I’ve written in the past about topics ranging from nutrition to exercise, sleep, recovery, mobility and motivation. No matter the subject, the article has always tied back to this point: All of these elements play an important role in having the best quality of life possible. A term often associated with this mentality is ADLs, short for activities of daily living.
What Are ADLs?
There are six fundamental activities of daily living:
• Bathing — getting into and out of a tub or shower.
• Dressing — putting on any necessary items of clothing, as well as undressing.
• Transferring — getting into and out of a bed, chair, etc.
• Toileting — getting to and from the toilet.
• Continence — maintaining control of bowel and bladder function.
• Eating — the ability to feed yourself.
Performing most ADLs requires our major joint systems to have a certain amount of flexibility, strength and balance for each task. (For a review of the major joint systems please refer to my WAG article from this past May titled “The Hip Bone’s Connected To The…” )
One of the top questions that I’ll often get is: “So what are the best exercises to help as I get older?” In my opinion, there are three exercises that we can all benefit from to help us age as gracefully as possible. Keep in mind that there are a ton of exercises that I could list, and I’ll cover more in a future column.
How many times have we heard about that person’s “back going out” when they went to pick up something off the floor?
Getting in and out of a chair? It starts with a good, deadlift/hip hinge. Your hips travel back with a softening of the knees, then your knees bend more, as you continue lowering yourself down onto the chair. Otherwise it’s the guy who needs to hold onto something in front of him, bend his spine forward and flop down quickly onto a seat.
We are constantly picking things up off the floor, along with our children and pets.
Some of the best fitness coaches and educators in the world today will actually say that the deadlift — in which you lift a barbell or dumbbells off the floor to the height of the hips and then down again — may be the most important exercise for longevity and overall body strength.
Sometimes, not only do you need to pick something up, but then you need to carry it around as well. Groceries, the laundry basket and a suitcase are more of the common examples. Between wrestling and fitness presenting, I have taken tons of flights over the years, and the amount of people who cannot even put their luggage in an overhead compartment is astounding and sad.
There are so many different types of carrying variations that can be performed in the gym. Some popular carrying variations are — farmer carries (holding weights in each hand), unilateral carry (one arm) and waiter walk (overhead).
Get up (get down)
How many grandparents can easily get down to the ground to play with their grandkids? How easily can any of us get up from the floor without grabbing on to any and all available apparatuses while simultaneously grimacing and holding backs, knees and shoulders in anguish?
In a study published in the European Journal of Cardiology, Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araújo had more than 2,000 patients ages 51 to 80 participate in an exercise program at Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro. With this he created the SRT, the sitting-rising test.
Araújo noticed that many of his patients, particularly older people, had trouble with ordinary motions such as bending down — difficulty indicative of a loss of flexibility. As people age, he knew, reduced muscle power and loss of balance can greatly increase the risk of dangerous falls.
There are many ways to exercise with ground to standing drills, with the Turkish Get Up being one of the most popular. For those unfamiliar with exercises that challenge you to get up and down off the floor such as the TGU (see photograph), please feel free to reach out to me for more information.
In the end, there is one word that it all comes back to — movement. Move. Keep moving. Don’t stop moving.
Back in middle-school science class, we learned Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion: A body in motion stays in motion and one at rest stays at rest.
There are gym rats who “live to exercise.” Not everyone is a gym rat. You don’t necessarily have to live to exercise. But you probably need to exercise to live.