Healthy Aging: How To Use Your Stairs for Exercise and Strength

Come on in. Grab your tea, coffee, or as I
have today lemon water. Hot or cold. And make yourself comfy.
Welcome to 4×4 Healing. I’m Bonnie Yost. I’m a physical therapist, speaker, and
author who helps people transform physical limitation and deep internal
and relational pain into profound potential so that they can live in joy
and vibrant health! We’re doing things a little bit different today because we’re
going to be using the stairs. So today I want you to know that stairs are your
friend. And certainly we have to have safety first. We’re going to cover that.
We need to use it or lose it. That’s a good review. If we don’t use our bodies
we do lose it. We have to have safety first. Alignment is critical in using
stairs so that you don’t damage your knees but instead make them stronger and
healthier and with less pain. I will give you a healthy habit that you can start
today to improve your strength, your balance, and your ability to climb stairs
and function. And then we’ll end with encouragement which today is Psalm 24:3-5 and Matthew 9:6 And then we’ll end with prayer.
So thank you for joining me. Research shows that stair climbing has
many benefits. Stair climbing can strengthen and tone your leg muscles. It
also helps your core and your trunk. It keeps your leg arteries flexible which
increases the blood flow in your legs and better blood flow into your legs
equals a healthier heart and body. A three minute walk properly up or down
the stairs may help you increase or control your blood sugar.
Stair-climbing can wake you up better than a small cup of coffee. And it gives
you an aerobic workout. So let’s review Use it or lose it. If we don’t use our
bodies we lose not only range and the ability to move and function but we lose
strength that affects our joints and our muscles which increases pain and it’s a
downward cycle. You lose muscle, you lose strength,
you lose joint function, and you have more pain so you avoid. And we don’t want
to do that we want to work toward our disabilities not away from them. So
safety first. Remember B-M-W Breathe Melt [Wiggle] From the top
of your head to the tip of your toes and wiggle. If you need to review that skill
and that wonderful habit please go back and review that episode. On stairs make
sure that you pick up your feet. You also will need to wear shoes that are safe
and healthy so safe for you. So I know that these kind of slippers are
wonderful because we can just slide right in but sometimes on stairs if you
don’t have good toe strength you can lose your shoe and that can cause falls.
So better to have a shoe with a heel that when you go up and down stairs
you’re secure and you won’t be slipping and falling just to do due to poor foot
wear. Also safety means that you use your arms for safety and support you don’t
use your arms to hold you up. So I’ll be demonstrating some of that now so let’s
go ahead and start with that. Arms are for safety. Let’s get rid of the ball
here for a minute. When you – well here let me do this – I like my red dots – so if you
can see me now in fact I’ll come up here a little bit
if you can see me now not very beautiful knees but I want to show you that
my knee… the center of my knee needs to be over my second toe. So my toes are
straightforward and my knee when it bends come straight over my second toe.
It doesn’t kiss. So I’m not doing this thing. That’s gonna really damage my
knees. Don’t want to do that. And I’m not gonna be bowlegged like my
horseback riding would ask, but I’m gonna be straight. Okay? So when I put this on
my my pants you’ll be able to watch the center of my kneecap right there and
that needs to be over my second toe. So let’s do that on this side as well.
Kneecap. Center. Second toe. Okay? If those guys will stick it’ll be good. When you
go up and down stairs you need to make sure that you are supporting your legs
enough to do the work properly but not allowing your arms to hold you up. Okay?
So if I come down the stairs I’m going to go on the inside of the rail. It’s
there if I need it for safety but I’m gonna go on the inside of the rail and
I’m going to stay in a chute. Okay? The chute is the width of my
shoulders. The width of my hips. Okay? Yeah. I’m going to go down and stay in that
chute. I don’t want to let my hips go side-to-side and I don’t want my
shoulders to go side-to-side. I want to stay in the chute. So I’m gonna
come down … and I’m gonna go real slow. Heel first. Slow knee over second
toe and slow again. So I’m not holding myself. I’m supporting
myself and staying in the chute. So let me show you that going up the stairs…
same thing. Hands are there for safety. Going up the stairs I lean forward…hands
are there for safety and I make sure that I don’t wiggle my hips. And I
stay nice and straight up the stairs. And my hands are behind me in case I have to
fall. Okay? Stay in the chute. It’s gonna be very easy to wobble. So stay in the chute.
Here we go. Nice and slow coming down. Now if I’m weak I’m gonna use my hands a
little bit to hold myself until I get the strength to slowly go up and down
the stairs. Had a little red dot on my foot so I took it off. Okay? So what we’re
doing here is as I was getting my knee strength back after surgery I went very
slow. I let people pass me on the stairs and they said, “Are you okay?” and I said, “Yep.
