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Functionally Fit

Meet Debbi, age 50. She is our Life Begins at 50 Person of The Month, for June, 2018! She is not only a wife and stepmom, but Debbi is also a Certified Personal Trainer. She likes spending time on the beach, hiking, and dancing! This dynamo may stand only 5 feet tall, but she is a powerhouse. She resides in Tuxedo, NY, and her philosophy is, "Life is ever changing and sometimes out of our control. In order to best cope, we need to be in the best shape as possible, both mentally, physically and nutritionally. Wellness as a lifestyle should be embraced by everyone especially as we get older." She is a huge proponent of "functional fitness" and uses it in just about all of the programs she creates for clients.

Marital Status: Married

Occupation: Certified Personal Trainer

How many days a week she

works out: 5

Favorite types of exercise:

Weight lifting, aerobics, calisthenics/body weight, and Yoga

What is functional fitness?

"Being fit is obviously important. Being functionally fit is imperative" Debbi says.

Fitness is a very personal thing. Like medication, an exercise program should be prescribed based on individual needs, goals, etc. One person may need a program that will help them with their weight loss endeavor, while another may be training for a specific sport. There is one particular type of exercise program that, regardless of all other desired fitness goals, is needed by all. I mentioned that Debbi is a huge proponent of functional fitness. That is because she believes, as I do, that it is important that we focus on the muscles and movement patterns that we use in our everyday lives, especially as we get up in age! Whether its picking up that bag of groceries, or lowering and raising yourself out of the chair, these are the kinds of movements you will always use in some form or another. While there may be some immediate value in building your biceps and toning your derrière, these things may not be as useful in the long run. Senior citizens, post-physical therapy patients, and people with debilitating injuries and/or chronic illness, benefit from the kinds of exercise programs that are more practical in nature.

The Benefits

Debbi expands on the concept of functional fitness by explaining, "Core muscles are used daily when performing common tasks like picking up, carrying and putting away groceries. Functional exercises use multiple muscle groups and joints rather than isolating single joints and muscles. These multi-joint exercises help keep people moving properly especially as they age."

So what kinds of exercises should we be doing, in order to be more "function" oriented? Believe it or not, some of them are the ones that you either do already, or hear about all of the time. After all, a squat is the same movement we do (or at least we should do) when we sit. When sitting down, most of us don't even use our core and posterior muscles! We simply get to a point and let gravity take over, falling back into the chair. These common everyday practices allow certain muscles to be neglected, thereby making them weaker, creating muscle imbalances, and a host of other issues. Simple exercises like squats, push ups, and planks, all focus on strengthening those neglected muscles that aid us in some of the most basic tasks.

Summing it all up...exercising in general can be great, and I'm not saying that you can't work on those vanity muscles. Go ahead, blast those biceps, and sculpt those pecs. But you also may want to start thinking ahead to those days when simple tasks like opening a door, or getting up from the sofa may not be as easy as it once was. Perhaps you're already there. 50Grand was built on this principal. Debbi left a great paying job in telecommunications to pursue a full time career as a trainer, because she is so passionate about fitness in general, but moreover because of her belief in working on those areas that not only strengthen your health and well-being, but also help keep you active and independent.

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