Marietta Mehanni

Enhancing Exercise for an Aging Population

What constitutes functional training

In recent years, there has been a noticeable resurgence in the popularity of traditional exercises, signalling a “coming back in vogue” trend. Suppose you’re not engaging in chin-ups, push presses, kettlebell training, plyometrics, or flipping tires. In that case, you’re not considered genuinely exercising. This fitness wave has attributes to functional training. This concept remains highly debated, as experts hold varying opinions on what constitutes functional exercises.

While technically nothing is wrong with these exercises, extensive research has focused on the benefits of high-intensity training for fit and well-trained individuals. The studies often highlight increased cardiovascular health, bone density, and fat loss as advantages. However, one aspect that needs addressing is that these research findings may not necessarily apply to the sedentary bodies of 2023.

Finding the Balance: Tailoring Traditional Exercises

To strike a balance, consider the human body’s needs in the present day. The bodies we deal with now are different from those of the past, even just 20 years ago. So, how can traditional exercises be more appropriate and effective in our current understanding?

  1. Extension Exercises: The sedentary lifestyle patterns of modern society often involve constant flexion. Thus, exercises that counteract this flexion, such as back extensions, hip extensions, and shoulder extensions, become essential. Back extensions from the floor or bridges effectively work against gravity and are generally easier to perform correctly. However, standing exercises are more challenging as they require maintaining proper form while lowering down towards the floor, especially when weights are involved.
  2. Rotation: Our bodies naturally rotate. Unfortunately, the limited rotation performed in day-to-day activities often leaves our muscles ill-equipped to support the spine and joints when rotation becomes necessary. Including shoulder and hip rotations in training programs can help address this functional range of motion often neglected in traditional workouts.
  3. Intensity: While intensity can be beneficial, there is a point at which it can lead to poor technique and form. It is essential to find the right balance and create sufficient intensity without compromising exercise execution. The appropriate level of intensity will vary based on individual factors such as prior exercise experience and injury history, as injuries can significantly impact the body’s biomechanics.
  4. Use Different Planes of Motion: Traditional muscle conditioning exercises often focus on movements within the sagittal or frontal planes. However, incorporating activities in the transverse plane has gained popularity due to its ability to mimic a natural range of motion and often involve rotation. This broader range of motion engages muscles more comprehensively, enhancing functional fitness.

Navigating the Fitness Landscape

In today’s fitness world, much research, information, and conflicting opinions exist. In light of this, trainers and instructors need to be able to justify their exercise choices. Merely emulating others is not a strong enough reason to deliver an exercise. Instead, it is crucial to understand the rationale behind each activity and its implications for the client.

Suppose the sole purpose of an exercise is to hinder the client, leaving them unable to move the next day and acutely aware of every muscle in their body. In that case, individuals are not likely to continue participating in physical activity. Furthermore, it may even increase the risk of injury.

Embracing Exercise for All

Exercise is becoming a necessity for everyone due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We must carefully consider the training we deliver to encourage more people to enjoy and engage in physical activity. By combining the best of traditional and up-to-date exercise techniques, we can provide individuals with the most effective and tailored fitness programs. 

In conclusion

As we navigate the evolving landscape of fitness and exercise, we must recognise the significance of functional aging and its implications for an aging population. While traditional practices have made a comeback and high-intensity training has shown numerous benefits, it is crucial to strike a balance between these approaches and the needs of the sedentary bodies of today.

To make traditional exercises more appropriate and effective, we should incorporate extension exercises to combat constant flexion, integrate rotation movements to support the natural range of motion, find the right intensity level that promotes proper technique and form, and utilise different planes of motion to engage muscles comprehensively.

Amid conflicting opinions and research, trainers and instructors must justify their exercise choices, considering their client’s needs and goals. It is not enough to replicate what others are doing; understanding the rationale behind each exercise and its impact on the client is crucial.

By embracing a balanced approach that combines the best of traditional and up-to-date exercise techniques, we can provide individuals with tailored fitness programs that address their unique requirements. In doing so, we can promote physical activity for all and help individuals enjoy the benefits of exercise in today’s sedentary world.

Virtual Fitness membership

Suppose you’re eager to explore the world of functional aging and experience the benefits of a well-rounded fitness membership from the comfort of your home. In that case, I invite you to check out the Virtual Workouts with Marietta membership. My membership offers a comprehensive range of training methods, including those mentioned earlier, designed to cater to your body’s needs.

With Virtual Workouts with Marietta, you can access a variety of class formats that incorporate extension exercises, rotation movements, different planes of motion, and the appropriate intensity levels, with retro-type classes like Low Impact Aerobics, Step, Body Conditioning, and Swiss Ball, as well as new styles classes of Gymstick and my own very own co-developed program mSwing, that uses rhythmical movements while swinging a single dumbbell through a range of positions. My virtual platform provides a convenient and affordable solution for individuals looking to enhance their fitness and well-being.

By joining my membership, you can engage in workouts tailored to functional aging at a level of your choice. Whether you’re an active individual looking to maintain your functional abilities or a sedentary individual seeking to embark on a fitness journey, Virtual Workouts with Marietta has something for everyone.

Get Fit at Home

Experience the convenience of working out from home with the flexibility to fit exercise into your busy schedule. No need for expensive gym memberships or time-consuming commutes. My virtual workouts bring the gym to you, offering expert guidance and support every step of the way.

Take the first step towards a healthier and more active lifestyle by visiting my website at Sign up for a 14-day FREE trial and unlock a world of fitness resources that will help you achieve your goals, improve your functional abilities, and embrace the benefits of exercise.

Remember, there is always time to invest in your well-being. Join Virtual Workouts with Marietta today and discover the joy of functional aging through accessible and effective virtual training.

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