How To Train Your Body | Get Good at What You Want Your Body to Do

Contributed by Jennifer Beemer, Certified Personal Trainer | Spring, 2015

Train your body for adaptability. | Picture of grandfather kneeling as little girl waters flowers. | Senior FitnessMany grandchildren today would question my title for this blog: How to Train Your Body. However, movie-going Children of today would say, “That’s supposed to be How to Train Your Dragon.”  Well, yes, but what if my body is my dragon?

Actually, our human bodies can be amazing at taking on personal challenges and perform functions that it is trained to do. This is true even if our bodies feel like fiery dragons!


I used to kick the grandkids’ toys out of the way, but now I can step over them!”

-Sharon, Strength and Balance class participant

“There’s a position I haven’t been able to get into on the ground while gardening for the past few years, but I just did it over the weekend. Here, let me show you….”

-Grace, Strength and Balance class participant, age 91

After 25+ years as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I have to say I’m still a big fan of the human body.  What is it that I love?  Six pack abs?  Legs that “go up to there?”  Chiseled arms?  No.  My favorite thing about the human body is its adaptability!  Did you realize that your body is designed to get good at whatever you train it to do?

Challenge and Train Your Body

Let me say that again- your body is designed to get good at whatever you train it to do!  That is the principle of adaptability at work. Present your body with a challenge, and with training it will adapt to be able to meet the challenge.  Do you want to be a tightrope walker?   Scuba dive?  Run a marathon?  Climb Mount Everest? They’re all doable.  With training.

What if your goals are more down-to-earth?  What is it you want to do?  Pick up a grandchild?  Step over grandchildren’s toys in the living room?  Climb the stairs to the second floor of your house?  Safely exit the tub/shower combo at a hotel?  Walk on the beach? Carry a cup of coffee across the room without tripping over the cat? Weed your flower bed and stand back up again?

Train Your Body to Reach Your Goals

First of all, you can accomplish adaptability by participating in an exercise plan that focuses on the adaptations a body needs. Certainly, these needs include building the strength, flexibility, mobility, and stability.  Hence, look for a creative class or program that gets you off the machines and using your body in all the various movements that your chosen activities require: pushing, pulling, lifting, bending, squatting, rotating, sitting, standing.

There are many options in the area for active aging adults to work toward their goals. First of all, think about the results you want, and look for a program that will help you achieve them. Next, check out the resources in your area.  There are walking groups, Strength and Balance classes, Functional Circuits, dance cardio classes such as Zumba Gold, etc.

Above all, my challenge for you is this:  take a look at your weekly routine, and ask yourself- “what am I training my body to do?”


Other Article by Jennifer Beemer: Fitness Intervention for Fall Prevention

Vibrant Senior Options Resource Guide

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