Weekly musings, 9/16/17 and 9/23/17: aging and trends

Weekly musings, 9/17/17
I work with a number of clients in their 60s and 70s that regularly inspire me.

These individuals are healthy, fit, and engaged with the world. They don’t view themselves as “old” and, aside from the occasional joke about their memory, don’t view their age as a defining factor in their ability to lead a fulfilled life.

Here are a few of the things I have learned:
Read. Read what interests you. It might be novels, non-fiction, or the news, but one thing all of my older clients have in common is they read regularly.

Push yourself physically, but respect your boundaries. My clients like to work hard. They enjoy feeling strong and aren’t afraid to try new movements. However, they also respect their physical abilities, such as missing ACLs, bone spurs that limit full range of motion, and other variants that creep up. Exercising for life is different than exercising to increase your deadlift 1RM or attain a particular yoga pose. Goals change, and that’s okay.

Travel. If you can’t afford to hop on a plane and go to Europe, travel new places by car. Don’t be afraid to explore the world around you.

Socialize. Similar to reading, socializing can be done many different ways. You don’t have to throw large dinner parties to have meaningful relationships with people, but make sure you regularly leave the house and have a conversation with someone you find interesting.

Laugh. Life is too short, and the world too unsure, to take yourself too seriously. All of my clients laugh often.

Be kind. The amount of volunteering and giving back my clients do is inspirational. Practicing kindness creates a meaningful life worth living.

*The idea for this week’s post came from a recent New York Times article on how to embrace aging well. Link here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/smarter-living/aging-well.html?mcubz=3

Weekly musings, 9/24/17: trends
On the island of Maui, a Polynesian inspired fitness trend is emerging called Kiakahi.* It involves things like chanting, crawling, somersaulting, carrying rocks, performing partner work with sticks, and carrying sandbags through the waves. It’s a scalable group workout that is both challenging and filled with focus.

There are common themes that survive the test of time in the multi-million dollar industry that is fitness, an industry filled with more “new” classes and certifications than I can count. They include:

Workouts that elicit a sense of play resonate with people more than those that are simply doing the work. I see this with my clients all of the time. If I pose an interesting challenge, they become mentally engaged and more interested than if I just have them do reps and tedious stability work. Those things matter too, but many people like being mentally engaged beyond lifting a heavy weight.

Being outside benefits people’s emotional well-being. I have said this before, but I feel it’s worth repeating: we are meant to interact with our physical environments. Being outside is an opportunity to actually practice interacting. While not all workouts can be done outdoors, occasionally taking what you work on inside and using it outdoors creates a sense of synergy.

The benefits to community are far-reaching. I love training people in a one on one environment. It’s my favorite form of teaching. However, we are social creatures. When a group of people is working towards a common goal, such as accomplishing a physical task, it creates a sense of teamwork and improves social bonds, both of which benefit our psychological well being.

A little bit of hard is good, a little bit of focus is good, and a little bit of ease is good. It’s good to be challenged; it’s also good to do focused movement and breathe for a few minutes without interruption. Create workouts that use aspects of being hard, mindful, and easeful to increase strength but leave you feel energized, not depleted.

*I first read about Kiakahi here: http://www.cetusnews.com/business/Struggles-With-Depression-Lead-to-Polynesian-Inspired-Kiakahi-.HkU_qoR7i-.html