Gina* came referred to us by our dear friend Chiropractor Dr. Marty Skopp. He sent her with a prescription for core work, particularly pelvic floor strengthening. Jill has been a client for six years. She participated in one-on-one training as well as classes. Classes became more and more frustrating and frankly nerve-racking since she felt like she wasn’t able to complete many of the movements with confidence. Last, Claire has been a client for eight years. Claire takes her health and fitness more seriously than most. Her diet, her exercise program, and her facility to learn about the mechanics of movement would blow you away.
All three work outside the home. Yet all three are committed to this session more than most other events on their calendar.
Last June, the three of them started our 55 and over small group series. Denise has led this trio of smart, strong, and willing women to an appreciation of how they are in charge of their own bodies, and that their own strength comes from within.
And, due to their insistence and the success of their strength, balance, and mobility confidence, we are adding another: 11am Mondays starting September 12th.
The key to fitness after age 55 is the motivation and discipline, says Tony Horton of P90X fame. He agrees it is an opportune time to put fitness on the top of your priority list. This issue, Horton says, is “sustaining the motivation and discipline” to stick to your plan.
According to Crossfit, “…the evidence we’ve gleaned in the last few years indicates that strength training is over all, a bedrock foundation of health and wellness. ESPECIALLY as we get older.”
Last, my most favorite fitness and food guru Mark Sisson says, “The trick to later fitness is, ultimately, to be smart about it. A pesky injury can put you out of commission for weeks or months (instead of hours or days in the testosterone-/estrogen-fueled prime of youth). No matter how old or young you are, proper form and technique are one key to avoiding injury.”
Need I say more?
We as Americans have come a long way when it comes to understanding the benefits of exercise at all ages, especially over 50 years young. Research is abundant. Exercise helps prevent disease: physical and psychological.
According to the National Institute for Health’s National Institute on Aging, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing some diseases and disabilities that come as people grow older. The NIH Institute says, “In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking.”
The number one cause of injury among the elderly is falling. Not only not knowing “how” to fall, but also lacking the strength and balance to withstand, or better yet, prevent one. Not knowing how to get up from a fall is often disastrous and fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us one out of three older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor.
How about this to get your attention: “Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Furthermore, many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear can cause a person to curtail their everyday activities — purely out of fear. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling. In a study completed at the Clinical Nutrition Program of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, subjects who reported a fear of falling had a decrease in mobility level.
Sadly, this study found women much worse off than men. Women were more likely than men to report fear of falling (74 percent vs 26 percent). Fallers who were afraid of falling again had significantly more balance (31.9 percent vs 12.8 percent) and gait disorders (31.9 percent vs 7.4 percent). Additionally, gait abnormalities and poor self-perception of physical health, cognitive status, and economic resources were significantly associated with fear of falling.
At Fitness on the Run, we decided to hit this fear not only “head on” but “core, glute, and mobility on.” Claire suggested we start a small exercise group that is solely focused on balance, mobility, core and glute strength, and form.
One year later, do these women ever miss? Nope. More than 90 percent of the sessions, all three of them are there ready and working to ensure their longevity is met with strength, confidence and ease.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of these amazing trailblazing women.