We got the chance to chat with 74-year-old Kantilal Chiba to discuss the senior mobility exercises and workout routine that he follows to stay healthy.
My mobility is addressed by everything that I do in my workouts.
I work out five or six times a week, and I start every session with a five-minute warm-up of "animal moves" that work my whole body. I'll do moves called the bear, the monkey, and the frog, which I learned using the GMB Fitness method. Their philosophy on fitness is a perfect fit for me—they focus on functional movement, and you can watch all of their workout videos online.
The animal movements ensure that my body is warmed up and that all of my joints are prepared for the workout, and that I'm also mentally prepared. You really need strength, flexibility, and control in order to work out like this. I make my workouts skill-based, so that each time I train, I'm able to learn and become proficient in selected skills. The advantage of this is that your goal is specific, which makes you fully engaged both mentally and physically.
At the end of last year, I was working on the gymnastics rings everyday. But I felt that I had neglected my agility and movement for too long, so now, on my rest days I work on cartwheels, rolls, jump squats, and free movement. This routine has given me a better balance. Right now, I'm working on the GMB Fitness "rings two" program on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which is a pure gymnastic rings workout. It's very focused on strength, while teaching various skills that eventually will become a flow, to transition from one skill to another.
After each session, I end with a series of stretches. Or, if I'm feeling energetic enough, I do the Five Tibetan Rites, which is basically an ancient yoga-like practice that's a really well-balanced set of exercises.
I do what I am doing because I enjoy it for my health and well-being. I train in a beautiful public park in Australia, on my own, without any pressure. I'll take rest breaks of up to 90 seconds if I need it. My understanding of mobility is the ability to move your body with control, which I feel like I've excelled at. I'm not sure how we are supposed to feel at this age, but I have no hesitation in joining my grandson on the trampoline or on the floor or in the pool. We play all of the time.
As told to Rachel Lapidos on March 11, 2020
For tips on practicing a well-rounded senior exercise routine, read the following rules from trainers. Also read about Kathy Bergen, an 80-year-old track and field star who has broken a lot of records.
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