Is it time to make your workouts even better, beloved baby boomers? Then get your insider insights right here. Step right up. Literally.
Who likes to be out in front? And I’m not talking cleavage or bellies here. If you’re ready to take advantage of the latest findings in the fitness world, then hang onto your stretchy legging waistbands. Let’s zip together through some of the key highlights, workout tips, and quotes from the recent IDEA World Fitness Convention.
Take on some of these takeaways to enter the next year even more prepared to redefine active aging for our generation and the generations to come.
Alexandra and I just returned from this primary industry event for fitness professionals from around the world. In her capacity as a roving editor for IDEA, Alexandra attended a range of sessions. (See her reports here: 5 Trends from the IDEA Fitness Convention and Diversity and Collaboration Mark Key Themes). I had the honor to be both a presenter and attendee, with my keen eyes focused on sessions specifically for the over fifty crowd. (Add these other key midlife workout themes to your life and really soar).
Let’s jump to the head of class with a romp through some trends from the industry’s leaders.
From “Functional Power Training for Older Adults” led by Cody Sipe, PhD
Cody’s opening statement motivated me (as an over 50 personage myself): “Exercise has the ability to change older adults’ aging trajectory.” Knew it, but can always use the kick in the formerly tight, toned tushie of mine. Raise your hand if you want to disrupt your aging trajectory.
What do we need to add to our workouts? First, Cody asked us if we knew the two main conditions experienced by older adults? Turns out the top two are hypertension and osteoarthritis. Oh yeah, I hear you Cody My Man. (Say I with the knee arthritis and sister who just had total knee replacement). Ok, so we have to account for these conditions while working to prevent them from limiting our lives.
Next he posed the question: “Without training specifically to prevent it, which function do we lose with age more than muscular strength and muscle mass?” The answer surprised me as I know the (not so happy) stats on muscles loss in our aging population. You ready for it? Power, defined as the ability to move a load quickly. In addition to training for strength, we midlifers also need to focus on velocity and force of movement. In other words, it’s time to increase speed of motion while reducing the load when we consider a total resistance training right for our bodies. According to Cody, we’re past time if we pass our prime without power (Uh, I made up that exact wording as I kinda like how it encapsulates Cody’s point).
Let’s put this into practical application and context of our daily activities:
What’s the workout takeaway here? You finally get the official clearance to lift light weights — as long as you add speed to those moves! Therefore, it’s time to do some lifts, jumps, and throws my midlife buddies if you want to retain power and change your aging trajectory!
Using Function to Avoid Dysfunction, presented by Mark Kelly, PhD, CSCS
Mark is the living example of how lean, fit, funny, energetic, and functional an over 50 year old can be. I was so busy taking notes that I took no picture of him. However, take my word for it that he turned his aging trajectory around big time!
Not only was his session loaded with great moves to improve function, but also he had some great quotes relative to movement that you may also enjoy.
If you want to try out some of the clever, fun, brain and body smart moves Mark introduced, then join my group fitness classes in Santa Barbara. Come on Fridays when I try out the good stuff on my fit-tastic and amazing class participants. They’re the ones saying “warn us next time you go to the IDEA Convention.”
Let’s leave Mark’s session with the question he opened with:
“Are we living longer or simply dying slower?”
In a separate post, you’ll get the the direct pipeline to more happiness, less stress, and a more self-loving you, courtesy of award-winning presenter, Petra Kolber. Her session “Heavily Meditated and Highly Motivated” had a lot of quick, easy, powerful meditations I am eager to share with you. Meditation is a HUGE option and one of the biggest fitness trends for boomers as more research comes out about its benefits. For now, let’s take our leave with a reminder from Petra that I hope will have you adding power to your active life:
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How many times have you thought, “I want to improve my fitness program, but NOT the hard core one I did when I was younger?” As a baby boomer or older adult are you looking for intelligent, effective, yet comfortable exercise options? Do you worry about losing cognitive skills, getting hurt, gaining weight, losing strength, and not being able to do activities you love? At the same time, do you like to know that your workout and exercise choices are smart ones? Perhaps even cutting edge and trending?
Then the themes and trends I experienced (and contributed to) at the recent IDEA World Fitness Convention will help you meet your goals. (For my sister’s take on overall fitness trends, take a peek at “5 Trends from the Annual IDEA Convention.”)
My focus was first on doing well in my own session as a presenter. I shared 7 principles for creating outstanding group programs for baby boomers. You get 3 of them here! Then I attended every other session devoted to the over 50 exerciser, especially the more active movers and groovers (as opposed to sessions devoted to the frail and elderly).
The biggest trend I saw was the very fact that fitness pros from around the world are FINALLY interested in serving the over 50 exerciser – specifically, in a targeted way. My session, “Fitness Over 50: Getting ReStarted” was filled to capacity. Yay! And the other presentations devoted to our age group were also packed. Heck, this year IDEA offered the most sessions ever devoted to the midlifer and older adult. That’s related to trend #2 – IDEA and the various presenters for this age group finally separated the “older exerciser” into two distinct groups: the baby boomers (ages 52-70) and the seniors or “matures” who are 70+. Prior to this year anyone 50-100 was lumped into one category.
