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Being Thankful for the “Little” Movements in Life


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The holidays are upon us. We are assaulted with ways to spend our money. We are encouraged to focus on the big things. I have already seen my first Christmas tree go by on the road so its that time again. Without a doubt, we are encouraged to spend more money on things that are materialistic or focus on the numbers in our life. It is those big things that we are hit on the head with for now until the end of the year.

We are always guilty of focusing on the big movements: weight, number of pounds lifted, anniversaries, new gadgets etc…

What about the little movements?

Recently I was sitting down with a gentleman during a consult prior to his 3 personal training sessions with me. He was a very interesting individual and began telling me about himself. It was great. However, I was falling into that trap of the big movements. I asked him about what kind of exercise he was doing. He talked about his swimming but then about his son and his life in Tel Aviv. I kept thinking…but what are his fitness goals and how can I help him?

He talked about the fact that years ago he was so overweight that it was a struggle to get out of a chair. He is an attorney. He would wait until his client left the courtroom to struggle to get up because it was such an ordeal. Now he has lost a substantial amount of weight between changing how much he ate and swimming. Yes, the weight aspect was about the numbers…

However how many times have you gotten out of a chair? It is usually an afterthought to many of us. Even with physical restrictions that we may have – there are little movements that we take for granted.

  • Reaching out and grasping a glass.
  • Opening a car door.
  • Turning your head to look behind you.
  • Picking up a gallon of milk.
  • Sitting down and getting out of a chair.
  • Scratching the top of our head.
  • Going for a walk.

These little movements may seem little to those of us that have little to no difficulty in doing it. These little movements can have a huge impact on our quality of life though. Those that have had to put effort and work into being able to do it…or do it again have more perspective than the rest of us.

I encourage you even on your worst day to notice the little movements. Keep on challenging yourself & allowing yourself to be challenged by others to move better in life. Simultaneously revel in those little movements that began when you woke up this morning. Ensure that those little movements continue to be an afterthought. Regardless of your age exercise in its many forms allows you to continue to do what you want to do and like to do in life.

Lastly…back to that gentleman. After I took my trainer hat off and just listened to him I saw the joy he had in his little movement today. He wanted to do some work on the recumbent bike for about 15 minutes. We talked more about his life, family and his perspective on how far he has come. In this instance, it was definitely a situation where he was doing much more for me than I for him in that session.

 

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Exercise Without Assumptions – Train For Agility


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We rarely enjoy it when individuals make assumptions about us based on our beliefs, how we look or our age. When it comes to moving better and exercise don’t let assumptions about your potential hinder you. Regardless of your age, you should be training for a physical experience – life.  I strongly believe that age should not restrict someone from moving better. You can read more about it here.

Agility

Agility is defined by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as:  “how accurately and rapidly a person can change direction; involves the stages of acceleration, stabilization, and deceleration.”

With that definition in mind, a scenario may also help hit it home as to how important agility is.

It is a sunny day in San Diego. You are walking down a sidewalk and a couple is walking the opposite way busy with an excited conversation. One of them was holding their toddler’s hand who has a stuffed animal in her hand. As you say good morning and they pass the toddler decides it a perfect time to toss the stuffed animal right in front of you.  You were walking at a comfortable pace, but stop and quickly step to the side so as not to step on the animal.  You then reach down, pick it up with one hand and quickly catch up with the parents that did not see the “offering” and hand it back to them.

Let’s break this down, in terms of agility.

  1. You had to come to an abrupt stop and simultaneously step to the side.

This is the deceleration that was mentioned in the definition. If you didn’t have the agility (and balance!) coming to an abrupt stop could end in a fall or a trip. Of course, you also had the option to step over the stuffed animal too. That would also be using agility as you would react and step over an object and clearing it so you did not trip.

There is also the simultaneous sidestep. I am sure you guessed by now this takes some coordination to be able to judge how far to move your foot over and stop at the same time once you moved. Again, balance plays an issue as stopping and moving to the side can test ones balance if it has eroded.

  1. You picked up something and simultaneously started moving in another direction.

Here you are not only moving but moving with weight in your hand. Sure, this stuffed animal may not weight much. However, it still takes stabilization to move. Why? You were in a lowered position and pivoted in another direction with the animal in your hand. You had to stabilize and move. If you did not have the agility and balance doing this simple movement could have resulted in a trip or a fall.

  1. You picked up your pace to catch the family.

Acceleration occurred at the point where you grasped the animal and moved in an opposite direction. This aspect of agility is important so you can move quickly and with confidence. It was not a slow walk, as you would not be able to overtake the family. The parents were busy talking to each other so trying to get their attention would not help. Of course, you can argue that you could have decided to keep the stuffed animal for yourself 🙂

Food for thought: How do you think the scenario would have gone if agility was a problem?

I hope that this example helped hit home the importance of agility in everyday life. We all could use some “practice” in agility. You see on TV of athletes doing agility training so they can move better on the field of play. In your life – where you move is your field of play. Click here to read my other post regarding the importance of training for balance too!

Train for agility so you can move with confidence and enjoy the quality of life that you deserve!

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How Fit Can You Be Over 50?


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This question may come to mind when fitness and healthcare professionals strongly encourage various forms of exercise. How much “in shape” or “fit” do I need to be?  Many articles and studies highlight the numerous physical, neurological and cellular benefits to exercise.

The best answer is to turn the question back on you…how fit do you need to be to carry out the physical demands of your everyday life? What can that entail?

  • Sitting down.
  • Getting up.
  • Stepping to the side and reaching for something.
  • Reaching up to get something.
  • Carrying heavy items on one side while walking.
  • Turning to see what is around you.
  • Walking up stairs or on uneven ground.
  • Conditioned enough not to be winded at the top of the stairs.
  • Clothing and bathing yourself.

The list goes on…

This physical ability to carry out everyday tasks is also called your functional capacity.

Another way of phrasing this is – what do you enjoy doing and what do you need to do physically to be able to do it? Vacations? Visiting and playing with grandkids? Hiking trips? Running marathons? Enjoying the sites at a national park? Everything that brings you joy incorporates some sort of movement, regardless if that just means walking across the floor to open the door for a family member.

To answer the question one way: You should be as fit as your life demands.

This idea means you should not structure your life around your bodies limitations especially if they include your functional capacity. Instead, you should practice, exercise, and “train” to be able to do what you want to do easier and with less thought about how your body is moving.

Another way to answer the question is: Be as fit as you can possibly be.

Striving to be fit is a lifelong journey. As we age we may have to adapt and change the ways that we do exercise, but that does not mean we stop challenging ourselves. The more you move better every day you are rewarded with independence, confidence, and peace of mind that you don’t let your age determine what you can or cannot do.

To be clear, being “fit” is more than strength (although it is important, as especially leg strength is associated with morality).

It is also the power to move quickly if necessary.

It is also the agility to be able to walk over and around objects.

It is also the balance to be able to walk, bend, carry things and do things simultaneously.

It is also the mobility and flexibility to move your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, neck, and shoulders.

It is also the ability to be able to get to the ground and stand back up.

 

You CAN be fit over 50. You deserve to live the life you want to live!

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