Your generation deserves to be physically able to do what you want and like to do. You deserve to be challenged so you can live life on your terms as long as possible. It is not an anomaly for baby boomers in San Diego and other generations to be strong, resilient and active while enjoying their retirement or enjoying work. There are four areas that you should be investing your time in when practicing better movement: Strength, Balance, Mobility & Cardio.
In a podcast, I heard recently Dr. Jonathon Sullivan spoke to the necessity of strength training of older adults. Nothing rings true more than this:
“The loss of muscle mass in aging adults is nothing short of a health catastrophe…”
If you are not strong enough to get out of a chair, pick things up, move yourself and other things it can drastically affect your quality of life. Sometimes individuals tell me that they don’t want to get “too muscular.” You need that muscle. It is important to continue or start training now to be stronger. It is never too late to do some form of strength training.
It can be intimidating walking into a gym. You may not know how to use the equipment. It can be a scene of loud noises, egos and so much going on. Most gyms will provide an introductory tour and show you how to use the equipment. That may not be enough. Perhaps it is better for you to work with a qualified professional to show you not only how to use the equipment but also what you can do without machines to increase your strength.
Wherever or however you choose to work in maintaining or improving your strength – using age as your excuse as to what you cannot do will not get you stronger. Often strength training can help you reduce pain, improve movement and indeed confidence. Do you need proof?
The deadlift may have a special name..but you do a version of deadlift every time you pick things up off of the floor. It is a full body movement. You don’t need to be a powerlifter to do some form of this so you can continue using your legs and posterior muscles to move.
I use the example of a program running in the background when it comes to balance. When everything is going well we don’t really think about balance. But when our balance begins to erode it can take actual concentration to ensure that you don’t fall over. Regardless if you think your balance is good or not – challenging it and practicing better balance is important to better movement in life.
Generally, when we think about balance training it is standing on one foot and balancing. Sure that is a good way to perform balance training. You need to start where you are and if that is very difficult then practice it, and be mindful of your posture at the same time. At the same time, consider that movement is part of everyday life. When you are moving you are using your balance. Often balance is part of a complex movement.
Want to see an example of such a complex movement?
I challenge you to fight that initial reaction you may have that you cannot do this. This and most if not all exercises can be broken down into steps…then once someone is ready they can begin to link them together. I don’t downplay that this movement is challenging…there are so many more things in play here than just balance: single leg strength, coordination, core stability, body awareness…. That is everyday life activity!
The statistics for falls is staggering. Click here to check out the stats on the National Council on Aging website. Balance training is one of the pieces of the puzzle to help reduce chances of falls!
What the heck does mobility mean?
In the words of Pete McCall in his article in ACE Fitness online magazine he describes joint mobility as something that:
“…relies upon a constantly changing axis of rotation. The muscle, fascia and elastic connective tissue surrounding a joint function to create movement and provide the stability responsible for controlling joint position while it is in motion. Optimal mobility allows a joint to experience full, unrestricted motion while controlling the constantly moving axis of rotation.”
Let’s back up a bit and make sure you understand the knowledge that he is sharing. I will put it in plain words, your optimal movement is when you can move your joints in a path and way that is natural and optimal for your body. This includes things like being able to raise both hands above your head or hip movement that allows you to comfortably walk, run or move without having to compensate how you move elsewhere.
Often I have found it useful for individuals to do some movement in different directions to help improve mobility. It does not need to be groundbreaking, but it can help you reconnect with your body. This is something that everyone, including myself, needs to do more of. If you make time to exercise in its various forms…making time for mobility work is imperative.
Take a look at some of Ruth’s movements below.
I put this here because you may be expecting or looking for it. Perhaps you do cardio. Walking, treadmill work or hiking. This can be a good way to get outside. This is a great way to relieve stress and get some vitamin D. There are many benefits to cardiovascular training, check out this great article here.
My advice is this. Don’t feel as if you need to become a runner. If you are walking, hiking or running mix things up. I have heard comments on the fact that someone is walking so many minutes a day and is not really seeing any results. Obviously, there are other factors in play..but what is your walk, hike or run like? Change up your intensity, add some incline, or start timing it to see how far you can get in a certain amount of time. Volume – aka the amount of time you are walking or distance is not the holy grail.
Above all, I encourage you do get your cardio in. However, start at the top of the list! Get stronger. There are is a substantial cardiovascular benefit to strength training. Check this article out.
Wrapping it up…
This is not an exhaustive list of what you should be doing to improve your quality of life. That would be too overwhelming! 🙂 Being physically active and incorporating strength training, working on your mobility, challenging your balance will lead you on a good path to continue to be able to live life on your terms. In San Diego and elsewhere, I challenge you to invest the time in various forms of movement!
Lastly – if this all sounds interesting to you… Click here to learn about and sign up for the: Baby Boomers Better Movement Workshop here in San Diego!!