Me and Max

Me and Max

The other day some CBFers were chuckling about an ad on local TV showing Max King, a young elite athlete, doing a vigorous workout – jumping laterally over a hurdle, slamming a medicine ball, swinging a kettlebell. What they found funny is that they do the same exercises in the Younger Games even though on average they’re 30-40 years older than Max.

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CBFers, like the ones doing the obstacle course in the picture, challenge the ageist stereotypes prevalent in the exercise industry and “senior” programs that older adults are fragile creatures, thus best-served by slow, repetitive aerobic routines or sprawled in a death pose on a yoga mat.

In fact, fit older adults can and should do the same type of exercises as the fittest in the younger population. It’s only a matter of degree of exercise intensity (like duration, number of repetitions, speed, weight of load), but not kind. That’s how older persons train safely, but very effectively.

Sure, due to aging our joints are more worn (or metal), muscle mass reduced, and the tissues less flexible, but the basic anatomy remains the same. We won’t look like a young elite athlete at the peak of their physical prowess. We may need to do some work-arounds from old injuries, joint replacements, or medications. But we still enjoy the same training results.

By exercising like the Max Kings, we strengthen muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones; preserve mobility and stability in all planes of movement; develop coordination; and ensure an effective range of motion to do what needs to be done in daily life for years to come.

If Max keeps training hard to win those grueling ultra marathons, a few decades from now  he might just be fit enough for the Younger Games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bouncing Back to You

Bouncing Back to You

They say familiarity breeds contempt. That’s really true when it comes to exercise. The body is so adaptable it masters things fast. So to keep exercise challenging and your body developing neuromotor skills, it’s a good idea to shake up exercise routines, like the CBFer’s in this video.

Anybody can dribble a single basketball. You see NBA players do it all the time.

But what about two? Turns out two balls is twice the fun. While having fun is a perfect time to practice mental focus along with mobility – forwards, sideways, up and down.

Brain Exercise

Brain Exercise

Your brain thrives on exercise just as much as your heart or muscles. Exercise increases the volume of both grey and white matter via a life-enhancing process known as neurogenesis, literally the growth of new brain cells.

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Almost any exercise increases the delivery of oxygen to the brain as well as the release of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) that preserves cognition and memory in older adults.

However, much like certain exercises strengthen specific muscles, certain exercises promote development in specific areas of the brain that result in improved brain function and skills.

For example, take dribbling two balls at once while also moving forward, like in the picture above. Because this is so novel for most people and not automatic like walking, very high level brain functions in the frontal cortex kick into gear to make it possible. First the brain must focus attention, then plan the sequence of discrete movements to combine and sequence to accomplish the task. Then while still maintaining attention, the movement is executed and refined through rapid fire neuromotor feedback.

Challenging activities like these, combined with sweat, do more for your brain than any combination of NY Times crossword puzzles or computer games played while sitting in a chair.