Health educator tells why to ‘Move it or lose it’

Are the aches and pains of getting older getting you down? See what this Adventist Medical Center professional prescribes – and it isn’t more pills …

Health educator Sherrie Evenson demonstrates how simple “resistance bands” can improve body tone – and overall health.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As most folks hit their 50s, they start noticing more aches and pains – and not paying attention to what your body is telling you can lead to a rapid decline in health, says Sherrie Evenson, MS, Exercise Science.

“The most important thing I can tell folks is that the only way to keep your parts moving is to move them,” Evenson tells us, as she prepares to give a talk at Adventist Medical Center based on her new book and DVD entitled “Moving Parts”.

The deconditioning downward spiral
Evenson, who works at the medical center as cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation specialist, says she too-often sees patients’ overall health decline rapidly as their physical activity decreases.

“When people age, they may start feeling chronic pain in their back and hips, shoulders and feet,” Evenson tells us. “The tendency is to avoid movement because it hurts. And when one avoids movement, one starts to experience de-conditioning. Your body adapts to the lack of movement.  Then, you feels even more pain from the reduction of movement.  This leads to a spiral of de-conditioning.”

A lot of the pain that people experience, Evenson explains, comes from activities of everyday life – how one stands, walks, and sits.

With the help of a seminar participant, Sherrie Evenson shows correct posture for a person while bending over.

The posture prescription
“Many problems are posture related,” asserts Evenson. “One approach is to help people become aware of their posture as they stand, sit, walk, and lift objects.”

In addition to that, Evenson says that simple exercises allow you to move in a way that won’t aggravate the pain. “The bottom line is that your joints have to keep moving to be functional. What we’re doing is helping people find ways to move that are not going to aggravate their pain.”

This health educator says that people – especially those who are 40 and above – need to learn how to use their muscles to carry themselves and lift objects, instead of putting pressure on their joints, and using their skeleton as a lever.

“A lot of people end up letting their muscles relax, and their joints take the hit. People don’t see the value of exercise and being aware of good posture and improper use of momentum and balance till they start having problems,” Evenson elucidates.

Evenson shows how simple exercises can help people become more aware of using their muscles – instead of using their joints – as levers.

“A lot of this doesn’t have anything to do with exercise – instead, it is making sure that we use the support system that we have: The over 600 muscles in our body.”

Outlines simple program
At the free seminar, Evenson illustrates her points by demonstrating how muscle groups work together, showing the principles of good posture, and revealing simple strength-training exercises.

If you missed her program, you can check it out – by getting both the “Moving Parts” book and DVD for $35. “It’s cheaper than a single medical office visit,” quips Evenson.

To learn more, visit her web site: CLICK HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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