Ask Me Anything (AMA): Healthy Aging and Pain-Free Activity with Dr. Leada Malek, PT, DPT

Published on ‎10-14-2021 12:48 AM by Guide

How do we stay our healthiest as we age? Learn about what happens throughout the body as we age and and what is recommended so we can stay strong, healthy, and mobile.


Join AthletaWell Physical Therapy Guide Dr. Leada Malek in an hour-long session to answer all your questions! Take away great advice from a Physical Therapist so you can make the most out of your favorite activities and sports!



Monday, October 18

11:00 - 12:00 pm PT / 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET



In the comments below!


Ask Leada anything about aging:

- Does arthritis or degeneration automatically mean pain?

- How can I build muscle as I get older?

- What exercises are important as I age?

- Do I have to stop running if my knees start hurting?

- What is osteopenia or osteoporosis and what kinds of exercises can help with that?

- What does healthy aging look like?


How to participate:

Drop your all your comments and Q's in the comments below by 11am PT / 2pm CT on Mon. Oct 18. Leada will be back on Oct 18 to reply to all your questions on the thread during this event time!

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Mon, Oct 18, 2021 11:00 AM PDT
Mon, Oct 18, 2021 12:00 PM PDT

I started strength training at home 1.5 years ago and I've had shooting pains in my quadriceps every time I try to do squats (weighted or unweighted) and lunges.  I don't have issues with any other exercises.  I have also noticed my right leg hamstring is more underdeveloped than my left side.  Is this due to a muscle imbalance?  How can I fix this?

I'm 41yo, I have some arthritis in my hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders.

Thank you!

Hi @RWGS80! I'm so glad you asked this. Shooting pains sounds quite uncomfortable, but it makes me wonder how your hip and ankle mobility is as that may play a role in how your quads move. One of my favorite exercises to give when things are achy with actual movements are wall sits. You can keep them as high as you want or as low, but the goal is to make your quads get a little burn after holding them still. Isometric exercises are an excellent option for strength building around pain and can mitigate symptoms really well! Starting as short as 5-10 seconds but aiming for 15-30 is a good goal. As far as the hamstring, it depends. It's not uncommon for people to be dominant on one leg, so sometimes muscle imbalances get a bigger red flag waved at them that they really need. You could focus on some isolated hamstring exercises, but unless there's some nerve pain or significant weakness limiting your daily life, then I would get it assessed by a PT. Arthritis is also very common with age - all it means is just a reason to stay strong sometimes! In any case, though, getting properly assessed would be an excellent choice for you because it sounds like there are some pain points limiting your ability to exercise comfortably. Sometimes it just takes the right plan with the right kind of exercises to set things straight. It's always better to get a plan that's made just for you 🙂 

I’m 53, weigh 148, height 5’3”. I have high cholesterol and I’m a 6 year breast cancer survivor. Otherwise have no other health issues. I am a beginner, but I’m ready to start a strength building/weight loss program I can do at home. I’m not a gym person. I have a treadmill, a mat, resistance bands, and free weights. Im having a hard time finding a beginner program that’s age appropriate and one I can squeeze into a 30-40 minute time slot 4-5 days a week. I don’t know where or how to safely start. Can you help?

Hi @mom50 ! First of all, congratulations on 6 years! That is absolutely incredible! I'm thrilled to hear. I know Athletawell offers Obe classes that are a fun and quick option. I am also happy to share some tips in November for joint-friendly workout options good for beginners! Stay tuned! You can also check out my colleague Dr. Shannon Ritchey's Evlo Fitness program, she does offer a set up that might match your needs and schedule 🙂 There is definitely an option right for you and no reason you should wait another day to take advantage of it! 😊 

I am 51 5’5, 160lbs and menopausal. Currently on hormone replacement. I am having a tremendous amount of pain in both of my elbows. I joined a gym in June but find the weights are tough to lift. My pain started after I received my last Covid19 vaccine. I want to start some type of weight lifting program but the gym and heavy weights right now may not be where I begin. I am currently intermittent fasting to bring my weight down.

hi @Meaux! Thanks for sharing this. I've definitely heard of some acute pain cases after the vaccine that seem to settle after some directed attention to them. One thing important for elbow pain is grip strength, wrist/forearm strength, and shoulder/rotator cuff strength. All these players can help with the act of lifting weights. Some other options you can try are resistance bands and cable machines, but I think you would be a great candidate to work with a physical therapist for a bit as you gradually progress to heavier weights! With the proper graded exercises exposure to the muscles of the elbow and forearm, you should be at a much better place to take on the gym! Sometimes elbow pain (tennis/golfer's elbow) can be really finicky and need a plan, otherwise it can linger - definitely worth it to nip it in the bud. If you have questions on how to find the right PT for you, feel free to message me!