If you are curious about other trends for our age group, read my take on the Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
Trend #1 - fitness focus on the over 50 exerciser is finally cool and Hawt! #activeaging Click To Tweet
What were some key fitness themes and workout design principles for older adults as evidenced at the IDEA Convention? How can you incorporate them into your workouts? The following 3 themes, or guiding principles will help you create the best workouts for your midlife body. These principles are adapted from my session, which must have been trendy as all the other “older adult” presenters alluded to them as well.
If you weave in even one or two of these themes, you will be able to:
Why not get a two-fer benefit with each exercise choice? Look for opportunities to cross the midline of your body with an arm, leg or both at once.
Move to music that has polyrhythms or beats that are more complex than straight count.
Attend workout classes where the instructor cues patterns. The brain work involved in interpreting verbal commands and following choreography literally increases your dendrites, ganglia, and axons.
Ask yourself whether the moves you are choosing relate to activities of daily living (ADL). For instance, incorporate dynamic balance moves, not solely static ones since we normally need to balance while moving, not holding still. Recognize walking as the ultimate and primary balance and functional move. So take walks. And when you do, test your balance by intermittently slowing your stride. Super slow. Then speed up. Super fast.
Let’s say you have a plan to travel. Keep in mind that especially in foreign countries you’ll be climbing stairs; walking on uneven terrain; navigating unfamiliar environments; carrying loads, dealing with fatigue and time changes. Plan to be your active best when traveling by making stepping up and down part of your workout program. Or lifting your legs up and over things so you’ll be ready for those low walls abroad.Practice twisting and turning while carrying weights (luggage, souvenirs, small grandchildren).
Do you include posture work in your routine? If not, it’s tiiiiime. Which do you think will have a bigger impact on your ability to age actively — having popping fresh biceps (single joint strength training isolation move) or having a strong core and back that keep you lifted and long? (Yeah, the opposite of stooped with rounded shoulders).
Use balance work as a move itself or as a stance option for any standing move. Not only could you incorporate balance moves into your workout, but also you can improve your balance while working your upper body or doing standing stretches. How? But narrowing your stance. Don’t always set your feet shoulder width apart and parallel. Instead, place one foot directly in front of the other in what’s called “tandem” position. Now try those tricep kickbacks or upper body stretch. Trickier right? Whenever possible choose a narrow vs wide base of support.
Are you already rethinking your program? Less working one muscle at a time and more enhancing your overall ability to move and continue doing the activities you enjoy?
QUESTION: Would you be interested in a digital product that offered moves and workout programs that follow the themes listed here? If we created videos and support text that allowed you to mix and match effective programs with balance, posture, and functional exercises, would you value that?
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
What would you do with 30 extra years of life? Give those 30 years back?
If you are like some of the older adults in the Forever Fit Cardio fitness classes I teach, you don’t necessarily want 30 years added to your lifespan. And these are active adults in their 60s-80s, so imagine what inactive people might say to living to 100 and beyond. And yet, it is possible to greet such an offer with delight, not dread, especially if you embrace healthy aging and dispel some common misconceptions.
Redefine How You Age?
The worry about adding years to life without adding life to those years is well-founded. When we interviewed highly recognized active aging expert, Colin Milner, founder of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), he laid out some interesting stats and scenarios facing our baby boomer population.
According to Milner, the US and Canada have shoveled out trillions of dollars to increase longevity. And that effort has been quite successful: we North American humans have added an average of 30 additional years to our lives in just one century. That jump is bigger than the one my sister did when a tick landed on her during a dog walk the other day. The problem with the lifespan jump is that those added years are not proving to be healthy ones. Suuuuuu-prise, suuuu-prise. Or not really a surprise at all to those of us who work with or are older adults.
Basically, as we age, we baby boomers and our parents face 5 key challenges. Can you guess what they are?
Super Sensible Solutions for the Projected Problems
For each problem, Colin Milner offers a corresponding suggestion. (Could be why his nickname is “the Colonizer.”) While he confesses that his advice may seem simple, he stresses that putting it into practice takes effort and focus. Making a plan to age in a healthy, “new thinking” way is hard. Yet aging inactively is harder.
In fact, as a generation, we are NOT aging healthfully. Read about it here: Women Over 50: We are NOT aging healthfullyTop 5 things you can do to age well (even after a lifetime of yuck, blah, & bad habits Click To Tweet
All in all, the key is to be proactive in order to age actively. Whew! That’s a lot of action. But not yet enough, as what we ultimately need to do is create a plan for today and the added tomorrows. We can redefine how we age, writing a new and better ending for ourselves and history. As Colin asks, “What is your plan?” What expectations do you have — of yourself, your health, your future, your present? In short, what will you do with your 30 added years?
Want to be an active aging superstar? How? Read this post: What Do You Enjoy About Aging?
