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Move Better: Key Strategies to Reduce Pain, Stay Strong and Maintain an Active Lifestyle.

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Don’t stop moving!

Move...a lot
The most basic key to achieve functional longevity is human movement. We were created to move and we should be moving naturally every day. Natural movements are those things we do in order to accomplish a task or to provide enjoyment. Lifting, bending, stooping, walking, running, carrying, pushing, pulling, jumping, skipping, hopping, squatting, throwing, catching, crawling, climbing, rolling, somersaulting...these are all natural movements that we have been doing since birth.

Functional Exercise

Exercise is really just a specific type of physical activity but it is one that yields many additional benefits beyond just being physically active. Unfortunately, exercise is poorly understood by the typical adult, especially in the context of aging. Not all exercises are created equal. An exercise program designed for functional longevity looks VERY different than the kind of program the vast majority of people engage in. Most people follow programs that increase muscle size and strength which, on the surface, sounds good to combat aging since the aging process tends to reduce both.

However, research has made it pretty clear that although these types of programs unequivocally improve muscle size and strength (even in 90 or 100 year olds) they do NOT necessarily improve physical function. After reviewing the best training studies available Latham and colleagues (2004) concluded that in older adults who exercise regularly strength gains to not equate to similar functional improvements and that those who become the strongest do not necessarily become the most functional. The reason is because physical function is much more complicated than we realize and there are many other factors which contribute to it other than just how big and strong the muscles are. These factors include: motor control, coordination, muscle power, proprioception, sensory integration, balance, stability, mobility, agility and more. An exercise program designed to improve physical function should challenge most or all of these factors...something the typical exercise program that includes basic strength and cardio machines does not address.

6 Domains of Functional Aging:

Neuro-Muscular: Coordination, move faster and improve reaction time. Pickle Ball is a great activity to stimulate the Neuro-Muscular system.

Cognitive-Emotional: Memory, problem solving. Keep an active social environment. Play card games and interact with friends and family as much as possible.

Mobility: Move in ALL planes of motion! Do chair squats, wood chops with a light weight, shuffle side to side. These are the movements that maintain full range of motion in the joints and allow us to move on command without restriction.

Balance: Prevent Falls. Postural control and breathing. Challenge your balance daily to maintain stability and stimulate the nervous system.

Cardio Respiratory: Hearth health. Walking is great but may be too easy for most. Try adding hills or stairs to improve cardio health.

Strength: If you don’t use it you lose it! Stimulate muscles with strength training that includes speed and power. For instance, focus on standing up FASTER!

By integrating these 6 domains into your lifestyle, you can stay active longer and slow down the aging process. If you need help, contact your local Functional Aging Specialist at Ageless Fitness.


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