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“Training”, here, refers to exercise done with structure & purpose toward a specific goal.

“You get what you train for” is an axiom often heard in sports training, but quite relevant to older adult fitness as well. It means physical qualities won’t improve unless you train with the right methods to specifically challenge & load those qualities to improve them.

It’s an expression of the SAID principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. For better or worse, the body responds to the physical messages we send it. Impose no demands by sending a sedentary message and the body will respond with deterioration. Regularly send messages that challenge your physicality, function & strength and that’s what an older adult will nurture, enhance and defend as they age.

Now let’s consider “you get what you train for” within the context of prolonged sitting (sit-training) and a sedentary lifestyle – what physical outcomes will these produce? With sit-training we condition our bodies to be motionless; physically & functionally constrained. With sit-training we lose muscle, bone and metabolic energy-generating ability because our body don’t have a pressing need for them. With sit-training we lose balance ability because we lack on-our-feet practice adjusting our body in response to gravity. With sit-training we lose the function of crucial muscles like our glutes (butt muscles) because we use them as padding instead of using them to power our essential hip-hinging ability.

Of course, it’s not just the act of sitting, but what sitting represents: a lack of movement in general. Movement is mostly programmed out of many older adult’s lives, so there is an inevitable loss of the physicality & “movement literacy” that enables us to function well in response to life’s varied physical demands.

Older adults, especially, need to purposely reprogram movement back into daily life because they have the most to lose from the consequences of sit-training. A movement mindset and cultivating daily movement opportunities is a good first step, but to make your physical aspirations & dreams a reality may take a more focused approach.

Seeking the advice of a movement professional like a qualified older adult fitness trainer can be life-changing for an older adult because I am an expert at guiding my clients to train-with-a-purpose, regardless of where they’re starting from. Helping older adults like you is what I happily do every day. Nothing thrills me more than a physical success story, so make my day and let me help you “get what you train for” so you become the author of your own success story.

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