Let’s face it: as we begin to age, “fall” is a loaded word.
One slip, one trip, one misstep off the curb can land us in the ER, and even the operating room, and take us out of the game for an extended period of time.
But, of course, there is the promise of that other “fall” – the good “fall”; a time of football, festive cornucopias, colorful vistas, and pumpkin pie (in moderation, of course).
As autumn arrives, many seniors are probably emerging from months of self-imposed exile. Hopefully, exercise remained a priority during this time – but there’s no doubt it was impeded in some small way as normal routines were completely upended.
Meanwhile, leading a functionally fit life has become a goalpost for many older individuals, who are beginning to focus less on studio equipment and more on exercises applicable to everyday behavior, such as hauling laundry or working in the yard.
By concentrating on the body’s three distinct planes of motion that are responsible for the various movements occurring at the joints (they’re called sagittal, frontal, and transverse, but there’s no quiz later) – functional fitness trains one’s muscles to work as a team, instead of independently.
To get back on track and embrace a functionally fit lifestyle this fall, it’s critical to focus on these seven body motions:
- Pushing: Honing your pushing muscles will build strength throughout your chest muscles, as well as your quadriceps and shoulders, and can be achieved with exercises including push-ups and overhead presses. Improving your daily life: These motions and the muscles they employ help you sit up in bed, stock items on higher shelves, and – most importantly – lift a smiling, laughing child when he or she runs to your side.
- Pulling: Pushing and pulling go hand in hand (pun intended), with the latter helping to develop proper balance while avoiding injury. Strengthen your back, biceps, and hamstrings with workouts such as pull-ups, inverted rows, and leg curls. Improving your daily life: Planning to go on a scenic drive to enjoy the seasonal colors? You’ll need to open that car door first. And those leaves are also beginning to fall. Raking them will require all your pulling prowess.
- Squat: Squatting is essential for lower body strength and stability. It is also one of the most repeated – and complex – motions we rely on during an average day. By targeting your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and core with variations such as the standard back squat and the goblet squat, squats will help you improve your balance and avoid future injury. Improving your daily life: Where to begin? How often do you squat to retrieve something off the floor throughout the day? This hip-hinging motion is integral to everything and anything from sitting down after a long day to using the bathroom. Don’t leave home without it!
- Lunge: The lunge is a relatively common component of any functional fitness regimen, but by diversifying with side lunges, reverse lunges, and more, you can improve your range of motion while building strength for daily activities that involve taking larger steps. Improving your daily life: From accepting an award to having your vehicle towed, the lunge movement helps us when we step up onto a stage or the elevated cab of a vehicle. Even the simple act of ascending a staircase implements the lunge.
- Hinge: You use the hinge motion whenever you bend over to pick something up. Like squatting, you use this motion constantly. Hinge exercises optimize your back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, and are led by variations on a deadlift. Improving your daily life: The hinge motion is required for almost every sport you play, every hobby you enjoy, and every small child you care for.
- Rotation/twist: Rotation is unlike all other ranges of motion, and, in fact, binds them all together because of the unique plane it involves. Without rotation, your body cannot function as a single entity. Enjoying a functionally fit life depends on strengthening your core, which can be achieved with standing resistance band rotation exercises, wood choppers, and more. Improving your daily life: We’re promoting a functionally fit fall, but winter is coming, and so is snow. Shoveling out the driveway is a prime example integrating rotation and twisting motions. Prefer not to think about that? How about improving your golf swing? Or scoring 40-love on your next tennis match?
- Gait: In other words, walking. This fundamental motion combines multiple movements, including pulling, lunges, and rotation. And while walking, in and of itself, is a perfect way to work out – your personal trainer can also incorporate specific exercises into your regimen to help you develop and maintain a proper gait.
So, ready to get moving? Fitness Together Ellicott City specializes in workout regimens that facilitate a functionally fit lifestyle, helping you to enjoy every beautiful fall day to the fullest.
Contact us today to learn more.