CrossFit training was the original “Functional Fitness” program. What does that mean? It means that what we do in the gym has a direct connection to what we do in everyday life. If we pick something up from the ground, we deadlift. If we stand up off the toilet, we squat. As we age, the exercise we need varies by degree, not kind. Why do aging adults end up in assisted-living facilities? It’s right there in the title: It comes down to not being able to get up off of the toilet. It may sound crass, but it’s a very real thing.
As We Age
More broadly, the reason aging adults go to assisted-living facilities is loss of functional independence. As adults age, basic movement becomes much more difficult. People retire, they are less active, and they have fewer reasons to get out of the house. So they sit all day, and their muscles atrophy. They lose functionality.
Ninety percent of our No Sweat Intros site longevity as a reason they want to start a fitness program. To help longevity requires us to stay active as we age. We need to find or stick to an exercise routine to preserve our independence for as long as possible—not just for our own sakes, but also so our children won’t have to take care of us (or pay someone else to).
As we age, the goal isn’t to break records, but simply keep moving. That is why our training is scalable. Not everyone can perform every movement or every lift. But, they can certainly perform modified versions of everything —and a good coach will know how to guide them. Intensity is relative for every individual, while range of motion and movement goals stay the same.
What We All Need
Strength training is also critical for aging adults because it helps prevent and reverse osteoporosis (brittle bones). Even minor slips and falls often result in broken bones in aging men and women, especially those with low bone density. Lifting “heavy” objects increases that bone density and reduces risk of injury.
Fitness appropriate for all aging adults. At Industrial Athletics, we have several 50-plus-year-old athletes. Everyone goes through private training at first to make sure they understand how to move and the current limits of their range of motion. Some stay in private training and others move on to our small group classes. The point is that they get or remain active.
We are not elite athletes. We are not going to win any competitions. We workout every day so that we can stay out of a nursing home—and so we’ll never be trapped on the toilet.
(Inspiration provided by Nikole Gessler at CrossFitRecursive.com)