Mastering CrossFit: Older adults take on challenge of living active lifestyle

By Tom Beckwith

From Daily News Journal

“Zero.”

This time last year, that’s what 72-year-old Alton Miles would have told anyone who asked him what he did for exercise.

“Household chores,” is how his wife Lynda, also 72, would have answered the same question.

These days you’ll find both of them lifting weights, doing burpees, riding exercise bikes and a host of other activities associated with the exercise regimen known as CrossFit.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program consisting of a mix of aerobic exercise, body weight exercises, and Olympic weightlifting. It is constant functional movements performed at high intensity.

Three days a week, the husband and wife work out with a group of CrossFit Masters, the title given those ages 44 and up at CrossFit Barbell Battalion on Rice Street in downtown Murfreesboro.

They began the workouts despite Lynda’s bad hip and knee.

“My knee has a plate and eight screws in it,” she said, “but, it’s getting better.”

So what inspired Alton and Lynda to head to the gym instead of the couch?  Their son, Tim Miles, a CrossFit trainer who began his experience three years ago and has lost 70 pounds. Lynda Miles says they can now do things they’ve never done before.

CrossFit for masters is different than the regular CrossFit regimen. Masters are assessed, taking into consideration the interaction of age, fitness, competitive orientation and injury factors. Workouts are adapted to an individual’s abilities using scaling and substitution strategies.

For Alton, the difficult part of the fitness program is “the fast motion,” but his wife says “everything” is a challenge.

“Mentally I can see myself doing it (the activities), but physically it’s all I can do, so I modify,” Lynda Miles said.

Barbell Battalion co-owner and trainer Alex O’Bryan said he wanted to make sure he was doing his part to help older adults to stay active, so he started reaching out to potential clients.

“We felt a need to reach out to this segment of our community, to keep people moving.  If you don’t use it, you lose it,” O’Bryan said.

Some people may think CrossFit is for young people in top physical condition, Jenni Ricks, 45, said “it’s extremely doable for anybody.”

Barbell Battalion is located at 468 Rice Street, Murfreesboro. Reach O’Bryan at 615-337-9332.

It’s not too late to get in shape

To reduce the likelihood of developing noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the World Health Organization recommends these guidelines for adults 65 and older:

  • Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity during the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in 10-minute bouts
  • Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done two or more days a week.
  • When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

Source: World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/

bengarves

Editor-in-Chief and founder of WeRCrossFit.com. Web developer for the stars of CrossFit, and all-around fitness enthusiast and fan.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: