Dr. Alyssa Kuhn Transcript

Kevin: Let me ask you something.  When’s the last time you had an adventure?  When is the last time you did something challenging and exciting?  When is the last time that you went exploring?  When’s the last time you took a risk, or did something bold?  Many of us lose our sense of adventure as we grow older.  Perhaps we have aches and pains that we didn’t have as a younger person, which inhibits us from adventuring.  My guest today is fond of saying that adventure has no age limit and has dedicated her life to helping older men and women overcome aches and pains associated with arthritis, so they can live the adventurous lives of their dreams.

Hello and welcome to the Over 50 Health & Wellness how.  I’m you host Kevin English – I’m a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach and my mission is to help you get into the best shape of your life - no matter your age.  We have a great show for you today – Dr. Alyssa Kuhn is with us today and she’s going to help us keep the adventure alive as we age.  But before we get to that I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by the Silver Edge.   The Silver Edge is my online personal training and nutrition coaching business where I help you get off the exercise and diet hamster wheel and start making permanent healthy lifestyle changes, so that you can enjoy the second half of your life with strength and confidence, and show up as the healthiest, strongest, most vital version of yourself no matter your age.  If you’re interested in learning more, send me an email at coach@silveredgeftness.com and we’ll start a conversation.  My promise to you is no hard sales pitch, no annoying incessant follow up emails, just an introductory conversation about your personal fitness goals.  OK, enough of that, let’s get on with today’s show!

My guest today is Dr. Alyssa Kuhn.  Alyssa is a physical therapist, author, arthritis specialist, and founder of Keep the Adventure Alive, where her mission is to educate people that adventure is still possible with arthritis and that surgery is not inevitable! She is revolutionizing the way people think and feel about osteoarthritis.  Now Alyssa is neither over 50 – not even close – and is not an arthritis sufferer, so I wanted to know what drew her to working in this specialized field.

Alyssa: I've always been in the fitness world growing up. I've always been into sports. And so the typical career path was to be a physical therapist and I've known that for a while. And so I think I just really wanted to be in the medical field and really wanting to help people overcome injuries and things like that.

But I never would have thought in a million years I would get involved with people that are older. I was treating people that were 70, 80, 90 for a while. And that was just when I fell in love with it. Cause I always wanted to treat athletes. I wanted to work for professional sports teams.

And so it was a really interesting kind of transition. And when I was doing that, I kind of saw both sides of aging. I saw one side where I was in an independent living facility. These people were 70 plus, they were independent, they were social. They were doing all kinds of things all the time, moving around and doing so many things.

And then I saw on the other side, when I was doing home care, I saw people that had arthritis primarily and some other things going on, but were debilitated and had limited mobility at 40 and 50. And so there's definitely two sides of aging, and arthritis plays a big part in that kind of success story. But it was so amazing to see these people that were thriving in their nineties, a woman would wake up every morning and go swimming and do all kinds of stuff.

So that's what pushed me towards what I'm doing now with arthritis. You can adventure, you can thrive, you can do all kinds of things. And plus, I'm leading my own adventures and working on my own health and things like that. So physical therapy aligns right with that.

Kevin: Thanks for sharing that. And I think that's a very interesting perspective that there are two sides to aging. I speak to people over 50 and a lot of the folks that follow me are already on the active side. But obviously I would like to speak also to the people on the other side and invite them onto this side.

But when we think of aging, especially when you get to the seventies, eighties, and nineties, the prevailing thought of these people is that they're not active, they're not adventuring, they're not living their fullest lives. And a lot of that is because of lifestyle diseases.

And certainly we're going to talk a lot about arthritis and things like that. But they're not able to live their life as their fullest. So, I want to talk a little bit about arthritis specifically. Let's define arthritis. What is arthritis?

Alyssa: So arthritis globally is a disease of the joints themselves, and there are different types of arthritis and each type brings in its own symptoms. Now, typically when you say I have knee arthritis or I have hip arthritis, typically people are talking about osteoarthritis, which is generally characterized by stiffness in the morning that dissipates after movement.

So usually after about 30 minutes or so general joint stiffness, or after some activity following inactivity. And then also joint pain is a big part of it. It changes the way you move. And then we start to go down that path of not moving and things like that. So I would say pain and stiffness and then the loss of range of motion.

So maybe if your joints aren't moving as well, those are the three hallmark symptoms of what's called osteoarthritis. Now there are other kinds like rheumatoid arthritis, which kind of is its own animal just because it is actually an autoimmune condition, and you can get other systemic symptoms like fatigue and your joints are warm and they're sometimes even hot.

And you do have some of that stiffness. They tend to affect some smaller joints too, like hands or feet, that sort of thing. But you can also have rheumatoid arthritis that's affecting the larger joints. I also group degenerative disc disease in with osteoarthritis just because it presents the same and it reacts to the same treatments usually as osteoarthritis. And so that's kind of the main one and one of the most common ones, you also have like psoriatic arthritis and other kinds of things, but those aren't as common. And I've particularly narrowed down into osteoarthritis just because it's a very, very common disease.

And there is no cure - but there is hope. And a lot of people really hit these huge barriers, which then leads to that negative side of aging or sliding down into the limited mobility. And it's being diagnosed at a younger and younger age. I have people in their thirties that are like, I have osteoarthritis, now what is 50 gonna look like for me?

The whole entire thing of osteoarthritis is very discouraging in our society right now - and I know that your audience is a lot of very active people and continuing to encourage people to be active. Even if you get a diagnosis of osteoarthritis or start to experience some joint pain.

Kevin: Okay. Yeah. I definitely want to come back to that to the activity. And in fact one of the folks that I had on the podcast earlier is a CrossFit champion. She's a champion in the 55 to 59 age group, a two-time champ now I think, and she's got rheumatoid arthritis. And so certainly these things can be overcome, right?

She's the fittest woman in the world and is dealing with a type of arthritis. So you talked a lot about what you might feel if you're having this arthritis, the stiffness and joint pain, the loss of range of motion. What causes osteoarthritis?

Alyssa: And so this is actually one of the biggest myths when it comes to arthritis. It is not necessarily caused by wear and tear. A lot of times, you know, we're told that. Because you played too many sports when you were younger or you ran too much or, you know, things like that. And that's actually not true.

There's been a lot of upcoming research and recent research going through what is the cause of it because it's not necessarily wear and tear because you can have the same x-ray. One person may have pain and the other person might not even know that their joint looks like that. And so they started diving into, okay, what is the difference?

Why does one person have pain and one person doesn't. It's actually - and this should not necessarily come to a surprise for anyone - but it's low grade inflammation. And that tends to be the stem of a lot of chronic disease. So it's more than just the wear and tear. And the reason why that's important is because if you're told wear and tear causes it, then movement likely is not going to be in your repertoire of treatments because the more you move then the more damage, but that is not true. And so some of the causes are the things that can cause inflammation. Obesity is one of them. The more weight that you carry, the more inflammation you have in your body. Actually diet has a ton to do with inflammation.

And like I said, this is the same with most chronic diseases, but I mean, processed foods, all that kind of stuff. There are certain foods that actually increase inflammation. And processed sugar is one of them. Also inactivity. And this is a big one that can fuel that vicious cycle that you think it's wear and tear you stop exercising, but then you're actually fueling that inflammation by not moving.

Those are kind of the three big ones. Also, there are two that are a little bit out of our control, which is okay, because like I said, you can actually overcome these things, but genetics plays a big part. But we can't just say it runs in my family. This is just what I'm going to have to deal with, because I know a lot of people that have definitely overcome that.

And the other one is if you had a surgery, this is primarily in knees, but can happen in other surgeries too, but like ACL MCL, any of those sorts of things, they can actually put you at risk for developing osteoarthritis. But again, as your audience is very active, being active is one of the best things to help combat that. Even if you've had one of those surgeries in the past, even though your risk is higher, you can mitigate some of that severity of the symptoms actually developing.

