The state of our bodies in our 40s depends very much on how we’ve nurtured ourselves in our earlier years. If we’ve constantly put ourselves on the back burner due to career or a caregiving role, it can be easy to forsake our wellness. Now is a good time to reassess where our bodies are and work on dealing with any pain, muscle imbalance or lack of endurance.
Gone are the days when we could hop out of bed and not feel every ache and pain. As our bodies age the need to better maintain our physical wellness is critical. Just as we care for our teeth or eyes or heart we should also eke out time to ensure our body is in balance.
A physiotherapist can tailor a plan to begin to work back to a more balanced approach to wellness and healthily manage all of the roles we must play in our lives.
“To be a good caregiver, to be active and productive at work you need to take better care of yourself,” says physiotherapist Beth Hollis, co-founder of Ocean Rock Wellness and chairperson of the Bermuda Physiotherapy Association. “Physiotherapists are an accessible option because you don’t need a referral. You don’t even need to have a specific injury.”
Physiotherapists provide an assessment that’s tailored to your physical needs. And in follow-up appointments, in as little as 30 minutes a week, they can provide “tips and tricks to start working on your wellness.”
“You can’t be in a state of stress and burnout and then expect to be able to perform well. That may have been your go-to when you were younger but, even with just a few specific exercises and someone to be accountable to, we can get back to our fitness goals and prevent injury.”
Ask yourself whether your body can handle another 10 years in the state it’s currently in, says Mrs Hollis.
“When was the last time you treated your nervous system with care? When you worked on reducing your pain or worked on your balance?” she asks. “What you work on now is setting you up for the future.
“Pain drains your energy so much and you’ve been in a depleting state for so long that you need to switch into a renewal state,” she says. “If you’ve been stuck in the same patterns you have had for the last 10-20 years, those habits may not have served your longevity.”
While every physiotherapist takes a different approach, and some might be more focused in certain areas such as women’s health, pediatrics or endurance, each takes a client-centred approach.
“A physiotherapist will do an assessment of your physical body and narrow down a certain area – whether it’s your knees or hips or posture,” says Mrs Hollis.
Take the time to find a practitioner that resonates and fits your lifestyle. Often, word of mouth can go a long way to finding someone that targets your needs.
“See what feels right for you,” she adds.
Do you want a male or female, do you want to target an injury or just get back to moving without pain? Some physiotherapists can come to you in your home or in an office setting. Some will provide hands-on manual work while others will suggest exercise-focused care.
Other modalities can also be explored, says Mrs Hollis, who uses acupuncture, cupping and other Traditional Chinese medicines when working with her clients.
“There will always be other priorities and you might not be used to putting yourself first but it can start with just baby steps,” she says. “You might trial acupuncture, you might trial massage you might want to take up running and you can go to a physio and get help with that. Decide what path and know that there are many options out there to get you in a good wellness place.”