Functional fitness isn’t a passing fad. It’s less about the short term gains and more about being strong and healthy for life. But how exactly should you train now, to be a super fit grandad (or grandma)?
Number one in your fit-for-life training plan has to be resistance training. Whether it’s free weights, functional training, or bodyweight work, you need to train with resistance. Why? The fact is, our bodies lose muscle and bone tissue at a terrifying rate (from the age of about 30!)
If you strength train, not only will you slow down this rate of tissue loss, but you’ll be starting from a better position. Add more muscle mass and bone density now, and your body will stay ahead of the curve as it faces up to the ageing process.
This means better posture, fewer aches and pains, a higher metabolic rate, and less likelihood of falls and breaks when you’re elderly.
Cardio is not just about fat loss and looking lean. It’s about your heart health, blood pressure, and lowered risk of diseases like stroke, diabetes, and even some cancers.
It doesn’t matter what type of cardio you do. Just do it. Don’t be sedentary.
We know, mobility is always last on the list. But it’s really important. Not just so you can hit that squat snatch PB now. But so you can get up off the toilet unaided in your 80s. Make mobility part of your routine now, and you’re more likely to keep to the habit as you get older. Your body will thank you for it.
Are you an active person outside of the gym? If not, start thinking about it. Fitness and strength aren’t confined to official workouts. It’s just as important to walk a lot and use your body as nature intended.
If you know you’re an inactive person, start taking small steps to change that. Even 5 minutes of movement counts.
None of this advice counts unless you’re consistent. The best training plan is one you can stick to, week and month and year after year. Is fitness part of your lifestyle? Are you an active and healthy person? That’s the aim.
Building consistency with training, walking, activity, healthy eating, and recovery now will stand you in good stead for your older years.
Alongside consistency sits enjoyment. There’s no point forcing yourself to run and do bodybuilding style training if what you really want to do is calisthenics and yoga. The point is, do what you want to do. Just be active.
As long as you’re doing some kind of resistance training, cardio, conditioning work, and mobility, you’re doing great.
Enjoyment is a huge part of building fitness into your lifestyle.
We couldn’t write about life-long fitness without mentioning sleep. Sleep is the superpower we all have access to (but so often ignore). Do your best to make sleep a priority in your younger years. Get into good sleep habits. Get 8-9 hours quality sleep. Create a good sleep environment. Wind down before bed (no screens!)
Sleep has an incredible impact on health, risk of illness, and longevity. Make friends with sleep in your younger years to lay a solid foundation for life.