Functional Aging

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Fling Yourself at Life


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We all have our own story.

We all have things that we have overcome or challenges we want to overcome. You know what yours is. Whatever your story is… your body is part of that story. Your body is involved in your story. That story about your body is an emotional one. We even attach emotions to parts of our bodies like our heart. When some part of our body is not working the way we want…or not the way it used to be it can affect us.

It can be emotional.

When we were kids we moved our bodies how we wanted to without a thought. We flung ourselves at life, we threw ourselves into playing…could care less about protecting our back and we were not worried about what other people thought.

As the years pass we play less. That is a past tense. We think more about form. We are more concerned about the scale, and we have to think about when we do some sort of movement that can count as exercise. We care more about getting steps in, turning on our gagets and exercise becomes more of something we have to schedule and do…instead of something that just happens.

We blame this “have to” on jobs, kids, life, getting older or because it is too hard or intimidating. Fight your excuse(s). Instead of side stepping, give yourself the permission to care less about how and instead more about what you can do.

Your story that includes your body can include better movement. This movement does not have to be forced. Allow yourself to play. Allow yourself to dance. Allow yourself to turn off the societal norms of what you are supposed to do because of your age or gender. Allow yourself to learn how to do something new.  Discover ways to move that you look forward to doing often.

You will see that if you add more movement to your story your body and mind will reward you.

Fling yourself at life.

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The Joy of Movement


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Forget the term exercise. Forget doing a certain number of reps. Forget cardio classes or lifting weights. Forget counting calories or walking on a treadmill. Forget exercise classes, Pilates, glute bridges, personal trainers or strength training. Forget dumbbells, resistance bands or balance training. Forget toning, sculpting or planks.

I want you to instead think about how you live your life now. At this moment in time when you are going about your day are you thinking about your body? Do you have to focus to do some physical things because they are becoming difficult? Are you beginning to plan your vacations or even everyday life actives around what you cannot do or find painful?

The things in life that bring you joy involve moving your body in some way. Even if you are not moving at the time, you have to get to point A to point B to do what you want to do.  Yes, we can enjoy life in our homes or apartments…but I bet you find some joy traveling somewhere – regardless the distance.

I will even go deeper – before you step outside you will do this and more: you will get out of bed, clothe yourself, bathe yourself, pick up after yourself, open doors, pick things up, possibly drive, get in and out of the car…the list goes on. You have to move to prepare to do the things that bring you joy.

This is where moving better can improve your daily life. There is a vast sea of many ways to improve the way you move every day. The list is as thick as a phone book. Think about how athletes prepare for their events. When you watch or hear about Olympic athletes you hear and learn about their physical struggles and mental struggles that got them to the Olympics. Even if you are not much of a sports fan you probably have an idea of what cross training means.

Why should you approach how you move any differently?

You may say that you are not an athlete, and have no desire to compete in the Olympics. Sure, you may not have any interest. However, we all have an event that we should be training for. Life is a physical event. Life entails movement. Our ancestor’s way before cell phones, cars, buildings and the civilization we know now had to move literally to live. These hunter-gatherers had to run, jump, squat, sprint and more to stay alive. These days we can pick up the phone to get many things…but putting on your clothes, feeding yourself and going about your day still entails movement. Our bodies are meant to move, get stronger, and stay active. We have to have the conditioning to walk upstairs, to do multiple squats, to lift and carry things too.

Approach life as your event. Age is not an indicator or measurement of when one should stop moving. Approach your event with the desire to move better. Even if you have chronic pain, disease or disability you can still strive to move better within your restriction so your everyday life is more enjoyable and reduce the chance of injury or falls.

If you are reading this and don’t have to think about your body during your day…good. What are you doing to make sure that this continues? What are you doing to sustain this? Are you doing more than just standing and lifting weights or walking on the treadmill? Are you thinking that any form of movement that you “have to do” won’t be fun or enjoyable? Step away from that thought and change your mindset – you can practice moving better in a way that will challenge you but won’t be a process that you dread.

Wherever you find yourself in this range of movement – I challenge you to train for the life that you want to live. Seek out those that want to help you on your journey. As a Functional Aging Specialist, I am qualified to help those in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s and up train for the life that they want to live.

Hold on to that joy and don’t give up on it.

Don’t change your life around your inability to continue doing things you enjoy doing. Move better every day so you can continue finding your joy and creating more moments to reminisce about.

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Maintain or Improve Your Functional Capacity


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Take a moment and take an honest look at your health and ability to move well. This doesn’t just mean being able to lift, shoulder press or leg press an impressive amount of weight. Moving well includes being able to sit down and stand up without having to rock or use the arm rests. This also includes the balance, strength, and power to climb stairs. Even if you may have restrictions because of issues like chronic disease or arthritis you can still strive to improve your quality of life and move well within those restrictions.

Challenge yourself – if you are moving well right now what are you doing to make sure that as you age that does not change? If you are not moving well right now what are you doing to improve your physical ability?

Take a look at the below graphic. It is a simple and straightforward way of thinking about aging well. To explain what a functional capacity means – think about your daily life. Think about those daily activities that you need perform every day. These activities include what you need to do to maintain your health and well-being.  This capacity includes being able to go to the bathroom to pick up an object off the floor.

functionalcapacitygraph.JPG

I also challenge you to also include the things that you want and like to do. That capacity includes being able to get in and out of a sailing boat, competing in a triathlon or getting on the ground to play with the grandkids. What do you want and like to do? What do you have to improve so you can do those wants and likes easier or with less discomfort?

Maintaining your independence involves having that functional capacity. Maintaining your quality of life involves being able to move how your life demands. Introducing more or different ways of exercising will not only help you physically but also mentally and neurologically. Stay “in the green” and on the right path of a good functional capacity for your life!