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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!