stability and essentially balance.
Our challenge for you this month is to find time to exercise. Many of us do not prioritise exercise, and we suffer as a result. The benefit of exercise on health and balance is very well known; let’s make May a month of finding the balance – not only physical!
Click here to start practicing your balance today!