FAS 2022 Recap
Early this month I went to Denver, CO to attend the 2022 Functional Aging Summit. It was two days of intense learning, networking, and enjoying being around friends and colleagues that I had not seen in a while.
I learned quite a lot at the Summit. And I want to share with you what the fitness and wellness industry leaders are talking about on how to age well and maintain our ability to do the things we need, love, and dream for as long as possible. And how to feel, move and look our best at any age.
To kick off the event on Friday, keynote speaker Dr. Michelle Tollefson talked about "Lifestyle Medicine for Women." She is a breast cancer survivor, a physician, and an associate professor in the Health Professions Department at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
She passionately discussed women's healthcare, lifestyle medicine, and how to lead healthier and happier lives. For example, she talked about the importance of physical activity and a whole-grain, plant-based diet to improve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats; and sexual, bone, and breast health.
Sarah Apgar, a former firefighter and Platoon Leader for the US Army, wants to "Reinvent Strength Training." I loved how she talked about "moving" weights instead of "lifting" weights. In real life, we move things and objects (resistance) in different planes of motion, in a three-dimensional way. She shared studies showing that "Imbalance Resistance Training" (IRT) can help us improve grip strength, build a sturdy trunk, and lubricate our joints. All three biomarkers for longevity and factors that can affect our aging trajectory.
I loved Hartmut Broring's presentation. Broring is a German-born physical therapist who talked about "The Effects of Aging on Human Performance." Learning how physical activity can positively affect our pulmonary, muscle-skeletal, cognitive, immune systems, and social aspects of life as we age was fascinating. His final message was: "Do not look at exercise as a tool to add years to your life, but rather a way to add quality to your years."
Pete McCall talked about "Dynamic Anatomy" and the importance of understanding human biomechanics to create effective exercise programs to guide our clients to success. He talked about how standing exercises are far better than seated ones. And how free weights are superior to exercise machines.
Pete's was one of my favorite presentations, along with Dr. Evan Osar's "Glute Training for Pre and Post Hip Surgery." So many of our clients at Fit Factor have had hip surgery. Dr. Osar shared strategies to improve low back and hip function, determine whether some people need to strengthen the glute while others need to stretch it, and how often other parts of our body, such as the trunk, knees, and ankles, can contribute to hip issues.
Saturday's keynote speaker Cathy Richards is a coach and strategist for wellness and healthy aging. She is the author of "BOOM: 6 Steps to a Longer, Healthier Life". Her message for a strong body, sharp brain, and endless energy resonates with anyone willing to live a full and vibrant life, regardless of age or limitations.
Her talk was "Will You Be Fit or Frail at 85?". It was a wake-up call for all of us in the audience. What do we look like now? What do we feel like at this point in our lives? What activities fill our days? How our current habits and lifestyle are contributing to creating our 85-year-old selves? And how small habits can mean significant results in maximizing physical health, brain function, and energy levels at all ages.
That was all I could fit into my schedule. But there was so much more. FAI brought over 35 speakers, from medical doctors to physical therapists to Tai-Chi Instructors. It was an extraordinary summit all around. So, hats off to Dr. Dan Ritchie, Dr. Cody Sipe (and the entire FAI community), the speakers, and us, fitness professionals who took the time and resources to show up willing to learn the newest science-based information to impact and improve the quality of life of our clients.
Here are the six common denominators that I gathered throughout the conference.
Research cannot find anything better than exercise to improve longevity and quality of life. Period! So move your body, and move it often.
We should focus on whole-grain, plant-based foods. That does not mean cutting out meat entirely, but I think we can all benefit from eating more fruits and veggies daily, right?
We must find ways to manage our stress. Exercise can be a way. Meditation, yoga, reading, a hobby, volunteer or community work, or whatever we need to do to decompress now and then.
Optimize sleep. We need 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep daily. That is when we reap the benefits of exercising, restoring and repairing brain cells and recovering muscle tissues.
Prioritize meaningful relationships. Staying connected with friends and family has crucial benefits to our brain health. The more people we connect with over a day, the happier our brain will be.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking water is one of the best things we can do to age well.
Call us today if you want to know more about how we can help you to be fit at 85.
It's never too early and never too late to start!
See you soon.