Medicine

Aging Ungracefully. As a physical therapist, I have… | by Mark Salamon | Jan, 2022

As a physical therapist, I have dedicated my professional life to demonstrating that if you diligently follow a comprehensive exercise program, you can completely avoid all the pitfalls of aging. And finally, after collecting data from thousands of patients over twenty-six years of practice, I can state conclusively that I am a moron. This is because I’m pushing sixty, which means that I am no longer avoiding the pitfalls of aging quite as easily as my thirty-year-old self thought I would.

So instead of lecturing my middle aged and older patients that they should have spent the last thirty years doing more reps at the gym, I have developed a groundbreaking new training program consisting of age-appropriate exercises specifically designed to ease you into your golden years with minimal discomfort, by which I mean slightly less pain than if you were run over by a UPS truck.

The first exercise in this regimen is one I like to call “putting your socks on.” This movement develops strength, balance, flexibility, and a happy marriage due to not having to wake up your spouse to put your socks on for you. For maximal benefit, it should be performed in the dark during pre-dawn hours. Assume a standing position. Hold a sock in one hand and carefully balance on one leg while pulling the other foot up towards your torso as far as you can. If you’re like me, you will barely get it to your kneecaps. Try to put the sock on that foot without falling into the nightstand and waking up your spouse. Keep trying for thirty seconds, then rest for thirty seconds. Repeat this cycle for thirty minutes, then wake up your spouse for help.

The second exercise is called “picking up something you dropped on the floor.” To perform this maneuver, hold an object that you never once dropped before you turned fifty. Go about your daily routine until the object mysteriously launches itself from your grip, which will happen before you finish reading this sentence. Hold onto a sturdy table or chair to steady yourself as you stoop down to pick up the object, then pull yourself back up to a standing position. Perform this exercise every time you happen to drop something, which in my experience is once every five minutes. When this becomes easy, increase the frequency by staying far away from sturdy tables and chairs.

Round out your routine by performing the final exercise called “standing up straight after driving.” Start by driving your car a long distance, which for purposes of this exercise is defined as anything longer than one mile. Next, get out of your car and attempt to make the shape of your body resemble something other than what it was while you were driving. When this becomes easy, increase the degree of difficulty by dropping something as you exit the vehicle.

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Check out my new book, Does It Hurt When I Do This? An Irreverent Guide to Understanding Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation


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