Throughout my thirties and early forties, running was my exercise of choice. I ran a lot, about 40 miles per week. I didn’t run to stay in shape, I ran so I could eat whatever I wanted. I found that if I put in that kind of mileage, I could pretty much eat anything, anytime. But as my career became more and more demanding, I had less and less time for running. My mileage dropped to 10-15 miles per week, but my eating stayed the same. Slowly my weight began to creep up.
It was then that I began to understand that age, time, and food were conspiring against me. I needed to change my routine or be prepared to get progressively bigger. Unfortunately, I continued to get bigger. I finally reached my breaking point at around 250 pounds. At 5’10”, it was no longer a case of needing to lose a few pounds. Now I needed to lose a lot of weight and I needed to keep it off.
In 1996, I purchased Hilton Head Health, a weight loss facility in South Carolina. As a result, I started to pay a lot more attention to fitness trends. I realized that, as we age, our performance declines and our recovery time increases. At H3, we began to pivot from hard-core exercises like running, to focus on core strength, flexibility, and balance. Especially for people over 45.
Functional fitness became the catchphrase. The definition of functional fitness is simple: it’s having the energy and ability to accomplish all of your day-to-day tasks with ease. For example, can you carry heavy grocery bags, climb three flights of stairs without getting winded, and chase your kids or grandkids around the yard? If so, you are functionally fit.
Of course, activity levels vary from person to person, so it’s important to find what works for you. And it should be clear by now that running no longer works for me. At my age, I’ve found that walking, Pilates, and TRX are the best way to maintain my own functional fitness. The Move Better™ fitness philosophy mirrors my personal evolution. There is no single exercise regimen that works for everyone, it’s about finding the right plan for the right person at the right time.