Walking, Water, Pilates and Other Ways to Keep Off the Couch
If you’ve been a couch potato for too much of this last year, resolving to get in shape in the New Year may seem like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be, says Dr. Karyn Staples, PT, Ph.D., of ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio in Peachtree City. All it takes is a commitment to get moving.
“Research shows movement is the number one reason people live longer, across the board,” Staples says. “A lot of times people have had life experiences that don’t allow them to be as active. But for every one day you don’t do something, it takes three days to get the strength back.”
Starting at age 50, we begin losing muscle mass at a rate of 1.5 percent per year, Staples says. By age 70, that grows to 3 percent a year. And the only thing that can counter that is movement, or simply being active.
“There’s just as much benefit in getting up and moving around 10 minutes, five times a day as there is in doing 50 minutes of continuous movement activity. Doing these bursts of exercise can mitigate the fact that we might be sitting for long periods of time.”
‘The goal is to grow each commitment to the next level. Rather than try and change too many things in your life all at once, which can seem overwhelming, start with one thing and commit to doing it for two weeks, Staples says.
If your commitment is to start walking, begin with 10 minutes three days a week, then move on to 30 minutes or five days a week. If you need to change how you’re eating, start by making small changes that are manageable — like cutting out fast food — rather than try and go vegan all at once. If you need to drink more water, start taking a water bottle with you everywhere. The goal is to drink half of our body weight in ounces of water every day rather than tea, coffee or sodas.
No matter what fitness regimen you decide on, your body needs to be prepared for the activity it’s going to be doing.
For example, Staples says, before you go out and start running, you should be able to do 20 calf raises while balancing on one foot, on each side of your body.
“You might say, ‘I’m going to start running because it’s easy and I’ve got running shoes and I used to be a runner 20 years ago,’” Staples says. “But your body isn’t conditioned for it. If we’re doing movements to prepare that foundation, that’s what Pilates does very well.
“It’s a great complimentary movement modality for somebody that’s always been a walker or a runner. By being able to work out on the machines or do some of the non-equipment classes, it allows somebody to move their body in ways that supplement the other activities they’ve been doing.”
ProHealth is offering a New Client Starter Package that’s a great introduction for anyone who’s never done Pilates before or is new to the area. The $160 fee includes three private Pilates sessions and two Pilates group classes, which has just six people at the most, so the instruction is still very personal. It’s ideal for a group of friends who want to experience Pilates together.
The same package is also available for transitional clients who want to move from prescribed physical therapy into Pilates.
Speaking of physical therapy, often rigorous new exercise at the start of the year causes injuries. ProHealth is a great place to rehabilitate.
“ProHealth has licensed physical therapy professionals who work with any sort of orthopedic condition. We also specialize in pelvic health, those that have vestibular issues, as well as amputations,”
“We want to move efficiently,” Staples says. “Our body doesn’t want to spend more energy on a task than it needs to. However, at times it only makes a choice based on the information that it has. And that’s not always the best choice. So looking at the structural foundation of the body and how the muscles are working from there, that’s what we do in our physical therapy assessments.”
Dr. Karyn Staples says it’s about helping people to feel better, perform better, and be better.
ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio is located at 1777 Georgian Park in Peachtree City. To schedule a Pilates or Physical Therapy appointment, call 770-487-1931. For information about any of the ProHealth programs and services, visit www.prohealthga.com.