I’m making my knees stronger and doing my exercises.” So I just let them pass by.
If you can do stairs nice and slow every single time you encounter stairs it will
become habit. Your legs finally will get stronger. The pain…after three months
probably maybe six…will cease. I mean I don’t have pain. I feel the work of the
muscles but I don’t have pain. I also wanted to share with you what happened
with a couple of patients of mine and then I’m going to review the the
exercise for you one more time. First of all for me I had surgery on
both knees. I blew out my knees when I was my right knee…when I was 16 in
gymnastics. I had an ACL tear MCL medial collateral ligament tear and meniscus
injury. And that was over 50 years ago. I dealt with arthritis for over 50…well…
anyway 45 years at least and was able with a brace and with minimal aspirin, a
couple times a month, to continue to keep my knees strong until I did have a total
knee surgery when I was in my early 60s. So my knees are working very well but
that’s because I kept them strong, kept them moving, used them as much as I could.
So that I had something to work with after surgery. I’ll do another episode on
total knees but right now just know that I have had
young and old patients, dancers, hikers, that improved in their knee function by
increasing their balance and having better alignment and better function
after they have worked on stairs properly. I’ve had people who had fear of
falling and had history of falls improved greatly so that they did not
fall and they had much better balance. And I also had a painful knees – shoot –
almost who doesn’t? But young and old I’ve had athletes and people who have had
painful knees who have benefited significantly by doing this stair
exercise. And the reason that that’s so wonderful is because it’s not an
exercise you take time out of the day. It’s every time you see stairs. Every
time you use stairs. Very similar to the sit to stand that we were talking about.
So sit and stand like royalty. Okay? So what can you do? Set a timer make sure
that at work or when you’re at home you get up.
Try to use your hands for safety but not for strength. Sit and stand like royalty.
Nice and slow. Slow is more difficult than fast. Fast you can lose control. Lose
balance. You can injure yourself. Stay slow. If I move slowly there’s no way I’m
gonna injure myself because I’m in control. Okay? Second thing I want you to
do so get up and move around. Certainly be safe. Use your hands for safety but
not to hold you up not to support you. And practice your slow sit to stand
and I’m going to show you again the stair situation. Don’t grab stairs and
drag yourself up the stairs. Okay? Using your arms. I want you to use your hands
for safety and align yourself so that you keep your seat bone right over your
heel and you go up the stairs nice and slowly,
staying in the chute not letting your shoulders wiggle, not letting your hips
wiggle. Okay? So here we come down again. Stay in the chute. No shoulder wiggle. No
hip wiggle. Nice and slow. Slowly, slowly, slowly. And as you do that
your legs will feel better. Your knees will get better. You’ll have an aerobic
workout. Your balance’ll be better. You won’t be falling. I mean look at all
the good stuff that can happen! So, again, practice on stairs. Park a little farther
out from where you’re going and walk. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Let’s
end with scripture Psalm 24:3-5 says, “Who may climb the
mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those with hands and hearts whose hands and hearts are pure who do not
worship idols and never tell lies, they will receive the Lord’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God, their Savior.” Matthew 9:6 says, “so I will
prove to you that the Son of man has the authority on earth to forgive sins then
Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said ‘Stand up pick up your mat and go
home.’ (Since I read the book he did he did just that.)
Jesus enabled him. Let’s end with prayer. Father in heaven, Creator, and King, God
Almighty, Thank you that you have given us such marvelous bodies. Help us to take
care of them. Help us to trust in you to know that we are fearfully and
wonderfully made and that with a little bit of choice -good choice-
we can help our bodies to stay strong through the years and to take care of
the pains and problems, that we can manage responsibly. I thank you Father
for my friend who joined me today and I ask that as they are struggling maybe
with pain or with athletic disability or with weight problems…whatever is
affecting their knees and their legs… help them to slow down. To rest in your
arms. To look for the quality and the alignment that can help them get
stronger. Help them to do what they can safely in your strength, your will, your
way. And I ask father that if they need help that that you will guide them to
the person that can help them to get better again according to your will, your
way, your word, and in your time. Thank you again for the time that you’ve given me
and my friend and I and I thank you Father for being with us wherever we go.
We can always trust in you. In Jesus’ Almighty name, we pray. Amen.
Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you. Make a comment. Tell me what
you’re interested in. And I will look forward to seeing you next time. Bye-bye. Bonnie Yost, 4×4 Healing

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