A case for strong seniors

How easily can you could move from lying flat on the floor to standing? According to a report in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology1http://geriatrictoolkit.missouri.edu/srff/deBrito-Floor-Rise-Mortality-2012..pdf it’s something those middle-age and up should be very concerned about and is a significant reason we should examine the need for strong seniors in society.

This is one of the most important real-life examples of functional fitness. Using the Sitting Rising Test(SRT) they concluded that:

Musculoskeletal fitness, as assessed by SRT, was a significant predictor of mortality in 51–80-year-old subjects. Application of a simple and safe assessment tool such as SRT, which is influenced by muscular strength and flexibility, in general health examinations could add relevant information regarding functional capabilities and outcomes in non-hospitalized adults.

That’s a pretty compelling case that warrants a much closer look at the subject!

SRT: Why it’s important

Research has examined the correlation between the ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. Meaning that this basic motor skill, required for functional autonomy, is basically a barometer for understanding the condition and future well-being of a middle-aged to elderly person.

Have you ever heard the saying “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? Most of us have, and it’s nothing to poke fun at. This is a very real problem that the aging part of our population faces on a daily basis.

 

One of the main causes to falls in seniors is muscle weakness2https://patient.info/doctor/prevention-of-falls-in-the-elderly-pro. This is something that as society we need to proactively fight. Muscle atrophy over time is an unacceptable reality that we’ve embraced as a society. It’s one aspect of our modern society that has seriously hampered our ability to maintain musculoskeletal strength and independence as we age. The goal of society as a whole should be to maintain health and fitness throughout life so we can be strong seniors, living long and independent lives.

Strong Seniors: Every little bit helps

Each of these studies tends to focus on one aspect being the most important factor. But if we take a holistic view of this issue, it’s a pretty easy one to diagnose. Flexibility, musculoskeletal strength, and the ability to do functional movements is important young people. Why do we set a different standard for the aging members of our society?

We need to change the common perception from “the down-hill slide” to “strong seniors”. There’s so much more we can do to assure higher quality of life as we age. To top that, it’s never too late to begin!

Being able to go from floor to standing quickly is an excellent test of functional fitness in those middle-aged to elderly non-hospitalized individuals3http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0150389. We must encourage improvement, rather than simply accept regression. The fitness community has a responsibility to encourage strengthening the aging population to ensure they live long and healthy lives.

Scaled versions of GPP programming can be an excellent place to start. It’s really about a mentality shift and a lifestyle change. We’re all going to get older. It’s just a matter of how fit we want to be when we are strong seniors!

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References   [ + ]

Laskey Hart

Editor at Glycolytic.com, CF-L1 Trainer | Since day one in the gym, Laskey has been trying to beat the laws of physics. At 6' 5", it may come as a surprise that Fran is in fact NOT his favorite workout, and burpees are NOT his favorite movement. It does, however, mean that every day is a new day to prove people who say "CrossFit isn't for tall people" -- wrong.

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