Thursday, October 22, 2015

Age is NOT a Factor

Do you feel like you are "too" old to start working out ? Maybe you feel like you missed out on your younger years of fitness and now you feel like you don't even know how or where to begin!??
If you feel like you don't know where to begin I have some great news for you! FITNESS is for EVERYONE ! Yes that means you too even if you haven't been exercising in a long time. You just need to focus your fitness differently than a competitive 20 something athlete. Just like you get a prescription for medication that is detailed to you, fitness is just the same way !
As one ages, there are several key aspects which need to be focused on and maintained.
I believe any strength and conditioning program for an athlete 35 and older should focus on the following. It's never to late to start to incorporate these aspects into a sustainable training program. You will start to see the progressive benefits in the immediate future and this will carry over to many years down the road, as long as a similar training program is maintained.
First step is gaining strength and power. Strong people are more productive at any age. If you go to a gym or follow a plan, there should be some type of periodized strength and power program built in. While strength gains may be harder to come by as you age, continuing to build strength as well as maintaining strength is extremely important. The stronger you are the faster you will get yourself out of a hospital bed should you ever find yourself there. The stronger you are the less likely you will hit that medic alert button because you have fallen and cannot get up.
Next is building and maintaining lean muscle mass. As you age your muscle will start to fade away.The more lean muscle mass you have the more metabolically active tissue you have, and ideally the less fat you have. The more lean muscle you carry at 40 means the more you will carry when you are 50 and 60 given you focus on staying active and eating a nutrient dense diet.
Now we learn to balance like a kid all over again. Did you notice that your balance as you age starts to go as well ? The stronger and more powerful you are the more it helps in regard to balance, however, more awareness of our bodies as they travel through time and space is important. It is important to maintain your body’s awareness of the space around it through training. This has a huge carryover in my mind, and the practice of balancing should be incorporated into all training programs for older athletes. Along with the practice of balancing, the incorporation of static holds is something which also should be utilized, as it engages and strengthens the stabilizing muscles of joints, as well as strengthens the connective tissue in our joints. The practice of balancing while walking on a beam or a fallen tree, being upside down, getting up from the floor using our hands as well as not using our hands, holding ourselves in a plank, etc, all has tremendous potential to decrease injury, as well as increase longevity in any training program.
Mobility, mobility, mobility!! This is a big one for everyone to understand and really follow! Mobilization of the joints which are meant to be mobile through their full ranges of motion is important as it helps prevent injury, from which recovery from takes longer the older you are. Making sure that the joints which are supposed to maintain stability do so, also is important to prevent injury, and static holds are useful for this. Making sure there are no muscle imbalances between left and right side. Incorporating unilateral exercises into any training program to address and prevent muscle imbalance is also an important piece of your training program.
So after reading all of this, you can see how important it is for you to have a base line of health and fitness. You will be more productive in your older years and who doesn't want to be around to enjoy their quality of life instead of being ill because you were "too afraid" of working out ?
Need advice? Always ask how to get started and if you are local in FWB, come by Fitness Heroics CrossFit and I will personally create a plan for you to take your fitness to the next level at any age !

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