What does strength mean to me? Sure squatting 500 pounds is a great feat but it is not the reason I strength train. I train strength to sustain a higher quality of life. Let me explain: in my youth there was a product called Life Alert. It was targeted toward seniors who fell down and couldn’t get up. That was their pitch, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I had heard stories from my friends who are emergency medical personnel about people who were stuck on the ground for hours and too weak to get up or get help. I swore to myself that would never be me and I started on my journey of strength.
Even though our strength decrease as we age, that doesn’t mean we should be weak and helpless. Strength is not just the ability to resist force but more importantly the ability to resist aging. I train so that in 30 or 40 years I won’t need a cane, walker or Rascal to get around. Strength will keep me out of a nursing home longer and help me stay independent and less of a burden to my family. I have found that it doesn’t take massive effort to achieve this type of functional strength; no more than 1 hour, 2 or 3 times a week. One of my favorite functional strength tools is the kettlebell, which essentially looks like a bowling ball with a handle on top.
One of the advantages of training with a kettlebell is the freedom to move in multiple planes of motion with resistance. When compared to other tools, such as barbells or machines which are very limited especially if you have limited time to train, the kettlebell is so versatile one could train their cardio, endurance and strength with just simple adjustments and a single kettlebell. This tool doesn’t take up much space and can travel with you anywhere. I have taken mine on vacation, to work and on hiking trips. The versatility of the kettlebell will keep you engaged and consistently improving without the monotony and boredom associated with other pieces of gym equipment, like treadmills and rowers. It is safe and highly effective for all fitness levels, including kids and seniors, brand new beginners and seasoned athletes.
Strength is relative to each individual and it’s always evolving. When you’re just getting started it may be your first unassisted squat or the first time you do a real pushup. When you’ve been training for a while it may be a 5 pound personal record (PR). For me it’s about movement, functionality, independence and setting and achieving goals. It’s having the confidence to try new things because I know that failure is the biggest part of success. The struggle is what brings value to the victory. There is no finish line. I will never be “done”. The journey is what it’s all about.