Like it or not, we all get old, and we will all have to deal with the physiological and psychological changes that are associated with the aging process. However, to a very large extent we have control over the degree to which those changes impact our quality of life because “we are only as old as we believe we are”. We have a very simple choice between sedentary aging that involves a myriad of negative effects resulting from inactivity, or active aging in which we can maintain a high quality of life and functionality well into our elderly years.
Attitude plays a huge role in determining the degree to which we remain active as we age, and in turn our level of activity determines the degree to which we remain functional across our lifespan. Contrary to previous belief that functional decline and illness were unavoidable and predictable aspects of aging, the emerging research on fit older athletes is clearly showing that not only do they live longer than a non-athletic population, they also are healthier in later life with a lower prevalence of disease (Garatachea et al., 2014). The research is catching up to what we have known in the CrossFit community for some time. It is the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, not age, that cause functional decline and illness, and quality of life is significantly better for those that remain fit and active throughout the course of their lifespan (Wright, V.J. 2012). Becoming an athlete, and remaining an athlete throughout life creates a “survival advantage” (Bauman et al., 2012).
RE-DEFINING THE MASTERS ATHLETE
The picture of aging that is painted for us is that we hit the peak of our physical capacity in our 20’s, start to decline noticeably in our mid to late 30’s, gain weight and become sedentary in our 40’s, show signs of illness in our 50’s, lose independence in our 60’s, finally becoming frail and decrepit in our 70’s if we happen to live that long. It is expected that we will become ill and incapacitated as we get older, and we are told that age is a major risk factor for the common diseases like coronary artery disease and diabetes. There is a pervasive theme in the older medical literature that age-based decline is predictable and inevitable. It is a bleak picture that unfortunately does become a reality for a large number of people.
An Alternative View of Aging
There is an alternate view emerging in the more recent research that is significantly more optimistic. There are biological and physiological changes that occur with aging but they are not necessarily as limiting, nor as predictable as previously thought. Research into an older athletic population as opposed to a sedentary population suggests that lifestyle and exercise is a significant factor in successful aging (Langer, 2015). A high level of fitness as we age attenuates a lot of the negative effects often associated with aging and eads to a significantly better quality of life in later years. In trained individuals, balance is better and fall risk is lower (Rogers et al., 2013) which is a major factor in maintaining independence. Major medical risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer are reduced (Reimers et al., 2012). Those that achieve a high level of fitness and continue training achieve greater life overall life expectancy. An interesting study into longevity of athletes found that Olympic Medallists that maintain fitness live on average 8% longer than an untrained population, which equates to 2.8 years of extra life (Bauman et al., 2012). For the non-elite, regular exercise across the lifespan reduces overall mortality from all causes by 40-60% (Chugh et al., 2016). The benefits of physical training for the older adult are profound. Age does not have to be synonymous with decline in function or disease.
What is the Mighty Masters program?
The Mighty Masters program is designed specifically for the Masters age group (ages 50+). Our focus is on restoring and mastering functional movement patterns which equate to increased strength, endurance, balance, bone density and range of motion. This leads to a significantly better quality of life in later years.
Greg Glassman, creator of the CrossFit methodology said “The needs of the Olympic athletes and her or his grandparents differ by degree not kind”. The Mighty Masters classes are a small group and lower intensity training environment. All workouts include extended mobility focused warm-ups and cool-downs. Strength and conditioning take place on separate days and are scaled to each athlete’s needs. This allows athletes to maximize focus on technique as well as recover from workouts appropriately.
Our Mighty Masters Coach, Trina Kerns, has 10+ years of experience working with the senior population. Her goal as a fitness professional is to help individuals improve their quality of life through movement and camaraderie. Her qualifications include CrossFit Level 1 certification and NASM Certified Personal Training.
Our motivation is not only extend the lives of our clients, but prevent a decline of functionality with age.
The goal is a life well lived!
Testimonials-Arthur (age 71):
“The Mighty Masters have been going for close to a year now and I have seen remarkable improvement in strength and agility in everyone. Speaking for myself, I have experienced significant increases in strength and stamina, sorely needed weight loss, and much greater flexibility. And the chronic and nagging back pain that was part of my life prior to retirement is largely gone.
Trina has been a great trainer for our class. While we all work the same program during our one hour sessions, Trina tailors each individual’s workout (age ranges from the 50s to the 80s with significant variations in strength, stamina, and flexibility) to maximize the results.”
Lucia (age 79):
“Trina has scaled the exercises to our abilities and needs. We do many of the CrossFit exercises, but with less intensity of the other classes. It seems to be working! I am slowly building up my strength. My posture has improved. I have new friends. And we go through the exercises in a relatively quiet atmosphere.”
When Laurie Nelson was in high school, there were no women’s sports. It wasn’t until she graduated from college that college sports started for women. Once at Pepperdine University, where the 67-year-old is an associate professor of sports medicine, Nelson started the women’s athletic program there.
This year, she finished 10th at the Reebok CrossFit Games in the Masters Women 60-Plus Division.
For about a year before she started the program, “she knew that CrossFit was not for her,” Nelson thought CrossFit was only for elite athletes, so while she encouraged others to go, she stayed away herself.
She was 64 at the time and had a “bad knee” and a “bad foot.”
”I really, really had no experience with this,” she adds.
When she started, she couldn’t do push-ups, sit-ups or proper air squats. But Nelson quickly realized CrossFit can be scaled for athletes at any level, and she turned a slow start into outstanding performances in the 2012 Open and CrossFit Games. She’s proof that you can improve your fitness at any age no matter what your goals are.
“It’s just absolutely fantastic. I can, first of all, just carry anything I want to carry: the groceries, the luggage, the rocks—I happen to like working in the garden. Whatever it is, I can do it,” she says. “Now I get a chance to be a bit of a role model for other older adults, and I really, really like that because I want them to know where I started and how you can do it.”
Who is this program for?
The Mighty Masters program is designed for anyone aged 50+ looking for a better quality of life, more independence and to feel younger again! Our classes will help you restore and master functional movement patterns which equates to increased strength, endurance, balance, bone density and range of motion.
When do you meet?
*Each class is 1 hour long*
When can I join and how much does it cost?
You can join Might Masters any time, no matter where you are physically. The cost is $35 a class to drop in or $200 per month for unlimited classes. You can purchase your first class here:
Or your monthly unlimited membership here:
You will be billed monthly for the unlimited plan. If you ever need a break from training, you can simply cancel anytime before your next billing date and you will not be charged for the next month. You can join back up when ever you're ready to start training again.