Functional Fitness for Baby Boomers

Foremost, while baby boomers are the most active of all generations, sadly some 71 million Americans suffer from Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). According to the American Heart Association, this figure is expected to rise by 130% by 2050, increasing the need for cardiac bypass surgery. This is why not only functional fitness, but overall fitness is so crucial for a healthy adult. Functional fitness can be defined as training for fitness that affects you in daily life activities.

For example, how can doing a strength exercise help you walk down the stairs more efficiently? Functional training begins by targeting the core muscles (lower back and abdomen) while incorporating a strength training exercise. It is pivotal to engage the core to get stronger because it’s the base of your body. Every muscle can be affected negatively if your core isn’t strong, especially the lower back. This cannot only result in muscular imbalances, but serious injuries can occur.

Following I have developed a functional routine with using a variety of equipment in the gym which will not only develop a stronger function, but get you aesthetically fit in the process.

1. Interval training

While most of us are aware of the benefits of interval training with aerobic exercise, most have not applied it to our current weight training and exercise routines. Interval training with anaerobic benefits can increase calorie expenditure and develop lean muscle for baby boomer women. An example of interval training anaerobically would be to perform a set of push-ups (assisted is fine, too) as fast as you can, and upon completion to immediately perform a set of one-arm pronated dumbbell rows (palms down when rowing) using 85% of your overall maximum capability. Do not worry about getting bulky by lifting heavy weight. The heavier weight incorporates more muscle fibers and this increased utilization of muscle fibers results in more calories being burned. The push-ups will keep your heart rate up while the row will bring it down, but still challenge your strength. Both are tremendous for function when it comes to building a stronger core. Remember that your back is your biggest muscle in the upper body and essential to strengthen for posture. Optimal posture results into proper function. Two sets of 12 repetitions should be the goal for both exercises with limited rest in between.

2. The Wobble/Rocker Board and BOSU

Many more gyms across America are providing these unstable pieces of equipment. These boards and BOSUs enhance everything from better balance and coordination to overall athletic performance that will result into fewer injuries for baby boomer women. Many female boomers still keep up with sports such as tennis, squash, and golf. These rocker boards/BOSUs even increase the range of motion in your ankles, which in turn, aids in overall injury performance and a great functional work out! Therefore, you can exercise on a treadmill, elliptical machine or even a stair master faster with more calories being burned that will only result into being a better athlete for the sport of your choice. Besides balance, you can even perform stationary lunges and squats using this board and BOSU, which will incorporate your core. Squats are a multi-joint movement and provide primary function to their likeness of sitting for daily life activities. Three sets of 12 repetitions is best for overall function training. Additionally, for the advanced boomer you can increase your upper-body strength by holding on to the board and performing a plank. This also will create better tension and overall core strength. Three sets of 30 seconds will be beneficial while performing the plank. The board and BOSU creates an imbalance in your body which results into many more calories being burned while you perform all of these exercises.

3. Band/Tubing-Bands

These pieces of equipment are a wonderful way to change the intensity and speed in your strength training. Moreover, boomer women may change the intensity and speed for greater weight loss or slow it down for a more functional workout. By creating a functional workout with the bands, you can use corrective methods for your body by using the bands to prevent injuries depending on what muscles are over or under active in your body. Furthermore, you can perform a variety of exercises to target just about every body part from squats, laterals, rows and even curls using the bands. Two sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise performed using the bands will be sufficient. Note that the darker the color band, the harder the resistance.


About the Author: Master Trainer Shaun Zetlin has successfully run his own personal training business in the New York Metro area. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Shaun here in the comment section below. For further information about this article or to learn about Shaun’s new book, Push-up Progression Workout for a Stronger Core, check out his website at:

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