by Pam George

Why do you train? For weight loss, big biceps, a flat stomach, a small waist, stronger legs, a bigger booty, to add muscle, to gain strength, or to train for a upcoming event?

All of those are great but do you train to live?

Training your body for life means training to function at an optimum level. Functioning throughout your day with no pain or discomfort. Training to breathe easy during exertion.

Some examples are: Climbing a hill with ease (your heart, lungs, leg strength, and endurance should be adequate for the task). Reaching behind your back to zip your shirt because your shoulder is not only strong but flexible. You can bend over and tie your shoes without getting out of breath or hurting your back or hamstring because your back and core muscle groups are able to support and move your spine and your hamstrings have adequate flexibility. You can get down on the floor to sit and rise back up without pain or discomfort which requires the ability to flex and extend your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. You can twist to the right or left and look over your shoulder for oncoming traffic as you merge onto a highway because your neck and upper body are strong and limber. You can climb over an object or jump when needed which requires strength, power, agility, and flexibility throughout your body. Your balance on one leg in multiple planes of motion is good (standing on one leg reaching over to pick something up).

When deciding to train, or if you are currently training, ask yourself if you are training to live. That big bicep will look good, but will it help you function? Can you pull and push yourself up from a supine (face up) or prone (face down) position. Can you walk or run a distance? If so how far, and is your gait smooth? Are you pain free?
Training for optimal function may keep your body from the aggravation and postural deviations that may eventually creep onto the aging body.