HOT NEWS: Speaking of the International Council on Active Aging, I was one of 30 national fitness leaders selected to present at their Nov 2016 Reimagine Aging conference taking place in Orlando. My topic? “Integrate Function and Cognitive Challenges into Your Older-adult Fitness Group.” In a nutshell, move, think, do both at once.” Am I qualified? Decide for yourself by reading this post: Midlife Funtional Aging Specialists
Really be impressed with how much you will learn and benefit from the cutting edge advice of Colin Milner and others who specialize in healthy aging for older adults. Take a gander at our TransformAging package. Seriously, don’t simply grow old when you can age actively! Costs nothing to check out this link: TransformAging Summit
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
This post is sponsored. The views and belief in wearable medical technology are sponsored by our fine selves and direct experience with older adults and loved ones who use such alerts.
In 1946 Dick Tracy got his wearable two-way radio watch. Hmm, same year that the first batch of baby boomers was born. Coincidence or great timing (get it)? Since then, wearable technology has become a reality for millions of people who want quick access to health information or assistance. Think of the number of times James Bond’s life has been saved thanks to his futuristic tools.
Well, the future of wearable medical technology is now. And saving lives — yours, your parents, other loved ones, perhaps? — is one of the many benefits of such devices. We monitor our pulse rates, oxygen levels, safety, location, air quality, sleep, steps taken, and so much more. Something as simple as medical alerts can offer independence, peace of mind, and life-saving action. (Click that link to see a review of medical alerts). And yes, we even use our devices for two-way communication, just like Dick Tracy. Don’t believe us? We did two-way time travel two years ago when we wrote about e-textiles as a future health trend. Check it out — over and out.
A Global Positioning System can be incredibly accurate when determining a person’s location anywhere on the planet. This technology could allow medics to find a person if he or she is unconscious or unable to communicate. This kind of technology can also help locate someone lost in the wilderness while monitoring his or her physical condition.
2. Detect Falls Even From Afar
Help, we’ve fallen, but we can get help to get up! By monitoring the G-force of a pendant or other wearable item, medical professionals can detect immediately if someone has suffered a fall. With devices such as medical alerts, this technology could be lifesaving if the person who falls goes unconscious or gets injured. The difference between help arriving in minutes versus hours could mean the difference between life and death; eventual recovery and the beginning of the end.
3. Monitor for Smoke and Fire
Wearable technology that monitors for smoke and fire can save a person’s life regardless of location. As long as the sensor is able to capture samples of the surrounding atmosphere, the risks of smoke inhalation and other complications can be greatly reduced. Imagine how glad you would be to know your monitor can signal for assistance even if, for example, your parents were unconscious or unable to call out.
Who wants a device that resists water better than the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz? If you invest in medical technology products, check whether the device is waterproof or at least water resistant. For the sake of discussion, let’s refer to the wearer as “your parents.” What if something happens while your mom is swimming, bathing, or showering? You want to be sure you can depend on the device in all environments.
5. Share Vitals and Vital Info via Apps
Some technologies are able to use app connectivity to gather information. Such tools can render data in a more readily accessible platform providing charts and graphs and offering emergency personnel vital statistics. Envision an EMT being able to take bio readings directly from your mom’s wearable medical device to determine the correct course of treatment whether she is alert or unconscious.
6. Connect to Your Physician
You can also use the monitoring capability of medical technology to keep a designated physician apprised of any change in your parents’ physical condition even from a distance. Granted, you have a trade-off between privacy and safety. When safety is the bigger concern, you may want a doctor to know about deviations in your loved one’s physical habits or unique physiology.
7. Communicate Two-Way
Some, but not all medical devices offer two-way communication. Decide whether you want the ability to directly communicate with service providers. Let’s say your dad is rendered incapable of using his hands or is otherwise unable to make a phone call. A two-way device can still allow for communication from the service provider to your dad as he awaits assistance.
Innovation in this field is only accelerating. And it’s fairly exhilarating! We have the opportunity to take a more active, real time role helping loved ones stay safe and well. Who knows what will be available by the time we baby boomers buy our own wearable medical tech devices! We’ll be ready to bond, James Bond with something stylish, super futuristic, and life saving!
In less than 90 seconds, you’ll learn an effective, yet simple abs move by watching this video.
The Diagonal Bug looks like its name and is great for the obliques and transversus. Similar to the exercise we shared for the rectus abdominis, this one is easy to do correctly while avoiding neck or head strain. Our colleague Shari Kalkstein, from whom we learned this move, is great at creating abdominal strengthening exercises that help you avoid forward spinal flexion.Want an abs exercise to strengthen your core that avoids neck strain & has no head lifting? Click To Tweet
Not in your chair.
Not on a dare.
Not with a snack.
Not hurting your back.
You should now try it here or there.
You should now try it anywhere.
You would not like poor, weak abs.
You would not like that muffin flab.
Looking for more exercises to strengthen your abs that are chosen specifically for YOU, the over 50 woman? Take advantage of our combined 70 years’ experience as certified fitness professionals to transform your core and more. You can move from weak and (dare we say, perhaps “flabby”) to strong and Fab-Abby! How? Take a look at our our newly created “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50” program.
Photo credit: Oblique – Owen.Hyatt
Head over (with no neck strain) to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness with maximal impact yet minimal joint issues!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA