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Why Do We Train; What Do We Want?

Recently, on a large over-50 fitness-related Facebook group I contributed to, I asked the group what aspects of fitness they would improve instantly if the had the power to do so. Of the 149 who responded, their answers ranked, roughly, as follows:

Body composition/nutrition 36%

Strength/muscle size 24

Endurance 24

Mobility 12

Other 4

In another post, I asked for the split for driving factors for each person in terms of athletics (performance capacity) or aesthetics (appearance). That split was almost exactly 50/50.

The take-home message? I think that its fascinating that, while longevity and quality of life were mentioned in both responses, they were not significant focal points for either. Looking good is at least as important for our age group as any other. And why not? It feels good to be recognized for our efforts and to experience a sense of reward that is prompted by that recognition. I suppose that's why many of these groups are mostly a showcase for how great we can still look, and why it's worth all the hard work.

Maybe the health-span and longevity benefits are still, while important for fitness enthusiasts our age group, not quite as much of a motivator as looking great in (or out) of a pair of jeans.

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