At Explore Fitness, our vision is to train beyond “gains.” The goal isn’t simply a fit physique, but rather to build a holistic foundation for lifelong play with family and friends. With such long-term goals, every day presents an opportunity for small achievements. Progressing step-by-step, we measure our success not only in increased mobility and strength, but most importantly, injury prevention. Because let’s face it—whether you’re gearing up for a long ride, chasing fresh pow or celebrating a special occasion—nothing’s worse than being benched for your big day.
To prevent injury, there are two basic principles we apply to our training programs: boost strength and improve balance. But don’t take our word for it—those are also the National Council on Aging’s primary two tips for avoiding falls among adults 65 years and older.
No one likes to take a fall, but as we get older, things can quickly progress from a simple “ouch” to serious agony. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. The CDC also shares that:
- One in four Americans age 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
- The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
So when it comes to strength and balance, let’s say we take things seriously. To be a part of the solution, we have to get past certain misconceptions about training smart. The most popular hesitation we hear as coaches is, “I don’t want to get bulky.” (Most often, we hear it from the ladies.) But here’s the thing: lifting weights doesn’t just build muscle. It also boosts bone density, counteracting osteoporosis—one of the primary contributors to injuries after a fall as we age. And according to the Mayo Clinic, women have a greater risk of contracting osteoporosis than men.
Does that mean I have to bulk up? Definitely not.
Strength is relative, and you don’t have to look like the Hulk to be strong. A six month old who can lift their own head is strong. A child who can run at full speed is strong. An adult who can do at least one pull up, multiple push ups, a Turkish Get Up, and deadlift their own body weight is strong. In short, it’s not about the size of your biceps. Strength training is as much about preparing our tendons, ligaments, and bones to withstand a heavier load as it is about training the muscle tissue that moves us.
How strong is strong enough?
Come see an Explore coach for a general strength and conditioning assessment to get a sense of your current strengths and what steps you can take towards overall fitness.
And what about balance?
If you search “balance” on YouTube, there are 1,000 videos, gimmicks and products promising they are the secret to balance. Let’s be real: you don’t need that. All you need is solid, level ground and your own body.
Check out this simple and effective daily movement practice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fofQWeUOvY8&t=1s to address the balance portion of this equation. Take off your shoes and do this once a day with proud posture. You’ll be shocked at how well your body adapts over time.
Now, let’s get to work! We want you to be able to play with your kids, grandkids and be strong for the rest of your life - and training for that starts NOW.
Join us at the gym for more tips on training for the long-term.