Centenarian Decathlon

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As a reader of my newsletter, you’re no doubt interested in your long-term health and fitness. You’ve heard me talk before about the Centenarian Decathlon: Ten basic, functional movement patterns or capabilities that, if we can do them in our 100s, puts us far ahead of other Centenarians. The key to being able to do the Centenarian Decathlon is understanding this:

It’s not for old people.
It’s for every people.

Everyone has slightly different goals. Therefore you get to make your own Decathlon. Here are a few suggestions that work for most:

  1. Get down on the floor and back up off the floor (hip and leg mobility/strength, balance)
  2. Reach up to a high cabinet for a cup or a platter (shoulder and spine mobility)
  3. Walk a quarter mile (balance, leg strength, basic cardio)
  4. Go up and down a flight of stairs without holding onto a railing (balance, leg strength, basic cardio)
  5. Pick up something from the floor like a bag of groceries or your grandchild
  6. Get in and out of a car without assistance from a person or assistive device
  7. Drive a vehicle safely OR be able to use some form of transportation (bus, Lyft/Uber, etc.)
  8. Be fully aware of date, place, time (cognitive function)
  9. Basic use of electronic devices like cell phone, computer, tablet, television (hand/finger function, vision, basic cognition)
  10. Use the toilet and shower independently (core and leg strength, balance)

Okay, so you have your list. Great. But what’s important here isn’t so much the items on your list. It’s the realization that being able to do your list when you’re 100 requires being proactive now.

BEING REACTIVE… is like getting to 95 and thinking, “Wow, I wish I’d done a few daily exercises when I was 60 (or 70 or 80) so I could do the Centenarian Decathlon now”.

BEING PROACTIVE… helps you insightfully imagine what it will be like to be 90 or 100 and how you’d like to experience those later years. Let that thinking guide you to do things today (your 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s) that will help you experience your 90s and 100s with dignity and independence. Are you thinking you won’t be alive in your 90s or 100s? Well, here’s the thing. Most people will be. Just sayin’.

The world was home to nearly half a million centenarians (people ages 100 and older) in 2015, more than four times as many as in 1990, according to United Nations estimates. And this growth is expected to accelerate: Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe in 2050. Source: Pewresearch

The StayAhead philosophy is not about being obsessed with working out. It’s about doing a few smart exercises every day that takes 15, 30, 45 minutes, depending on your time and energy for that day. Even a simple 15-minute Range-of-Motion workout will make a huge difference 20, 30, or 40 years down the road.



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