Many people unknowingly live at their 1 repetition-maximum (1RM) when it comes to daily activities.
A course I took last year discussed this topic, and it resonated with me as I see many patients who are 1 Rep Max Living.
What does “1Rep Max Lifestyle” look like?
It means that simple tasks like standing from a chair, carrying laundry, or getting into a car can leave them feeling exhausted and short of breath. Additionally, injuries may occur from activities as small as lifting a grandchild or walking an extra 3 minutes for an appointment.
As we age, there is a natural loss of muscle mass and power-type muscle fibers, which are critical for quick, explosive movements. This loss can also be reflected in daily activities and leave individuals feeling stuck on the floor, unable to get up independently. In fact, we cover the importance of strengthening for injury-prevention and healthy living in our course on exercise.
Additionally, many people come into the clinic with new injuries whose source they can’t quite pinpoint. When someone is living at their max physical capacity with daily tasks, adding an extra 2 pounds to the laundry basket, lifting a grandchild, or walking an extra 3 minutes for an appt may be all it takes to cause injury or strain a weak muscle.
The Importance of Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy for Injury Prevention
According to a course on Modern Management of Older Adults, physical & occupational therapists recognize the importance of identifying and preventing these issues before they lead to injuries. It is essential to take a proactive approach to improve your quality of life and avoid injuries. Integrating simple exercises and activities into your daily routine, such as squats, sit-to-stands, and overhead lifts, is the best way to prevent 1RM living.
Clinical Research Research supports the idea that physical therapy can be crucial for injury prevention. A study published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy found that regular physical therapy interventions improved function, decreased falls, and increased muscle strength and flexibility in older adults.  Another study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity found that exercise intervention programs improved muscle mass, strength, and power in older adults, leading to improvements in functional performance. 
Strength and Injury Prevention as We Age
A common consequence of aging is a loss of muscle mass, and more specifically of power-type muscle fibers. We have different types of muscle fibers, some slow twitch, some fast twitch. The fast twitch muscle fibers help us conquer big, quick movements such as quickly lifting something heavy, jumping or sprinting. This loss of power can also be reflected in daily tasks, when someone feels capable of walking once they are standing, but getting from a low chair into a standing position feels nearly impossible.
If this sounds like you, take a proactive approach! You don’t have to be injured to benefit from physical therapy. Prevention can be critical to improving your quality of life, and avoiding injuries. Integrating simple exercises and activities in your daily life is the best way to stay away from 1 rep max living. These include things like squats, sit to stands, and overhead lifts.
To learn more about how physical therapy can benefit you, schedule an appointment today. In the meantime, check out this article for some inspiration on exercises to incorporate into your daily routine.
 Romero, S., Bishop, M. D., Velozo, C. A., Light, K. E., & Chan, L. (2013). Improved function, strength, and quality of life in older adults following a physical therapy program emphasizing functional training. Journal of geriatric physical therapy, 36(1), 24-30. https://journals.lww.com/jgpt/Abstract/2013/01000/Improved_Function,_Strength,_and_Quality_of_Life.5.aspx
 Pahor, M., Blair, S. N., Espeland, M., Fielding, R., Gill, T. M., Guralnik, J. M., … & Rejeski, W. J. (2006). Effects of a physical activity intervention on measures of physical performance: results of the lifestyle interventions and independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 61(11), 1157-1165. https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/61/11/1157/597193