Kevin: Okay. So what I hear in there is there are couple of factors that are more or less out of our control, right? If you've had some type of big surgery in a joint that could put you at risk and certainly genetics. And we could talk about gene expression, epigenetics, but your genetics you're not going to change. But you talked about obesity, diet, and inactivity as being three things that are certainly within our capability for controlling. So we're looking at risk factors for osteoarthritis and folks don't have it and they want to avoid it, certainly keeping a healthy body weight and keeping moving play a big part in that. And we'll come back to that, I think, and pick that apart a little bit. So what are some typical treatment plans? If I go to my general doctor and he says, oh, you've got OA, what's he gonna tell me?

Alyssa: So, this is another thing where gets a little bit muddy because he probably will tell you need an x-ray, and then they'll look at the x-ray, see some what's called joint space narrowing, which essentially is where the joint space narrows, a loss of cartilage, deterioration, degeneration.

You start to hear some of those words and you're like, oh my God. This is so much worse than I thought, this is so much worse than it feels. And then typically when you see some signs of that sort of thing, you may be referred right to surgery, saying surgery your only option or unfortunately, a lot of people are told, you're probably going to need surgery in the next few years.

So just try to get by with some medication. So anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes you may be offered a cortisone shot, which is a steroid injection right into the joint, which can be helpful for initial pain relief, but is showing some potential signs of actually making the degeneration worse or make it progressed quicker.

And so those aren't necessarily recommended for multiple times. You usually can get one every three months. So that can be another thing that you're typically offered. Now, if the doctor that you're seeing is more progressive and is more kind of along the lines of exercise and things like that, absolutely physical therapy is one of the ways to get through some of this really starts to improve strength and that sort of thing.

But sometimes physical therapy may not be effective or you may not mesh with the PT that you have. And so you can try other types of exercise programs. That's why I've really kind of started to specialize in this because a lot of times physical therapy can just get you to okay,you can at least like walk around your house.

You can at least do these very, very basic things. But there are people that like, I have arthritis, but I want to hike. I want to run, I want to do these things, but a lot of times in a traditional physical therapy world, we stop at that kind of, oh, you can just walk around. Fine. So typically this route is going to be the conservative route of exercise.

And then there are other types of things you can use, like ice heat, knee braces, those sorts of things, different kind of compression sleeves can be a form of treatment too. But a lot of times people aren't told about the conservative side of things, supplements, that sort of thing. And we're just told about relying on these external things like surgery, injections medication, that sort of thing. So that's right where the gap is that we're trying to close - is to educate more people that you can actually combat some of this just with exercise and things. And research is showing that it's actually almost as effective as surgery in most situations of mild to moderate osteoarthritis.

Kevin: That's great. And you had mentioned there, hey, if I go to my general practitioner and they take a look and they tell me something about you have cartilage degeneration. That's alarming to me, right?

Alyssa: I know.

Kevin: So I'm already dealing with some pain, cause that's how I ended there. And then I hear this kind of scary thing, but you're saying that movement actually might help that. So when you say that might help, then am I actually rehabbing that joint? Am I just relieving some of the inflammation and pain by moving? What am I doing when as opposed to getting a shot or a surgery, I’m starting to move to heal myself?

Alyssa: Movement is obviously something that is in your power. You're not relying on something else. Like a cortisone shot. People are begging at three months to get another one. You feel like you're relying on that, where exercise is obviously more in your control, which I think gives people more confidence.

Cause a lot of times, if you're walking primarily for exercise - walking is great - but it's very repetitive. We spend our lives in a forward position. So using exercise that way sometimes can actually be irritating. So it's finding the right type of exercise first, but it can reduce inflammation.

There's lots of research out there showing that it actually helps some of these cytokines, which are the inflammatory cells. I always think about it as you're taking out the garbage or you're just cycling through that. It increases blood flow, which helps to move those cells through.

Swelling can sometimes be a problem with arthritis. And so the more that you move your muscles, you can actually pump that out yourself, ror the most part. But then some activity can actually lead to swelling. And then stiffness is another one. Stiffness can be one of the most limiting symptoms. And movement - gentle movement to start  - can actually get that blood flowing and reduce the inflammation and improve your overall mobility.

