Over the next few weeks, we are going to be talking about how to improve the mobility and strength of your hip and pelvis. In today's post, we will look at a few reasons why you might want to do that.
Ask most people why they should have a strong lower back and hips, and they will probably tell you it does the following: prevents injury, helps avoid pain and makes you look good in jeans! Now, there is definitely truth to that statement - the preventing pain and injury part. A lot of the patients I see have a weak back, tight hips, and no butt muscle. This is the perfect "Trifecta" for how to injure your back.
What is often overlooked, however, is that the "Trifecta" (weak back, tight hips and no butt muscle) can play a role in pain syndromes above and below the area. Many shoulder, neck, knee and ankle issues can originate in a weak and poorly functioning pelvic region.
But did you know that your pelvis and hip strength can also predict how long you have left to live?
The study tracked 2,000 people between the ages of 50-80 over seven years. Using a point system, the test evaluated how easy it was for an individual to get up and down from the floor without assistance. The more assistance, the lower the score (the best possible score was 10, the worst was zero - you lost points for the number of supports you used). This study found that the more difficult it was to get off the floor unassisted, the more likely or sooner you were to die!
At first glance, this seems like a pretty obvious conclusion. Not so fast! What was telling about this study was how much of a difference just a few points made in terms of risk of death. Remember, the highest score you can get is a 10, and that is when you can sit straight down onto the floor and get up without using your hands or knees. You lose a point for each touch (hand to floor, knee to floor, etc.) on both the way down and back up. What was really interesting was the difference between scoring an 8-10 versus a 7 meant a 21% increase in mortality (death)! That is a lot! Think about it, if you scored a 6 but could get just a little stronger and more flexible to score an 8, you could reduce your mortality by 21%!
The study's author, Dr. Araujo, gave one possible explanation for the relationship between the test scores and overall survival:
"It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and co-ordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy."
Others have proposed that the stronger you are in the hips and pelvis, the less likely you are to fall, and falls lead to prolonged stays in hospitals and rehab, which can lead to death!
Well, I don't want to leave you hanging, but any good blogger knows you need to give readers a reason to come back next time! In the following installments, we will review the test specifically and ways to improve your score. Also, keep your eye out for our fall workshop - we will be carrying out the Sit to Rise test and coach you on some ways to improve where you are at currently.
Till next time,
Doug Williams, D.C. Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana