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Train for longevity and to maintain functionality

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When we talk about longevity, we are not just speaking on the quantity of life but also on the quality.

Longevity encompasses our ability to move functionally throughout our lifetime. Ideally, we would want to be 80-years-old and still doing triathlons and hitting PR's. At the very least, we want to maintain our independence in seemingly simple tasks like carrying shopping, getting on and off the toilet, and playing with our kids/grandkids. Below, we have highlighted some training principles that aid in longevity:

1. Strength training

There are many benefits to strength training at all stages of life. As we age, the development and maintenance of muscle mass become even more critical in counteracting illness, maintaining bone density, preventing falls, decreasing the rate of neuromuscular and balance deterioration, and improving overall well-being.

2. Avoid stress overload and overtraining

It is essential to consider that exercise is a stressor that is perceived by the body the same way as the other stressors in our life. These outside stressors (financial, professional, physical, emotional) tend to be present in more significant amounts in adults, as most people have greater responsibilities during adulthood than during adolescence. From a physical standpoint and also due to these psychological stressors, most people will not be able to sustain the same volumes of exercise at 50-years-old that they sustained as a 20-year-old athlete. Therefore, when training for longevity, the intensity and frequency of sessions must be gauged with this in mind.

3. Emphasise mobility/working range of motion through all joints

In addition to resistance training coupled with adequate recovery periods, mobility is an aspect of training that must be prioritised. Data has also shown that in terms of mobility, shoulder, trunk, and hip mobility, start to decline the most rapidly in the fourth and fifth decades of life. Because movement in these areas is critical for independence and functionality, mobility and strength through these areas must be emphasised and incorporated more heavily in training programmes as we age.

4. Focus in on the hips

Do movements, preferably loaded ones, that involve some sort of hip hinge. This will translate into simple tasks we don’t think about like getting up off the ground and going from seated to standing and vice versa. This movement is critical for effortless tasks like bending over to tie our shoes, so this “hip hinge” pattern of movement should be trained often to ensure functionality throughout our lifetimes. Movements like the deadlift, kettlebell swing, and good mornings are exercises that work the hip hinge and require little technicality, while also translating seamlessly into daily movement patterns outside of the gym.

5. Move things

Think: pushes, pulls, carries. These types of movements mimic the activities we do daily while simultaneously working midline stability (our core), muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Farmers carry, prowler pushes, and sled work are great examples of these movements.

Moving things from Point A to Point B is arguably one of most valuable indicators of functional movement and health, so training this in the gym is a valuable asset in terms of longevity. Think about walking: this is simple displacement but it is one of the first things to deteriorate as we age. Studies have shown that 31.7% of adults over the age of 65 report difficulty in walking over a kilometre.

Key takeaway:

At a certain point, when our life goals shift away from being a competitive or sport specific athlete, our training goals must also shift. Training for longevity is a direction in which we can shift our focus so that we can maintain functionality and quality of life as we age. Programming should include displacement under loads (just think pushing, pulling, or carrying heavy things as we move), coupled with strength and mobility work, especially through the hips. These training patterns, with the help of sufficient recovery time, will assist in our fluidity of movement as we age, and will increase the likelihood of us continuing to live a full and quality life when we are 80+ years-old.

Activate runs a twice weekly ActivateMasters programme which pays particular attention to strength training for longevity. Visit www.activate.ie to find out more.

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Black Valley broadband installation gets underway

Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry. The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland […]

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Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry.

The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland to be electrified but broadband in the region is expected to be live in the second half of the year with residents already able to pre-order their connection. 
“It is well known that Black Valley was one of the last locations to get electricity due to its remoteness and challenging terrain, so we are extremely pleased to be commencing the rollout of our high-speed fibre network now with a view to connections being available later this year,” said National Broadband Ireland Deployment CEO, TJ Malone.
  
“We are determined to ensure the rollout is as fast as possible and connection is made easy for Black Valley residents, and we have a plan in place to work around the location’s all-important tourist season.

“Black Valley is a symbol of NBI’s mission that no area will be left behind no matter how rural or remote and we are delighted that this beautiful location moves one step closer to high-speed fibre today, with all the opportunities that will unlock for the local community.” 

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Players of the year don’t duck a challenge

They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh […]

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They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh weren’t going to shy away from the latest task on their home patch.

The two top footballers in the country teamed up to launch a charity duck race which will form part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Killarney, where they both live.

When the working day was done, busy secondary school teachers David and Louise had some great quack and they got caught up in the spirit of the occasion along the scenic River Deenagh in Killarney National Park.

The reigning Player of the Year and Ladies Player of the Year award winner demonstrated their competitive streak when they expressed confidence that their own ducks will win The Deenagh Duck Dash on the same river at noon on Monday, March 18.

But, luckily, festival chairman Jason Clifford was there to keep the peace and he even threatened to cry fowl and brandish a card at the star players – with duck yellow deemed the most appropriate colour.

Considered by many to be the greatest players of all time in their respective codes, between them, Fossa hotshot David and Corca Dhuibhne star Louise have an incredible nine All-Star awards.

But they might be tempted to swap one if their duck wins the fun-filled race on the day after St Patrick’s Day.

All proceeds from the event will go to St Francis Special School in Beaufort, Killarney which provides specialist education for young people with learning disabilities.
Festival chairman Jason remarked: “This isn’t just a race – it’s great fun for the whole family.
“Picture the scene with a flotilla of vibrant rubber ducks racing down a winding river, their owners cheering them on and all in the name of a fantastic cause”.
Super prizes await the winners, the cost of a rubber duck to participate in the race is just €5 and they can be bought online at https://stpatricksfestivalkillarney.ie/.

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