And so that's definitely helping primarily with inflammation. Cause then all these other things happen, but movement can absolutely be one of the best ways to find a relief from some of these symptoms, but we have to make sure it's the right type and that we're not overdoing it. Those are two of the barriers that we see that exercise is great, but you have to make sure you're using it in the right way.

Kevin: Okay. That brings up the next question then - what is the right way? And I know there's not a blanket answer. It's going to depend on the individual to be sure, but what are some general things that are good for us and maybe what are some things that might be off limits? Or are things off limits for let's say mild to medium osteoarthritis?

Alyssa: I wouldn't necessarily say anything is off limits. Some people are told no squats, no lunges, no weightlifting, that sort of thing. But that is absolutely not true. Now, obviously, if your knee is flared up, a lunge probably is not going to feel great, but there are some definite modifications that you can make Squats are another one. I'm sure so many people in your audience right now love squats and love loading up back and front squats and things. But yeah, you can absolutely modify those. You have to be able to squat during the day. So if somebody tells you you can't squat again, then we need to have a chat because you have to squat during the day.

So different modifications and things like that. One of the biggest things that I always encourage people is to include variety. Because, like I had mentioned before, like if you're walking, for example, which is a very, very common exercise with people that have arthritis. Cause they're told it's one of the only safest things, which is also not true, but walking can sometimes flair up pain or it can kind of leave people not feeling much better just because it's that same repetitive forward motion. Your thighs are getting a lot of work. The front of your hips are getting a workout, but what about your glutes and your hamstrings and the backs of your legs? And so variety is key. Not doing the same thing. This even goes for cycling. If you're only cycling for exercise, that's not necessarily great either.

You're neglecting some of those other muscles and movements. So I always, always, always recommend people to include some variety of side to side and backwards movement. And a big part of this is actually walking backwards, that can be a great thing. And I have people messaging you all the time. Like, hey, I was walking backwards in my neighborhood today, my neighbors probably thought I was crazy! Or sideways movement, we just don't get enough variety in our daily lives.

Now, if you're doing CrossFit and things like that, you're obviously getting some variety, but even then we still live in that forward motion, we don't necessarily get a ton of side to side or even some backwards movement and obviously deadlifts and things like that are going to be great to work posterior chain hamstring, and things like that.

This is also a way to prevent any joint pain or arthritis from progressing. But keeping that variety, being very, very deliberate about variety moving side to side, even if it's just simply stepping side to side at the kitchen counter, or just starting to bring in some of that variety, that is where we start.

And then we progress loading. Strength training all kinds of different things, but I actually have quite a few people that are doing CrossFit with arthritis. And so it's definitely starting where you're at and where your pain levels are. That's going to depend obviously on the exercises you start with, but consciously asking yourself, am I moving side to side somehow some way, am I moving backwards? And that's a good place to start.

Kevin: Okay. So we want to avoid those long repetitive movements and add some variety in there. And you brought up CrossFit a couple of times and people have strong feelings one way or the other there, but to your point, that's just adding that variety and people might be surprised to hear you say that. That CrossFit could be a reasonable prescription for somebody who's diagnosed with osteoarthritis - is to actually get into a gym and do intense conditioning, lift heavy weights.

And I think that goes back to what you said, the risk factors are going to be obesity, inflammation, and inactivity. So really this is a prescription for healthy aging period. That we want to watch our diet. We want to be active. We want to build muscle and lose that fat. So, let's spend a minute and talk a little bit about how diet plays into arthritis. You'd mentioned obviously inflammation and diet has a big part to play with our body's inflammation. Doesn't it?

Alyssa: 100% and that's a lot of chronic disease too. So if you can clean that up, then you can prevent a lot of things.

Kevin: And so other than eating whole foods and eating healthy foods, is there something specific if you have any an arthritis diagnosis - is there anything in particular that you would need to do outside of just a general prescription for eating healthy foods? Are there things you should avoid or things you should eat more of?

