Agile, Mobile & Un-Fragile

Agile, Mobile & Un-Fragile

These CBFers do similar hurdle drills to those used by football players preparing for next week’s season opener. The only difference is that the CBFers are training for a much bigger game with much higher stakes – everyday life.

After you watch this video, we’ll talk about a few fine points (the freeze frames and slo-mo to help you see them better) and why this type of exercise, as opposed to, say, another hour on a treadmill or other machine, is so important to older exercisers.

Here’s what deserves attention:

- The video is slowed so you can see the excellent form in the opening jump sequence; notice the feet landing apart, forefoot first, then the knees flexing to absorb the force of the landing. Some of that force is stored as energy in the stretched Achilles tendon to propel the next jump.

- An upright posture helps everyone stay balanced as they go up and down. Backs stay straight throughout.

- In the freeze frames you see knees up high, whether going forward or sideways. This helps propel the CBFer over the hurdle and gain enough distance to re-establish their center of gravity on the other side. Many older adults cannot move quickly sideways or forwards because their leg and outer hip muscles are too weak to stabilize their body mass, resulting in falls.

- This type of quick, one-footed leap relies on a type of muscle fiber (Type II) that vanishes if it not used. All power moves, like pushing a heavy object or jumping over a puddle, originate in the muscles of the foot and lower leg. Power is dependent on Type II muscle.

- Mobility, starting with walking, requires strong ligaments and tendons in the foot and knees. In the freeze frames you see CBFers launching with strong plantar flexion (toes pushing down) and landing with strong dorsiflexion (toes moving up). Due to the added force of gravity, they are lifting and slowing a multiple of their body weight. You don’t see wobbling, and best of all,
any injuries.

This is what it looks like to be agile, mobile and un-fragile. And be ready for the game.






An Olympic Lesson

Olympic Moments

How fun it was to watch the most incredible athletes in the world compete for the gold in Rio. So many memorable and inspiring performances, stories, and lessons to be learned.

The takeaway lesson for regular folks wasn’t the speed, strength, endurance, or grace under pressure in the actual event that brought them fame a glory. It’s what they did long before they ever got to Brazil.

olympicsWhile Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge was setting a blistering pace on the way to a gold in the marathon, the TV commentator observed that the runner was known to be a wise, philosophical man. Kipchoge had once observed that a winning performance goes beyond the actual time elapsed during the event, but is the accumulation of moments, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years of training.

That’s a valuable lesson for all of us who’ll never participate in an Olympics, especially older adults. The benefits of exercise are cumulative. They result from consistent, methodic physical exertion over a long period of time. Often exercise is uncomfortable. Those who benefit workout regularly whether they feel like it or not.

The rewards of the exercise habit for an older adult go way beyond medals. They are much more valuable:

  • Better health. ‘Nuff said.
  • Sustaining your active lifestyle – safely hike, get in an out of a kayak, safely take a fall when playing a game, ford a stream, mount a horse, play a sport, run, travel.
  • Be useful in everyday life – remain independent and able to take care of yourself (e.g., carry your own groceries, shovel snow, unload suitcases at the airport), or others who are not fit or well.

If you put in the time and effort, you get the rewards. If not, you don’t. For Olympians and regular folks alike, that’s the difference between winners and losers.

Powerful Preventive Medicine

Powerful Preventive Medicine

Last week a happy CBFer shared that she’s been to her doctor for a routine check-up.  Her happy doctor reported a significant improvement in her cholesterol numbers. She credits her consistent attendance and effort in the gym during the past six months for the healthy change.


Everybody has different reasons for why they exercise – to lose a few pounds, look and feel better, improve in their sport, keep up with grandkids, relax, or remain useful and independent. But, as this CBFer discovered, exercise is powerful preventive medicine for every organ system in your body. 

Consider this list of health benefits from the American Council on Exercise and Taylor and Johnson’s book Physiology of Exercise and Healthy Aging (2008).

  • Increased cardiac output
  • Increased blood flow to muscle tissue
  • Increased number of capillaries
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Improved catecholamine response (higher energy)
  • Increased energy expenditure
  • Increased anabolic hormone production
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Improved blood lipid profiles
  • Improved mood
  • Increased body mass density (more muscle, less fat)
  • Increased resting metabolic rate

They could include others as well: Improved sexual function, improved skin, improved bowel function, improved brain function (memory, attention, information processing, executive function), and stronger bones.

All of these help prevent the onset of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, that plague older adults. Exercise is powerful preventive medicine for every organ system in your body.

Remember this the next time you are swinging that kettlebell, breathing hard and your butt muscles feel like they are on fire.








Cool Water

Cool Water

Last Friday was the hottest day of the year in central Oregon. It was good to see that everyone made sure to drink water during water breaks because even mild de-hydration impairs our ability to exercise.

The University of Montreal an did an instructive study regarding how soon water gets into the bloodstream after we drink it. In about 5 minutes some water appears in the blood plasma, within 11-13 minutes half of the volume swallowed is absorbed, and in 75-120 minutes compete absorption occurs.

The two takeaway lessons from this study when you are going to exercise on a hot day are: (1) drink lots of water 1 hour before your workout so you become fully hydrated but avoid bloating, and (2) drink smaller amounts throughout your workout to constantly replace water lost through sweating.

Due to the limited length of our workouts and water breaks, severe dehydration would be unlikely for most CBFers (note: certain medications, like diuretics, can hasten dehydration). But even mild dehydration places stress on the heart and makes exercise harder and unpleasant, so it’s always a good idea to drink when you can, whether you feel thirsty or not.

Many CBFers have active outdoor lifestyles and engage in activities than span more than one hour, even on hot days. These longer time spans in the heat can pose a much bigger threat for your physical well-being. Below is a video we made in 2010 on a hot summer day in Colorado that has some useful information about your body and heat.

Enjoy this great tune from the Sons of the Pioneers as you drink some cool, cool water as you’re hydrating for your next CBF workout.