Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Uh oh, but the two biggest trends don’t bode well for midlifers.
We baby boomers are the first generation to grow up with exercise as part of our post high school curriculum. Our parents did not transition from youth to adulthood expecting to work out the rest of their lives. (I’m talking national averages here as I don’t know YOUR parents, of course). With our years of continuous movement comes a toll: aches and pains — yes, I did teach up to 20 high impact classes per week back when I was young and immortal.
In Implementing Anti-Aging Solutions Into Fitness, session leader, Sue Hitzmann asked participants “who suffers from chronic pains that limit your life?” Out of 200 fitness pros, at least 195 of them raised their hands, myself included. And that’s a group that knows how to move with good form and body awareness. Youch and ouch! Apparently this high percentage of injury sufferers is the new norm, especially for the over 50 crowd.
You can believe that the companies at the IDEA trade show know this, as there were a lot of booths devoted to pain relief. Whether via creams, programs, massages, electrical stimulation, rollers, supplements, or mind/body techniques, the services and products addressing pain were in dramatic ascendancy! So you could say this is a good trend, insofar as solutions are out there. (Yes, I searched for the magic wand for better knee joints, but heard it was on aisle 245 ¾, which I never found.)
As Alexandra alluded to in her post, about feeling invisible as she ages hard core is in! “Go Hard or Go Home” is the new mantra. Oooommm, OMG! If you want me to do high impact moves, you’d better be ready to wipe up more than my sweat. (insert incontinence ad here). Back in the 80s and 90s, a common excuse for avoiding the gym was “I have to get in shape before I can head to the gym.” We have come so far since then. Let’s not return, but look ahead at how much tailored movement can help our midlife bodies and minds. Much as I’d love to go back to the future and bring back my younger body all gift wrapped and shiny, it ain’t a gonna happen. I love to work with purpose and to sweat puddles and oodles (I think those words combine to make sweaty poodles: Rough Ruff are you Tough Enough??!) But if you look again at Trend #1, workouts based on More, Harder, Faster, Louder, Sharper, Barfier actually hurt.
Ya feel me? Fortunately fitness professionals are creative and dedicated. They (maybe my sis and I??) will find more solutions for baby boomers who want to move energetically, work out intently, and age actively. We know it’s possible to do so while increasing body comfort, not adding to our dis-ease . Gravity has its benefits, just not on my joints and face. Am I right? Don’t drop down and give me 100. Stay up! Do what you enjoy and can sustain for your enlivened future!
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Readers: What is your least favorite or most painful exercise? What trend(s) do you see in the fitness industry? What crazy move do you want to try?