Same Yesterday as Today
I’ve been in the fitness field for 30 years now, and I have saved articles from the 1990’s that say the same thing in the 2000’s, and the same thing in the 2010’s:
- There is an obesity epidemic
- The population is aging
So, they ask us trainers, “What are you going to do about it?”
Well, exercise philosophy has not changed, however the idea of exercise as a prescription for all people has. As doctors become more savvy to the benefits of exercise, and as the media picks up on the growing science of exercise, it has become much more main-stream. (It’s always seemed like a no-brainer to me, but the medical industry apparently is a little behind.)
(And much to my JOY and THRILL, exercise as a means to a better life – not a slimmer figure – is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to science that shows just about any amount of exercise every day is beneficial and aggregates benefits as you continue.)
All Bodies Move the Same
All bodies move mostly the same. We go. We stop. We speed up. We slow down. We go up. We go down. We rotate. We push. We pull. We use varying speeds. We resist force. Balance force. Shift force. Release force. Accelerate force. Stop force. Sometimes we have to go for a long time. Sometimes we have to go hard for a short time. Backward. Forward. Sideways. Etc.
No matter your weight
You will be doing all of the above at varying intensities most days of the week.
Exercise is a great Prescription
If you want to become better at life: if you want to be able to hold things, pick up things, not fall when you move forward or sideways, resist things from falling on you, walk on the beach, it seems ridiculously advantageous to maintain an exercise program that includes training in all of the above areas of body movement.
What Your Exercise Routine Should Do
Your Biomotor abilities – those movements you do every day– basically boil down to training in a few specific areas. If your regular exercise schedule does not include all of the below, it’s time to make a change.
SPEED: Speed is measured by time. It is any movement reaction (in any direction), or series of movements measured by time. It is directly related to power (Speed Strength). Speed for an 86-year-old looks vastly different than a 26-year-old. Nevertheless, Everyone needs to plow their speed sometimes.
STRENGTH – Strength refers to a muscle’s ability to resist or apply force. I use Strength not just to describe my Max strength or my Relative Strength in terms of how much weight can I lift, I also use it as an expression to define Balance Strength, Core Strength, Endurance Strength, Power Strength, Speed Strength. Strength should be addressed relative to what is functional for you. If you are a gardener, you need endurance strength, balance strength and relative or max strength, for example.
ENDURANCE – Endurance is the ability to tolerate fatigue for time. You could train Cardio Endurance, Speed Endurance, Strength Endurance, Power Endurance. Endurance isn’t just for marathoners. A person who cannot walk to her mailbox needs to increase her endurance just as much as a teacher who can’t keep up with her 2nd –graders, or a line-man who needs to stop for rest on the way up the electrical pole.
FLEXIBILITY – Flexibility is the mobility of a joint and extensibility of soft tissue. Flexibility training should include foam rolling (myo-facial release), and other corrective exercise modes to increase functional range of motion. Flexibility needs to be addressed before exercise dynamically as “movement prep,” and after exercise as range of motion (“static”) stretching. If you are less flexible, it take much more energy to get any job done. Your range of motion is much more important for your endurance than you might think.
COORDINATION AND SKILL – Coordination and Skill are demonstrated when there is skill with simple and complex tasks. Coordination and Skill exercises are neutrally demanding exercises that require either foot work, hand-eye coordination, proprioception (special awareness), thinking/processing, speed, agility, quickness, power, etc. Cooking a meal for your family may seem like a natural ability everyone has, but the ability to process pans on a hot stove, chopping with a sharp knife, a baby on the hip, and a dachshund at the feet, requires great coordination and skill (and endurance strength).
Whether you are a new exerciser, or a seasoned one, needing to lose body fat or not, an aging athlete, a young athlete, nursing an old injury, or dealing with diabetes, your Exercise Prescription should include all facets of human movement.
In 30 years of Fitness Training, no matter the Epidemic or Aging-Trend, Human Movement has not changed, and helping people find Confidence and Empowerment with Gym-Time is exactly what I’m doing about it!