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Yoga is great for balance, strength and bone density. It helps with back pain, blood pressure and anxiety.

Almost 40 million Americans enjoy yoga’s health benefits, according to the Yoga in America study. About one-fifth are in their 50s, and another one-fifth are over 60.


Yoga is great for balance, strength and bone density. It helps with back pain, blood pressure and anxiety. The focus on breathing is simple and profoundly beneficial for the mind, body and spirit. You don’t need any special equipment, and you can do it anywhere, although we recommend a few classes, at least, to start with.


And, super-important for people over 50: Yoga is highly adaptable to everyone’s physical needs and limitations. Let your instructor know about any aches, arthritis, surgeries, etc. – and he or she will guide you to a modification.

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Functional fitness helps keep us strong and agile, with the endurance to live life the way we want to.

Why should you work out regularly?

For big muscles? To lose weight? To beat your sister-in-law at golf?

Sure, all of those are good reasons for some people.


But what about working out so you are better prepared for the activities of everyday life, like carrying in groceries and putting them up? Like having the stamina for a busy day of errands and grandkids? Or climbing up and down the stairs without getting winded?


That’s the idea behind functional fitness, an approach that’s increasingly popular with all kinds of people, including those over 50 who want to maintain their independence and quality of life without spending countless hours in a gym.


Fitness for Life

As we age, we lose muscle mass and bone density. That’s where the fear of frailty comes in. It’s what causes us to worry about falling later in life. It’s also what inhibits us from enjoying activities without getting hurt. Think of a guy who can lift heavy weight at the gym but throws out his back picking up a suitcase.


Functional fitness helps keep us strong and agile, with the endurance to live life the way we want to – even if “fitness” for its own sake isn’t necessarily the priority.


And, if you’re worried that working out will bulk you up like an action hero, we can’t stress enough: That’s just not going to happen.


“I tell people, ‘You’re not going to get huge muscles. You’re going to get useful muscles,’” says Michael, a trainer who works with many people over 50.


It has gone beyond being a trend. Most gyms, studios and trainers are now familiar with functional training.


How It Is Different

Compare functional exercises to traditional weightlifting, which usually focuses on one muscle at a time. You’re often seated, the range of motion is restricted – and the movements are not related to daily life.


Functional exercises help muscles work together. Body control, mobility, posture, safety and balance are also primary goals. Some people used to working out on only machines find functional exercise more challenging.


Squats and pushups are good examples. So are lunges, which are common in tasks like vacuuming and yardwork.


As WebMD puts it, functional fitness is “about training your body to handle real-life situations.” That means exercises focused on “building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine.”


Does functional fitness sound like a good idea for you? We’re here to help you with safe, functional programs to boost your fitness, confidence and enjoyment of daily life.

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A Harvard study says that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can add three years to your life.

“I don’t have time to exercise.”


How many times have you said that? Or heard someone else say it?


It’s the No. 1 excuse for not exercising. And we don’t buy it.


Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. We all have multiple commitments to other people, often including work. Even in retirement, there’s spending time with family, keeping up the home, fighting traffic, etc.


But, as the famous saying goes, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”


How Much Do We Get?

Here’s an interesting illustration of how we generally spend our time on this earth.


Let’s say people get an average of 25,915 days, or about 71 years, to live. Of that, they spend just 0.69 percent (or 180 days) exercising.


That’s according to a survey of more than 9,000 people around the world, conducted by Reebok and global survey company Censuswide. (Granted, Reebok has an interest, but this is still relevant information.)


The survey also reports that people:

  • Spend almost a third of their lives (29.75 percent) sitting down

  • Stare at some kind of screen 41 percent of the time, or 10,625 days

  • Socialize with family and friends 6.8 percent, or 1,769 days


The US government suggests people get at least 2½ hours every week of moderate intensity exercise. A Harvard study says that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can add three years to your life. And the Journal of the American Medical Association said last year that not exercising puts you at greater risk than smoking and diabetes.


Still say you don’t have time?


Add It Up

Let’s examine a week’s worth of time.


Seven days a week multiplied by 24 hours a day equals 168 hours a week. Now, make a list of how you spend your time on a weekly basis. Try this quick audit. Write down how many weekly hours you spend on the following.


  • Work (or committed volunteer time, if you’re retired)

  • Sleep

  • Commute

  • Errands

  • Family time

  • Religious services or community involvements


Total that up and subtract it from the 168 hours.


Get the message? You have time. It’s up to you how to spend it.


Time for More Time

We’re not suggesting anyone devote their lives to the gym. There are plenty of ways to get your minimum amount of exercise in each week. You can mix and match, and even incorporate movement into daily life by taking the stairs, parking far from buildings, and walking the dog.


Make a fitness plan. Here are tips to stick with it:

  • Choose convenience. Find a gym or studio that is close to you, and select a time that suits you.

  • Work out with a friend, partner or group.

  • Treat your workout time like any scheduled appointment. You wouldn’t casually blow off a doctor’s appointment. Give exercise the same importance.

  • Choose something fun. Studies (and common sense) tell us that people are more likely to make time for fitness when it’s something they enjoy.

  • Forget about how you look and focus on how exercise makes you feel better – and live longer.


We are here to help, so talk to us about finding the time to take care of yourself. What’s more important than that?

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