In order for the people in our lives to continue to perform well, they need to take care of their bodies

By Kyle Kercher

Like many Flathead Valley residents, my wife and I had family visit in July. Of course we went up to Logan Pass, went hiking toward Hidden Lake, traveled to the east side to Two Medicine for a boat tour and explored a variety of other attractions and local tourist spots. It seemed like every hour we had something to do or stop for as we stared in awe.

We love spending time with our family, who happen to be from nearly opposite ends of North America — South Texas and Vancouver Island. However, something stood out this trip that worried us about future visits. We’re seeing their balance, coordination, stability, and overall physical functionality deteriorate faster than what can be attributed simply to the aging process. Movements as basic as climbing stairs and squatting to a chair have become really challenging.

In order for the people in our lives to continue to perform well, they need to take care of their bodies. The result of the behaviors they choose to do (or not do) can be seen everywhere from the local health club and grocery store to hiking trails and walking up the stairs. Hiking was a great assessment of these attributes, because the variables and activities were outside of their normal routines.

The behavior I’m advocating for is simple, sustainable strength training. We can get away without it in our 30s and 40s, but once our 50s and 60s roll around, we have to strength train to take care of our muscles. After all, we’re going to need our musculature to move us for years to come. We can’t expect our bones and connective tissues to support our bodies without the assistance of competent muscles.

Despite what many health and fitness professionals may suggest, strength training doesn’t need to be complicated. With YouTube or Google, you can find images or video descriptions showing you what and how to do almost anything. As a simple starting point, we’ve got our parents on training plans that include four types of movements: push, pull, hip hinge, and squat.

I’d suggest many of you include the same. There are a variety of different movements that fit within each of those four categories. Here is an example from each category.

Upper Body— Push: Shoulder Press

Upper Body— Pull: Upright Row

Lower Body—Hip Hinge: Deadlift

Lower Body—Squat

TAKEAWAYS

No matter your age, you should be strength training, but especially if you’re an older adult.

YouTube and Google are great resources, but if you want additional help, you should seek out a trusted professional.

Your family and future self love you and want you to live a long time, so please develop a sustainable strength training habitat to allow your body to thrive.

Kyle is a husband, entrepreneur, author, coach, and leader in Kalispell. He leads the Competitive Edge program at the Summit Medical Fitness Center. His new book, “The Mental Game — Grit, Growth, and Mental Toughness in Athletes,” is available on Amazon or at kylekercher.com/shop. Contact Kyle at coachkercher@gmail.com.