The Missing Link (part 1) My younger son Matt decided at 11 years of age to take up martial arts. Having myself dabbled in Tae Kwon Do several times in the past (never more than 6 months at any one stretch), the choice was clear-cut. It also helped that, fortuitously, Master You had just opened up a studio in our town (the next closest location was over 15 miles away). As a result, Matt stuck with it for a year and earned a red belt. Six years later, at 57, I had progressed halfway (2nd stripe) toward a 2nd degree black belt. Two subsequent injuries, an MCL from Tae Kwon Do and the lower back from lifting (bulged disc), sidelining me from any exercising for several months. Life got in the way during this period and returning to formal training never occurred. [Side note:
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May 22nd, 2018

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A Different Perspective The typical over 50 crowd has a different terrain to deal with, not only from a bodily standpoint, but a mental perspective as well. The majority of my generation that has finally decided to reenter the fitness community has most likely been sitting on the sidelines for a decade or longer. Their vision of what they expect to accomplish can vary greatly from those in their 20s and 30s. Going Back to School Trying to recapture the baby boomers’ physical health too quickly, particularly at the outset, is not an ideal methodology. Jumping into the ‘deep end of the pool’ is a likely recipe for trouble. Why? Their muscle/tendon/ligament complex is not organized, they don’t operate as a unit. When one’s physique has been on hiatus from any strenuous challenges, such as lifting weights (the linchpin of my platform), reintroducing those
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March 30th, 2018

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Your Fitness After 50    Welcome to FAI Back in 2016 I ran across an email announcing a new fitness initiative call Functional Aging Institute.  The title was intriguing because, since redirecting my career path toward personal training, my focus has been on the baby boomer generation.  I immediately recognized Dan Ritchie and Cody Sipe’s names, knowing them as well respected members of the fitness community since the turn of the millennium. Their website provided a detailed prospectus, outlining the goals of FAI.  Upon downloading said prospectus, my excitement grew as I read through the presentation.  Their understanding of the over 50 community in terms of both the business opportunity they present to gyms and trainers going forward plus the responsibility we have toward that populace mirrored my own mindset.  Finally, someone in a position to have a direct impact was stepping up to the
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February 2nd, 2018

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Tai Chi as a form of exercise has the attention of the medical community as an important alternative therapy for dealing with chronic pain.  In the May/June, 2017 edition of Scientific American Mind, an article entitled, “Rethinking Relief” the author talks about chronic pain sufferers such as those with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. The traditional approach to dealing with this chronic pain has been to dispense pain-killing drugs.  But with the explosion of cases revolving around opioid addiction, the medical community is searching for alternative methods of helping those with chronic pain. “To treat people more effectively ‘will require an important shift in how we think about pain,’ says David Shurtleff, the deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health . . . ‘We now understand that pain is not just a sensation but a brain state,’ Shurtleff explains. ‘And mind-body interventions
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April 24th, 2017

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Tai Chi is an exercise modality that lots of people talk about and yet, few truly understand what it is and how it can help you and your clients. First of all, let’s define Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a martial art that utilizes gentle, flowing movements t0 enhance health in             the body and the mind. Yes, Tai Chi is a martial art.  It started hundreds of years ago as a fighting style.  There are a handful of different styles of Tai Chi, but the most popular one is the Yang style.  It has changed from a fighting style into what we now call “movement meditation.”  It is characterized by the slow, flowing motions that you probably associate with Tai Chi.  These gentle movements are easy on the joints and provide many proven physical benefits such as improving
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February 17th, 2017

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  I’m going to ask a very personal question for each of you to think about.  What is your GREATEST concern about your health for the rest of your life?  Until recently, most people would have said cancer or heart disease; today the major health concern on our planet is losing brain function as we age, being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, dementia or Parkinson's. So I have some exciting news: Recent research is supporting an idea worth spreading -- changing your aging brain can be as simple as “child’s play”! I’m 64 and have been passionate about exercise and movement most of my life in order to overcome congenital spinal challenges – the more I move, the less pain I feel and the better my body and brain function. My brilliant mother did crossword puzzles and games all her life, read 2 or 3 books
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February 17th, 2017

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Try This Simple Tai Chi Move With Your Older Clients to Improve Their Balance (this is the last in a series of guest blog posts on the benefits of Tai Chi) So how can Tai Chi help your clients in their everyday lives? Let’s look at the move in the form called Pushing Chi. It is a really simple move. Here are the basics: The most important thing about Pushing Chi is to learn to move from the dan tian. As you begin, with one foot forward, bring your hands to the level of your dan tian. As you bring your weight forward, let your hands drift out away from your body. As you bring your weight back, bring your hands back to the dan tian. Since the breathing is very easy to add to this movement, you can incorporate the breathing pattern right
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November 16th, 2016

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Tai Chi for the Body, Breathing, Mind, Chi and Spirit (this is the fifth guest blog post in a series on Tai Chi)   Unlike many popular forms of exercise Tai Chi is about much more than just training the body.  In fact, we could say that Tai Chi is a holistic practice which is why so many older adults are so drawn to it.  Below I explain the 5 levels of learning in Tai Chi.   Regulating the body, breathing, mind, chi and spirit  There are 5 levels of learning in Tai Chi and they progress in a ladder fashion. One cannot regulate the breathing before learning to regulate the body. The ultimate goal of regulation is no regulation. In other words, once you master regulating the breathing, you don’t actually work on your breathing as you do the form. It comes naturally
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November 15th, 2016

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Could This ONE Tai Chi Move Save Your Client’s Life? (this is the fourth guest blog post in a series on Tai Chi)   Let’s discuss how Tai Chi can help your clients in their everyday lives.  There is a move in the form called Kick, Smash and Box the Ears.  It’s deliciously violent! But more than that, it actually helps your clients understand how to balance and avoid common falls with simple tripping obstacles.   Here is the move in the form: Your weight must be completely on one side in order for you to kick and then hold the knee up to smash, and then control your step down to box the ears. This is great practice for learning the concept of substantial and insubstantial. It is great to start with just stepping side to side. Then step side to side and
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November 11th, 2016

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Tai Chi: “It’s better than a glass of wine!” (this is the third blog post in a series on Tai Chi) The above quote is an actual proclamation from one of my students at the end of class one night. I told you this is for the everyday person! Let's take some time to look through all the things that you can expect from learning this relaxing, slow martial art. The benefits of including Tai Chi into your exercise regimen are numerous. Because of the slow, meditative approach to movement, some people question it as an exercise modality since the aerobic component is not high. You should not dismiss it, however, simply because you might not break a sweat doing it! The intensity of this form of exercise can be increased or decreased depending on the depth of the postures and the duration of
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November 10th, 2016

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