Senior Fitness

The Core 4 of Staying in Survival Shape

I've been teaching martial arts for almost 25 years and am coming up to teaching around 5,000 students personally. Within those 5,000 students, we've had people of both genders and of all ages. What has impressed me over the years, is how many people in their 60s and even 70s continue to train. Let me remind you that I don't teach some esoteric meditative form of mar­tial arts. I teach the same systems taught by elite military and law enforcement. I prepare people for brutal attacks, violent encounters and plain old street fights.

It isn't easy, per se, and many times it pits people in their 20s and 30s against those 60 and above. I see people who think they are way too old use effective and efficient techniques to take out people easily half their age and outside of their physical fitness level.

With that being said, I get asked many times by people in their 60s and 70s what can they do to in­crease their fitness and ability to better deal with younger adversar­ies. I tell them that it comes down to their Core 4, which are four pillars that will give them a physical base to prepare for combat. We're not talking about Mixed Martial Arts or MMA fighting here, we're talking about being able to defend yourself against the thugs who hunt you and your loved ones down. Here are the Core 4 if you're inter­ested in working on your fitness.

  1. Cardio: I'm not  expecting you to be a marathon runner, but it's certainly a good idea to have the cardio capacity to fight and more importantly, stay in the fight.   Have you ever seen a boxer wear out in the 8th, 10th or 11th round? If you're ever attacked, you'll want the energy to outlast your opponent, so several times a week you should run, swim, bike or do something that expands your cardio capacity.
  2. Lifting: Once again, I'm not expecting you  to be a power lifter, but you have to push your muscles to a point where they are getting stronger. Lifting 3-4 times a week for only 30 minutes can do just that. Crossfit is fine, lifting regular weights works and even just focusing on kettlebell work can accomplish this.
  3. Self-Defense: You must know what to do if someone throws a punch, takes you down to the ground, pulls a knife on you or sticks you up with a gun. This is where your self-defense training comes in. Training two to three times a week can accomplish this easily and is great exercise.
  4. Diet: Sorry to be a bummer here, but you must fuel yourself properly to be fast, alert and strong. I'm not saying go all vegan, but you must eat healthy every day. Some of us are already doing this and some need a major overhaul.   My suggestion is to start small and be consistent. Replace your daily fast food lunch with a salad. Have a smoothie in the morning instead of nothing or that donut. Take your afternoon Coke out and replace it with water. The point is to fuel yourself properly.

As we get older, we need every edge we can get. I hang out with those in the prepper circles, and am many times amazed at how well people have prepared for a ''Doomsday'' scenario and have plenty of food, ammo and supplies, but lack build­ ing their ''vessel'' - their body - into a fortress that can overcome a simple physical attack.

So, whether you think of this train­ ing as preparation, insurance or a way to increase your quality of life, see it as a necessity. Surviving everything from mass chaos to a mugging is made much easier by making a couple simple changes in these Core 4 areas.

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