Regardless of where we are in our life journey, our level of physical fitness plays a key role in the quality of our experience. Like all living creatures, during the course of our lifetime we experience a wide range of fitness, from being strong and able to being weak and unstable. What separates us as humans is that we have some measure of control over how fit we are. And we can proactively improve our fitness at any stage of our lives.
The human body is meant to move and best is to move with strength and agility. As children we are all blessed with natural strength and flexibility; we quickly learn the few diverse movements that are so uniquely human – rotation, level changes (squatting and lunging), pushing and pulling and locomotion (walking and/or running with stability).
Before long the physical challenges of life happen, the wear and tear of sports, childbirth, accidents, injuries, and disease – life takes its toll on each of us. And on top of it many of us contribute to this toll by neglecting our fitness needs and leading overly sedentary lives. So for many of us our “path to fitness” winds up looking more like this:
For most people maintaining physical strength is a challenging aspect of sustaining overall fitness. We lose muscle mass through atrophy every year of our adult lives unless we counter the atrophy through strength training. So even if you maintain your body weight year to year you are still getting fatter every year unless you strength train!
The good news is the research is clear – you can improve your strength at any age. Seniors in their 80’s and 90’s who participate in proper strength training exercises can achieve significant strength gains. And the additional benefits to being stronger are extraordinary: arthritis pain relief, improved memory, improved balance and stability, increased bone density, reduced risk of heart disease, improved sleep, improved blood sugar regulation and more.
The challenge is very few people have an understanding of how to strength train properly. Health clubs have survived for years on the false assumption that members can strength train on their own to create lean, strong bodies. The reality is 95% of those members end up bored and intimidated by the machines and gravitate to what they find manageable – treadmills and bikes and maybe that dance class. And while aerobic exercise has many excellent health benefits – it does not make your muscles strong.
Hiring a competent trainer, even for a limited time, is the solution for most people. Having your own trainer is an unparalleled experience – but a great trainer can also design a personalized workout and train you to work out on your own, in your own home, with inexpensive training toys that will allow you to get stronger and maintain strength throughout your life.