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by James Owen
As a 78-year-old man who found my path to fitness just seven years ago, I’ve got a message for every American: We all get older, but we don’t have to get old. The good news is you can keep living your life and doing the things you enjoy if you know how to be functionally fit. And if you’re 20-, 30-, or 40-something? The same message applies—but with one big difference. You’ve got the next 20 or 30 years to work at getting and staying functionally fit, rather than trying to counteract decades of couch-potato living in a matter of months, like I did.
Functional fitness is a straightforward concept, but one I only discovered late in life. It means training your body for the activities of daily life, rather than trying to improve how fast you can run a mile or how good you look in a bathing suit. It’s about being able to handle everyday movements with ease, and without pain or risk of injury. The way to do that is by working on all five dimensions of fitness: core strength and stability, flexibility, balance, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance.
Being physically equipped for your day-to-day activities may not sound like a big deal right now. When you’re 30 or 40, you can take your body’s strength and suppleness for granted. But trust me, it doesn’t stay that way. Consider, too, that you don’t have to be an AARP member to start noticing some effects of age. Our bodies typically begin losing lean muscle mass and strength sometime in our thirties; that’s one reason the average American gains a pound a year, every year, after about age 25. Then there’s our ability to balance, which typically peaks in our twenties and gradually spirals downward from then on.
Functional fitness isn’t a new idea; physical therapists and a subset of athletic coaches and physical trainers have understood it for years. But training that’s “well-rounded” and “balanced” doesn’t generate the same media buzz as “five moves to make your body bikini-ready.” As a result, many people across all age groups still come at fitness from a relatively narrow perspective. Some are convinced all they need is cardio machines, or a spin class, or a daily run. Others, mostly men, go in for old-school bodybuilding, ignoring how often they get hurt. Still others, often women, swear by yoga and never go near a dumbbell. The hoary notion that strength is “unfeminine” has had surprising staying power.
Don’t get me wrong—any kind of physical activity is a good thing. But one-dimensional approaches may not be sustainable over the long haul, and they certainly aren’t enough to keep you young.
On a positive note, functional fitness seems to be catching on with this younger generation. Compared with the baby boomers I know, millennials strike me as much more intent on balancing intense career work with vigorous, varied physical workouts, no matter how early they have to get up to do it. A lot of young guys seem smart about strength-training, too, focusing on whole-body movements, endurance, and agility work rather than showing off with heavy weights. I’ve also been impressed by how many young women put into practice the belief that “strong is beautiful.”
Do I wish I’d started working out more seriously and sensibly at their age? Of course I do, but there are no do-overs for the last 40 years. I’m just glad I got there eventually and I’m inspired by the upcoming generation’s growing effort to educate and prioritize health and wellness. We can all rest a little easier knowing those that the proceeding age groups have the chance to do better, stay healthier, and learn from their elders’ mistakes.
Fitness October 11, 2018
by Lindsay Miller
Empowered women empower women. Simple, right?
For the first time ever, the Movemeant Foundation is bringing their “We Dare to Bare” (#wedaretobare) pop-up workout to Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday November 4, 2018. Their partnering with Shawn Booth and BOOTHCAMP Gym to bring you a one-of-a-kind fitness festival.
Joining Shawn Booth and BoothCamp in the workout will be Kate Moore of getFIT615. As an advocate for body positivity, Kate’s belief that our bodies are a magnificent vessel for who we actually are, and her dedication to the practice of self-work and continuing growth in order show up more presence in this world, are just a few of the reasons that her partnership with Movemeant is so perfect.
We Dare to Bare has hosted thousands of participants and spectators in both New York and San Francisco, raising money by taking part in inspiring, high-energy group fitness classes. Empowering women to use fitness to find self-confidence and positive body image, Movemeant Foundation encourages participants to step out of their comfort zones as they dare to recognize and embrace the strength of their body. With attendees encouraged to participate in Movemeant’s symbol of confidence, the We Dare to Bare sport bra, the event demonstrates to women of all ages, particularly young girls that all body types are strong and should be celebrated.
“We Dare to Bare is a day to recognize and honor beauty in all its different shapes and sizes,” said Jenny Gaither, Founder of Movemeant Foundation. “Together, we want to help women build positive body image through fitness and shift the dialogue from focusing on you want to lose to what you can gain – confidence, strength, and a positive sense of self. The funds we raise will help provide access to life-changing health and fitness programs that can help transform the lives of women and girls.”
With an annual fundraising goal of $500,000, Movemeant Foundation plans to dedicate $100,000 to its body-positive scholarship program with She Plays We Win, helping girls from around the word build self-worth through sport by providing individual athletic scholarships, equipment, mentors and funding.
“I’m so excited to bring this event to Nashville and partner with Movemeant Foundation in their efforts. At BOOTHCAMP, we believe that community support is essential in reaching for our best selves, and that we are stronger together,” said Shawn Booth, founder of BOOTHCAMP. “What the Movemeant Foundation is doing for young girls and women across the country is such important work, and I couldn’t be happier to support this event and their message.”
For the full event details and more information on how to register for We Dare to Bare, please visit https://www.wedaretobare.com/nashville/
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