Alyssa: So not particularly, it's not necessarily rocket science with an anti-inflammatory diet. It's following a Mediterranean diet, which is one of the most recommended. But it's honestly just cutting out some of the processed foods and that's a big thing.

There are certain triggers that can actually trigger flare ups and things. These are going to be very widely dependent on the person though. So they're not necessarily blanket statements of like, you can never have gluten again, you can never have dairy. Those are two things that people tend to stay away from, but it's only if it's a trigger for you that you need to cut that out.

One of the biggest things, and again, this is with a lot of other chronic diseases. It's people always tend to focus on cutting out processed sugars, which I know a lot of people that have done that, and have seen tremendous results in their levels of inflammation and their arthritis. Especially drinking soda and things like that.

Now fruit is not the devil fruit, in fact it’s one of the best sources of natural sugar. And sometimes people try to make that to be the devil, but it's really not. It's just increasing your natural foods. I mean, honestly, that's kinda what it comes down to.

There are a couple of spices and things, tumeric and ginger being two of them. Things you can add to food if you like the taste and also comes in a supplement form too. But it's honestly, I always just try to tell people, try to increase these anti-inflammatory foods, which is fruits and vegetables primarily.

Oily fish can be very, very helpful for inflammation. Just try to cut out some of the process stuff. I mean, it's really, truly that simple. And a lot of times we try to over-complicate it, you know, follow XYZ, only eat these sorts of things, and you have to start out just making two or three substitutions, cause it needs to be a lifestyle thing, not try this for six weeks and then you're done with it.

Kevin: Yeah. If you're going to live with this for the rest of your life, you need to have a sustainable way of implementing these changes.

Alyssa: Exactly.

Kevin: And I suppose that's a good point. I just made an assumption there. If I go to the doctor, my doctor says, okay, you have osteoarthritis. Do I have that for the rest of my life? Can I be cured? Can I reverse it? Or do I just manage it?

Alyssa: There's not a cure. And so it is something that will continue to stick with you, but I always tell people, focus on what you can do, not necessarily the diagnosis itself. But there are people that are running with it. There are people that are lifting weights.

There are people who are out there doing miles and miles of backpacking trips, and they all have arthritis. And it is so common as we get older to get some joint pain, some stiffness, because our joints are aging, just like the rest of our body. And I mean, if you think of a car, it's going to start to show some wear eventually, but that wear does not have to necessarily mean severe disability and severe pain.

So you can absolutely reverse the symptoms. You can reverse the severity of them, at least to where it's just you just have a little bit of stiffness in the morning, but then it doesn't really limit you from doing anything. And that's the ultimate goal, I want you to be able to live the adventures that you want, to be able to do the things that you want to do without it limiting you or holding you back from doing the things you love.

I always tell people to measure your progress based on decreased pain, frequency, and severity, instead of just, you know, I still have pain. And so we have to think of it that way, but unfortunately there's no cure. But you can absolutely live your life to the fullest.

Kevin: Okay. I love that you can absolutely live your life to the fullest, even if you have arthritis. So I want to talk a little bit about that, and you've mentioned adventures several times here in our conversation today. I do want to come back to that, but before we go there, is there a different recommendation for an aging individual with arthritis when it comes to recovery, then there would be just for an athlete of aging? Does he or she need to consider recovery more than say an average person or a person who doesn't suffer from arthritis?

Alyssa: I think the big thing there is volume and it depends on your training volume on what you were used to. Somebody who hasn’t exercised for a couple of years and wants to get back into it. Recovery is a huge part, cause even sometimes if you don't have pain during or stiffness during you have some afterwards.

And so sometimes your joints can react adversely afterwards. And so obviously if that's the case, then we change the training volume and try to figure out what your threshold is. And each person's threshold is going to be different. And so if you are starting out lifting weights and things like that, you may need a day to recover. And as we get older, it takes us a little bit longer to recover whether we have arthritis or not. And it also depends on your training intensity too. I have some people alternate days of higher intensity, lower intensity, higher intensity, lower intensity, or we just work out for 10 to 15 minutes.

And that is a manageable thing for them to continue to do. So like any fitness program or anything, it is very, very modifiable to you and how you respond. But one of the biggest things is protein. As we get older and touching back to the diet thing, protein helps with recovery, but we tend to decrease our protein as we get older.

And so that is a one big thing that I find almost 9 out of 10 people I see aren't getting enough protein, and that's obviously going to impact your recovery. If you're not able to repair those muscles that you're now breaking down, you’re not going to improve strength. So that's a big thing with recovery, but it's all just about how your body responds.

People can work out every day and have no issue, but they might be doing a little bit lower impact or a little bit lighter strength training to start. And then it's all kind of dependent on what you feel you need.

Kevin: That's a good point you made about the protein. I think that that is something that surprises a lot of people. When you ask people for the first time to say, track their macros and they look and see how much protein they’re eating, especially us older individuals, we're not synthesizing protein the same way we did when we were younger.

And it turns out we're not nutrient sensing protein the same way we did when we were younger. And so we need more, not less protein, especially if we're active and trying to build and maintain muscle, which is critical as we age, whether you have arthritis or not. It was Dr. Gabriel Lyon who describes muscle as the organ of longevity.

And so that's certainly another nutritional piece that we can take away, is that we want to reduce our processed foods and certainly increase that protein. All right. Well, we talked about adventure, you've mentioned that several times here. The name of your company is Keep the Adventure Alive. Is that right?

Alyssa: Yes.

Kevin: Well, let's talk about that. You're obviously reaching out to people with osteoarthritis. What's the adventure in keeping the adventure alive?

Alyssa: Because people with arthritis are discouraged to adventure and that tends to just tear me apart. We moved to Utah about a year ago from the Midwest and there's lots of adventure out here. And there's lots of types of adventure. Biking, skiing, hiking, you know, all kinds of different things. And there are people of all ages out there and you get a free ski pass if you're over 80 and skiing. And it's just in our society right now, that is considered extraordinary.

If you're still doing that, it's like, wow. Even if you can still squat at a fairly decent depth. Wow. I can't believe that you can still do that. It's considered extraordinary, which is so crazy to me. And so it's time to change the narrative of being able to adventure. And adventure doesn't have to be going up into the mountains. Adventure could be running on the playground with your grandkids or something like that. It's very, very personable to you. But if you do a Google search of older people with arthritis or older people, osteoarthritis, you see walkers and canes.

People are rarely ever alone because they can't maybe do anything on their own. And so that's where it stems from, is we have to start to change this narrative. You don't see any skiers or hikers or bikers when you are older.

And that is just how our society's ingrained, it's just considered extraordinary to be doing normal physical activity as you get older, right? I want to show people that adventure is possible because instead of this long list of things that you can't do - no high-impact, no blah, blah, blah, just ski or just bike and swim low-impact things is what you can do for the rest of your life. No, there are people that can get back to jumping with their kids. There are people that can get back to running and doing all of these active things, but that's not necessarily something that we're told we can do, or I have a lot of people that are just fearful of movement in general, and it's getting back to actually doing whatever adventure makes you happy. But knowing that it's possible and knowing that there's hope for that kind of stuff can be extremely powerful. Especially if you're told that you have a diagnosis that quite frankly doesn't have a cure.

Kevin: That's a great point. I think our culture in general has this expectation of aging people. We're just slowing down and we're becoming weaker and we're not being very active. But you and I are both trying to change that narrative. Right? And we say, no, no, no, it doesn't have to be that way.

And specifically for somebody who's had a scary diagnosis, for somebody like you to bring awareness to this and say, well wait. Yes it's scary. And yes, you have some certain limitations and there's some discomfort associated with that, but that doesn't mean that your life is over or that adventure is over for you. However you define adventure. And I've seen you on your website with your shirt that says adventure has no age limit, which is a fantastic message. So it's really bringing that awareness and that hope to people, To say, hey, this is possible. And these people are doing it and joining your tribe.

