Do you know the #1 reason seniors are moved to assisted living facilities? They can’t get up off the toilet. Think about that for a minute.  How do you insure that, if you are otherwise self-sufficient, you can stay at home as long as possible? Make sure you can get up off the toilet.

Think about the physical movement required to sit down on, and then stand up from, the toilet.  It is nothing more than a half-squat. What does it take to put groceries away? A series of farmer carrys and push-presses.

So at 80 years old, my mother started Crossfit this week.  She was to attend my class on Monday morning, and she told me something on Sunday evening I think would be true for any senior about to take on Crossfit—or any new exercise program, for that matter. She said, “Half of me is excited about starting this and the other half is pretty sure it is a huge mistake!”  I didn’t blame her; I felt about the same way before I started Crossfit.  And for a woman her age, the doubting side might have been a little more than half.

I assured her, as did our coach, that her feelings were quite justified and even healthy. The excited side should be primary in keeping her motivation up and getting her to The Box. Her doubtful side could then be the voice of reason during her workout to keep her from pushing beyond her abilities. As long as she keeps moving, she’s better off than she was before! And the great thing about Crossfit is that you can start at zero. Every skill is learnable, every movement is scalable.

I think, and she would likely admit, that she took it a bit too easy the first day. She hardly broke a sweat, and in hot, humid Houston, that is a feat! But it was still a great workout, because she showed up. Wednesday was more involved—sweaty hair and red face! And Friday kicked up another notch; she was sore on Saturday.

As we age, our joints get stiff and that can become a vicious cycle. The less you move, the worse you get and the worse you get, the less you CAN move.  Similarly, our muscles stay elastic and strong with use. When we quit using them, they become weak.  So it is important to keep moving; use your joints in their full range of motion, engage your muscles fully.

Mom went ahead and signed up for a membership after her ‘free week’—I’m proud of her. Parents can be great role models no matter how old we get.

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