The Olympics of Aging: ​How the Seven Movements Patterns Can Make Anyone a Better “Athlete”.

I didn’t watch this years summer Olympics all that much.

Its not that I wasn’t interested its just that I don’t like to sit around and watch others being active when I can be outdoors being physically active myself.

I prefer to be participating in my own Olympic events like kayaking, running, biking, hiking and of course… fishing (when you catch as many big fish as I do it can be exhausting).

And, like the Olympians on TV, I too have been busy physically training everyday for the upcoming “Olympic” events in my life.

Consistently, six out of seven days (early mornings) every week, no matter what and no matter where I am, I physically train my body for 20-45 minutes…

Why you ask?

Well, besides the obvious health and fitness reasons, it is because I consider myself to be a serious and committed “Olympic” athlete seeking to live a Gold Medal life until my very last breath.

I hope you to consider yourself to be a committed Olympic athlete too who is seeking to perform at a Gold Medal level all the days of your life…

Webster defines an athlete as someone who is “committed to improving their physical performance”.

My guess is that you prefer not to see your physical performance steadily decline as you age?

Heck no, I imagine instead you would like to at least maintain your current level of physical performance or even better, IMPROVE it even as you age.

If you have that kind of mindset and attitude, then by definition, you my friend are an athlete.

I should tell you too, that I have very little natural athletic ability.
Most of my friends growing up and many of my current friends have a lot more genetic athletic gifted-ness than I do.

However (and this is really good news for me and maybe you too) ANYONE can improve their physical performance skills which does gradually lead to more athletic ability.

The benefits of gaining athletic ability include being able to move better in your own body, better balance, body composition, less pain and improved confidence, energy and health.

Another benefit is that you can more actively and effectively participate in all of life, including sports such as tennis, golf or whatever your sport of choice or favorite physical activity might be.

Even with my own lack of natural athletic ability, by doing the right type of training over time, at 57 years old (soon to be 58) I can perform at a moderately respectable level in nearly any sport with a little practice.

Why so? Because I have practiced getting better and stronger at the seven “primal” movement patterns of the body very consistently for many years now.

And you can do the same no matter your age or health condition and even if you have neglected practicing these movements for a long time.

Yep, you can get started now and gain ever increasing athletic ability each week pretty much for the rest of your life…
And I, for one, think that is a pretty cool thing!

It does help if you know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, etc.

So what should you do? With that in mind I would like to introduce you to the Seven Primal Movement Patterns of the Human Body along with 1-2 exercises you can do to improve your performance in those seven movement patterns.

But keep in mind that for these 7 movement patterns to work their aging and athletic “magic” you will need to be committed to mastering them over time.

Committed to mastering them does not mean having to spend hours training each day.

No, the most important thing to do is to be consistent with your training, even if it is just 10-15 minutes per day.

Even 5 minutes of focused training done every day can work “fountain of youth” miracles.

When you see the Olympic athletes performing their precision moves under pressure, you can be assured that they are able to do this because they have put in their time on a very consistent basis to master those movements.

In the little bit of the Olympics I have watched, I have to say that what these athletes are able to do truly is amazing.

What amazes me even more though, is when I see a person over the age of 50 who has never really felt “athletic” begin practicing the seven movement patterns and becoming stronger and more proficient in them.

It is an incredible moment for sure to see the joy they feel when they begin to realize an athletic potential that has laid dormant way too long…

If you would like to see your own physical performance and athletic potential awaken to ever improving levels, consider finding a way to practice the seven movements patterns listed below.

If you do, I promise you that you will gain tremendous benefits on a physical, mental/emotional and even spiritual level.
And who knows maybe someday we will see you competing in the senior Olympics:)

The Seven Movement Patterns of the Human Body

Movement Pattern Number One: Squatting.
Two great exercises for this movement are body weight or kettle bell goblet squats.

Movement Pattern Number Two: Upper Body Pull.
Three point rows, upright rows and body weight suspension rows are excellent for this movement.

Movement Pattern Number Three: Upper Body Push.
My favorite upper body push movements include all forms of push-ups and one arm overhead Kettle bell presses.

Movement Pattern Number Four: Bending/Hip Hinge.
Any form of dead lift (One leg dead lifts are best with or without resistance ) or kettle bell swings works this crucial movement.

Movement Pattern Number Five: Twisting/Rotation of the Core. Doing any strength movement with one arm or leg involves some rotation of the core. Another great rotation/core movement is the diagonal wood chop, which is also an excellent warm-up for all exercise movements.

Movement Pattern Number Six: Striding.
The striding movement is simply walking, jogging, running, biking or jumping forward.

Movement Pattern Number Seven: Lunging.
All forms of lunging with or without resistance) obviously train this movement including stationary, forward, backwards or side lunges.

When using, designing or evaluating any exercise or fitness program, pay attention to see if it includes these seven movement patterns.

You will want to use a program that has a systematic progression for you to become better and stronger in these seven movements at least 2-3 days per week.

My program, 50FIT-Bring On the Future is a great way to start and is being used successfully by people around the world (56 countries so far).

