As we age, most of us would like to continue staying healthy, active and useful for as long as we live.
In order to do so, and to get the most benefits from our respective exercise programs - regardless whether we're in our 50s, 60s, 70s or even more - it is essential that we include the various foundational movement patterns in our exercise regimes.
These movement patterns are not only essential for our daily physical functions and for healthy living, they are also imperative to our quality of life, and possibly having a major impact on our eventual longevity as well.
The following are the basic movement patterns that the Human Body is capable of doing and which we - regardless of age - should all be actively training for:
This is the move that we use every time we transit from a sit to a stand position, and back from a stand to a sit position. It is one of the most basic and common movements that we do every day, from getting in and out of a chair to lifting groceries off the ground. To train for this movement pattern, include squats and their variations into your workouts, utilizing resistance tools such as light dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls or simply leveraging on just your own body weight.
This is another functional move that we use daily whenever we walk, climb up and down stairs, and when stretching to pick things up from the floor. To train the muscles used in this move, include a variety of lunging movements in multiple planes throughout your fitness program, adding on appropriate resistance as and when needed or required.
Whenever we do a bend-over action in our daily lives, we are essentially doing a hinge movement. This movement involves our strong posterior chain muscles, which include the back, glutes and hamstrings. For seniors and older adults, this is one of the most important moves to master as it can dramatically reduce one's risk of low back pain and lower back injuries. Exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebell swings and glute bridges all work the muscles involved in the hinge.
Pushing movements are also found commonly in our daily physical activities. They can be divided into 2 main groups: horizontal pushing (eg. pushing a heavy sofa against a wall) and vertical pushing (placing an object onto a high shelf). Resistance exercises such as push-ups and shoulder presses (as seen above) are examples of horizontal and vertical pushing moves respectively.
Pulling movements are the exact counter-opposite of pushing movements. They are seen in day-to-day activities like: shutting a door from the inside a car, lifting a suitcase off the ground, or when lifting an object off a high shelf. To work the 'pulling muscles' in this movement pattern, use moves such as bent-over rows, upright rows, pull-ups and pull-downs in your strength-training workouts.
Rotation is another common function of the human body. Whenever we reach across our bodies, swing a golf club, wield a tennis racket, or simply twist to a side, we are using the rotational muscles of our core. To work this highly functional move, include some twisting and rotational exercises into your exercise routine.
Carrying objects from one point to another - whether they are grocery bags, luggage, trash bags, potted plants, toolboxes etc - is also a fundamental part in most of our daily lives. This single movement involves not only our walking gait, but also calls into play our grip strength, core stability and a whole host of other muscle groups. It also challenges our capacity to perform physical work in the real-world. To train our bodies for such loaded carries, include exercises such as farmer's walk, suitcase carry and overhead carry into your workouts.
To stay functionally-fit, healthy and mobile as we age, it is essential that we include the various foundational fitness movement patterns into our workout routines.
For more personalized guidance and individualized instructions on the above, do feel free to contact me at the following: