We all live our lives differently. However, the one thing we have in common is the drive to live our lives with not much restriction. Not being able to do what we want to do, like to do or need to do can affect our lives is substantial ways. Outside forces are one thing, but when it comes to our bodies it can affect our independence. Traditional exercise even with its benefits is not a complete enough physical experience for mature adults and seniors. You deserve more.
If balance, mobility or a good range of motion are hindering everyday life and fun activities such as golf it can be life changing. You want to be able to take that vacation abroad, sign up for that hike and above all do what you want to do – when you want to do it! At its core – these are the outcomes that you seek which fall in the like, need & want categories that Dr. Cody Sipe, Co-Founder of the Functional Aging Institute describes. Put simply – what do you like to do, what do need to do and what do you want to do?
As our population ages, it is no secret that age is nothing but a number these days. Working professionals and retirees such as my parents are active, busy and involved in their community. Sometimes I am lucky if I can get them on the phone! The reason that they are as active as they are is because of the results of being physically active in ways that allow them to make everyday life an independent experience. They are able to do their likes, needs and wants independently and easier.
Why traditional exercise is not enough for mature adults
While you may want to grind out a workout like your 20-year old self, you don’t care to be limping around at work the next day. Also moving in the only dimension that machines restrict you to is not reflective of your every-day life. Mature adults should not only be striving to be stronger but also to move in all directions better. Their likes, needs and wants don’t fall into one category of strength or conditioning. You are not necessarily attracted to aesthetics as you are the outcomes of being active and the freedom of being able to do what you desire to do.
Priorities may change in regards to your health and your life. Buzzwords like strength or fat loss may be on your list but the words that may more appeal to the mature client are what you like to do, want to do, and need to do. For instance, mature adults may want to accomplish exciting physical challenges like climbing mountains, challenging hikes or Triathlons. Or because of a fear of heart disease you want to lose weight to stay healthy – not specifically to fit better in your clothes.
Especially at this point in mature adults lives training for three-dimensional movement is pertinent. Re-setting, refining and correcting the grooves of movements of bending, lunging reaching or moving in different directions with weight is often left by the wayside for mature adults. We do not live in a one-dimensional world if we train as such as we age our range of movement and mobility suffers among other things. You deserve a training program that allows you to live your life with a positive view of aging.
Why traditional exercise will not fully improve or maintain independent lives of seniors
Often in traditional exercise, the assumption about the abilities of seniors sets the foundation. Plain and simple – you are fragile and should be handled with care. You should sit down doing most if not all of your exercises. Assumptions about any client before getting to know them is a disservice without a doubt. When it comes to seniors this restriction will not help you do what you want to do. This only holds you back and does not continue or improve a healthy way of life.
A training program should not reflect your age – it should reflect your abilities. It will meet you where you are and over time will change as you progress. The program should challenge you over time after you have set a good foundation of the step you are on. The program may regress – to help you even more. In time, you are ready to take another step forward. A program should incorporate things like power, strength, balance, and agility.
The risks of falling can be the elephant in the room with an aging population. The factors contributing to falls are 1. Balance and mobility problems 2. Medical conditions and medications 3. Vision and 4. Environmental hazards. According to the Fall Prevention Task Force in San Diego “In 2013, in San Diego over 17,000 older adults were treated and discharged from the Emergency Department and an additional 7,000 were hospitalized.”
Exercise can help to reduce this serious risk. However, automatically putting you in a category of doing exercises while sitting down, using machines that don’t allow you to move as you should is a disservice.
Why Functional Exercise is important to mature adults & seniors
In short – there should never be an assumption that just because we hit a certain age that our quality of life decreases and we are unable to do what we want to do. The physical functions of mature adults and seniors are more than leg presses or a workout that does not ever challenge you because you are “old.” Instead, the activity should cover the areas that the Functional Aging Institute promotes for such clients: mobility, balance, neuromuscular function, cognitive, cardio respiratory & musculoskeletal function. These areas coupled with meeting the needs likes and wants of clients provide a better foundation for mature adults and seniors to build upon and enjoy their lives however they see fit!
If this sounds like the path that you want your fitness journey to take contact me for a free consult.
Functional Aging Specialist