Alyssa: Yeah, I mean, hope is a really powerful thing. Whether you have arthritis or not. I mean, as you get older, again, it kind of follows that same narrative. But there's hope to still be doing the things that you don't just automatically have to give up things just because you’re older. I think it's becoming more mainstream now with social media outlets and things like that, like Train With Joan who's 70 plus and lifting weights and things like, oh, maybe I could do that sort of thing. So I think that that's been really positive, but hope is a very powerful thing.

Kevin: Yes, it certainly is. Okay. Well, I know you've also written a book. It's Move Well Age Well: How to Rock the Later Years with Fitness and Mindset. Is that book an arthritis book or is that more, hey, as you're getting older, this is how you rock your later years?

Alyssa: It is kind of just more general. There is a chapter on arthritis. It's fairly common. But it’s a general quick read to get some motivation. And I always tell people that even if you do get a copy and read it to then pass it onto somebody else, because it is a quick read, just gives some general type tips on strength training, and balance and all kinds of stuff.

But it's meant to light your fire a little bit, especially if you’re someone who's maybe not super motivated to get going, or maybe just needs a little bit of help, whether it's your parents, grandparents, or just neighbors, anyone who just needs a little bit of a push. It's more towards healthy aging type things, more of an empowering, like here's how you get started.

Kevin: And so that leads me nicely into my next question, because I think that it can be intimidating - especially for older adults - to start a fitness journey. And I hadn't really thought about it before our discussion here, but it could be doubly intimidating if you're dealing with pain.

If you're dealing with a scary diagnosis from your doctor, hey, you've got some cartilage degeneration or some bone on bone. And those are scary things to hear. What advice do you have for say that woman in her sixties, who's hearing this and maybe doesn't have a background in fitness. How does she get started on this journey of reclaiming some of this adventure we're talking about?

Alyssa: I would 110% invest in somebody that can help you at least to get started because there are so many people that try to do it on their own and enf up wasting their time, trying to find all of these different things. Or maybe you try exercise, you try some programs that work for a friend and it ended up flaring up your pain.

A lot of people then tend to say, oh, you know what, exercise just isn't for me, and give it up globally. And then get into this pattern of inactivity. It is 100% worth it to even invest in just a couple of sessions, just to get some guidance from a health care professional, one you trust and that actually understands and listens to what you want.

So it's not just you go through this cookie cutter format or try this general thing. It's you want to run instead of saying, oh, you know, I don't know if running's going to be possible for you. It's okay. We are going to do our very best to get you there. And so finding somebody - whether it's a physical therapist or a trainers – but somebody that you trust.

That is going to help you get closer to your goals and not lump you into this low level arthritis group that know you can actually do these things and you can actually strength train. So that is very, very important instead of just trying to figure it out on your own. It saves so much time and the longer you wait and the longer that you're trying to figure this out, the pain may be getting worse and you could be getting into having limited mobility and it just makes it a little bit harder. So the quicker you get started and the quicker you get on the right path, the better. So I would find someone that you trust and that can get you closer to those goals.

Kevin: And now, would it be important for somebody with an arthritis diagnosis to maybe look for somebody who has experience with that population? Because it seems to me that if you've walked into a globo-gym and there's trainers there, that those folks may or may not be able to have an adequate prescription for fitness and wellness for these folks. Would it be more important for that population to seek somebody who's got a specific arthritis background?

Alyssa: I 100% agree. I mean, think about when you're going to a doctor. If you have problems with your heart, would you feel much more confident going to a cardiologist or just a general practitioner?

You can also use the trust of people have a therapist or a trainer and they did really well for me. Maybe you should try them. So word of mouth I think is a big part too. But I think any sort of person that you can find that has more of a specialty, like I have honed in on arthritis. I exclusively see people with arthritis. And so that can be helpful finding patterns and finding things that work and things that don't work. And it can help you just get a clear path. I'm always reading research and things. When you're a generalist, then you don't necessarily have time to kind of dive deep into different things.

It can absolutely be helpful if you find someone who at least, I think dealing even just with an aging population in general can help. Just because sometimes people try to start way too fast or they don't really know how to modify things. And so if you're getting that vibe, then there are people out there that can absolutely help.

