We hear a lot about Functional Fitness for seniors. What does it mean?
Most older adults don’t want to exercise for the sake of exercising. But they do want to be physically able to do the things that people should be able to do. In fitness terms, these include the basic ability to:
- Push things
- Pull things
- Lift things
- Carry things
- Bend and Twist
- Maintain balance
- “Ambulate” — move from point A to point B.
- Get up and down from the floor.
If an older adult can do those things, they can do pretty much anything that a person should be able to do. They also want to be able to do it all without breathing hard, having heart problems, or falling.
But as we age, we lose the ability to do some or all of these things. That loss of ability happens so gradually that we really don’t even realize it’s happening. Our muscles gradually get weaker. Our bones slowly become brittle. Our digestion slows down. Our joints get rusty. Our breathing becomes difficult. Our reflexes slow, and on and on until suddenly we realize that we can’t do the things we used to easily do.
We start to develop aches and pains. We feel the stiffening of the joints, maybe even become arthritic.
We catch colds and otherwise become ill more easily. We run out of breath quickly. We discover that some of our parts are wearing out and need repair or replacement.
We slow down. Our weight goes up. Often we wonder: “What happened to us?”, “How did it happen?”, and most of all we ask, “When did all this happen?”
It didn’t happen all at once. Researchers tell us our bodies start to decline in our late twenties. I’ve seen old research that suggests that our bodies begin this gradual decline as early as age 19 or 20. I doubt that is true today. Many are realizing the importance of exercise, are starting earlier, and are keeping it up longer.
Is any of this stoppable? It certainly can be. In fact, some research suggests that the aging process can even be reversed if we catch it.
You already know the answer. Exercise, proper nutrition, deep breathing, moderate sunshine and plenty of rest and sleep have all been shown to be able to slow, halt, or even reverse the aging process. Exercise strengthens the body and helps keep the mind active. Fresh air, deep breathing and sunshine add to it. So does plenty of rest and sleep.
Proper nutrition provides the fuel to make it all work.
Put together, we end up with a healthier body, a more active mind, and if we add a little mindfulness or even meditation, a peaceful soul.
A sound mind and body help fend off the ravages of aging and can help keep us filled with personal energy. When our body and mind are filled with personal energy, we have a more positive and enthusiastic outlook on life and living.
Isn’t our goal to live a long, fully functional, energy filled and enthusiastic life, free from chronic long term illness?
I’ll be writing more deeply on specific exercise techniques for older adults in future posts. I also hope to include some guest posts with discussions of the many and various nutritional theories. I hope you’ll keep on reading.
Thank you for reading today’s article.
Draft 564 wds.