Kevin: That's great. And I agree wholeheartedly. I think that puts you in a special population. If you're aging, you're already in a special population, but certainly if you're aging and dealing with something like osteoarthritis, then you're definitely in a special population and you probably should find somebody who has some experience there. So speaking of that, if somebody is listening to this now and they would like to reach out to you, can they work with you?

Alyssa: Yeah, absolutely. I am everywhere on social media. And even just on my website, you can just book a free 15 minute phone call, where we just chat about your situation and find the best path for you. It's just www.keeptheadventurealive.com. You can also find me on YouTube. If you do want to learn a little bit more and get started, you can search arthritis, adventure, or you can search Dr. Alyssa Kuhn and my channel will pop up. And that's a good place to start to get some more background information and see what things are possible. I'm on Instagram, I'm on Facebook. I've everywhere. If you just type in keep the adventure alive, you'll probably find me somewhere.

But yes, I do offer those free consultations. You can message me, you can reach out on any of those platforms, and we can absolutely get started.

Kevin: Okay, and I can drop all that into the show notes so folks can find all that there as well. And so Alyssa what's next for you? What's on the horizon?

Alyssa: I am in the process of developing my online course because I am currently working with people here locally in Utah, but it's so much more of a national problem. And so many more people need help than just in my little 10-mile radius. And so I'm developing the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint, which is available now.

And I'm putting some people in that program even that are bone on bone, that really think that they cannot get better. That is actually working, and people are actually finding relief and finding hope and confidence again. And so it's really working on spreading that message, which is my next big push towards, instead of just locally here, we're going to expand nationally and even internationally, I have people that are joining me from Australia, the Philippines.

I mean, it's everywhere, but it's just changing that narrative and working every single day to try to get this in the hands of more people and to spread the hope and optimism.

Kevin: Great. So that blueprint offering, would that have a community aspect to it as well?

Alyssa: Absolutely! I have a Facebook group

Kevin: Okay, great. Talk a little bit about that. Cause I think that's important if somebody may be feeling isolated or hearing this message for the first time, how do they connect with other people who are a little further along the way?

Alyssa: I have a free Facebook group. You can find that on my Instagram, it's just keeping your osteoarthritis adventure alive. So if you just type in keep the adventure live, I'm sure you'll see it or find me on Facebook and you'll see a link.

But yeah, there's almost a thousand people in that group, and this group is not a negativity group, like post all your pains, post all your woes. It's motivating and empowering. That's what the community aspect is that we're trying to bring in, it's not being negative. I think there's a lot of negativity out there in some of these larger groups. And so it's a much more positive atmosphere.

Kevin: Okay. And again, I'll drop all of that into the show notes. So folks that want to connect with Alyssa can go there and certainly would encourage you to check that out. She's got a very large and active YouTube channel. I'll put that in there and as well as her website. You can find all of that over at www.silveredgefitness.com/episode75.

Alyssa, I want to thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your time and your wisdom with us. I think what you're doing is fantastic. That you're reaching out to this particular population, and I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.

Alyssa: I appreciate that so much. Thank you.

Kevin: OK folks, that’s our show for this week, I hope you enjoyed today’s conversation as much as I did.  As we wrap up today’s show I have a favor to ask.  Would you share this episode with someone who either suffers arthritis, or has a family member that does?  Alyssa’s message and is so fresh and filled with so much hope, let’s try and spread this inspiration to those that need it!  Now statistics tell us that only 15% of people over 55 listen to podcasts, so the easiest way to share this episode is send them the link to this show and they can listen right there on the website.  The link is www.silveredgefitness.com/episode75.  There you’ll also find all the links to the resources we discussed in this episode and you can continue the conversation over there as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on today’s show.  As we wrap up our time together today, you can always show your support for this show by giving this podcast a five star review on whatever platform you listen to podcasts on, and be sure to subscribe and follow so you don’t miss any future episodes.  I really appreciate you spending your time with me today, and until next time, stay strong.