To learn more about it you can go here:

Stay Strong, Fred

Two Nutrition Programs I recommend:


Bar Brothers Nutrition
(Primarily for Men wanting to add lean muscle weight)

Four Biggest Mistakes Women and Men Over 50 Make When They Exercise

Fred W. Schafer, MS, CFT

Author of “50FIT”Putting the BOOM Back in Boomers!

If you are going to exercise to improve your health and fitness, it would make sense to know the best way to do that. This article is for people who are already doing some form of exercise or plan to in the near future.

As a fitness professional I see a lot of people exercising in ways that will not give them the results they are seeking in the fastest, best, safest and most enjoyable way possible.

This article is written mostly with people over 50 in mind, although it applies to anyone who wants to see and feel a noticeable difference from their exercise.

It is never a good idea to continue making mistakes or using less than the best methods in any area of life of course. But after we pass the age of 50, the stakes become more serious as it becomes even more important to protect our health and fitness.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at four very common exercise mistakes millions of women and men over the age of 50 make.

Continue reading Four Biggest Mistakes Women and Men Over 50 Make When They Exercise

Warning: Some Exercise Machines Can Hurt Your Joints

Even though I do not have a local gym membership, I still love going into most gyms.

Usually I visit gyms when traveling to speak because it does me good to get out of my hotel room and meet new people, etc.

In fact, one of the first things I do when I arrive at the hotel is to find out where the closest “real” gym is. Next Monday I am speaking at a Health Care Executives conference in Orlando, FLA and am already researching which gym I should visit when I am thereJ

Because not only do I like to work out in different environments but also because gyms are often filled with people who are moving to improve their quality of life.

Man And Woman At Gym Together

And those are the types of people I like to be around and get to know.

And gyms of course also have a variety of exercise and fitness equipment in them.

And, I love to train and exercise my body and some of the equipment allows me to do that.

For the most part, for me, being in a gym is like being a kid in a candy shop.

But, like candy, too much exercise on some types of machines can possibly do more harm to you than good, especially for your joints.

And, this is even truer for those of us over 50 years old.

The reason for this has to do with the “kinetic chain” and the type of force that most strength building exercise machines create on your joints and ligaments.

There are essentially two types of strength training movements in regards to the kinetic chain.
Continue reading Warning: Some Exercise Machines Can Hurt Your Joints

91 Year Old Teaches Me the “Secret”

In the early 1990’s I worked as the Coordinator of Senior Health Promotion in Shasta County, Ca. A significant part of my job was to visit senior citizens in their homes and to conduct a brief health, fitness and nutrition assessment.

I was told that these older adults were considered “at risk”. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “how at risk could they be”?

After all, Shasta County, in my opinion, is a pretty nice place to live. So, I began to conduct my home visits and was literally shocked at what I found.
Continue reading 91 Year Old Teaches Me the “Secret”

Where Do You Fit in the Five “Functional Age Categories”?

Have you ever known a person in their 50’s who was unable to independently perform all of the activities of daily living (ADL) and/or who was dependent to some degree upon others to assist them in basic tasks such shopping, cooking, household cleaning etc?

Possibly this person also needed a cane, crutches or wheelchair to get around due to chronic disease, injury or simply very poor health and fitness?
Continue reading Where Do You Fit in the Five “Functional Age Categories”?

Four Tips To Protect Your Knees and Tighten Your Glutes:-}

By Fred Schafer, MS, CFT – Over 50 Fitness Specialist

Because the legs and glutes are the “foundation of our body’s house”, we want to pay extra attention to training and maintaining them.

When I worked as the coordinator for senior health promotion in my city, I observed that the number one factor in people with substandard health and quality of life was limited mobility.

So many seniors I met had lost their lower body (legs/butt) strength needed to get up from a chair with confidence and power. Many struggled with just walking from one room to the next.

It was so sad to see this and the way that it diminished their quality of life, and I am certain, ultimately the length of their lives as well.

Senior woman with her hands on a painful knee while sitting on examination table
Senior woman with her hands on a painful knee while sitting on examination table

Continue reading Four Tips To Protect Your Knees and Tighten Your Glutes:-}

One Limb Versus Two…Which is Best For You Beyond 50?

By Fred W. Schafer, MS, CFT

Motivational Monday Quote –
“It is better to light one candle than to sit and curse the darkness”… William Lonsdale Watkinson
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between doing a one armed overhead press versus a two armed press (both pictured below)?

Or the difference between doing a squat with both feet on the ground versus a lunge or one leg squat?

Or a two handed swing versus a one handed swing?
Example of one limb/unilateral

kb horn press II
Example of two limb/bilateral Continue reading One Limb Versus Two…Which is Best For You Beyond 50?

5 Simple Anti-Aging Lifestyle Changes

Article by: Erin Nielsen, PT, CPI, PBCE

ErinAs a woman in her 40’s, I am super passionate about living the best life possible and looking and feeling younger while doing it.

Aging – a tough subject – right? Believe me, when I hit 40 – I couldn’t believe it!   Inevitably – we all go through Chronological aging, but the good news is that we ALL have control over our Physiological aging.

There have been some really interesting studies that link our aging process directly to how much inflammation is occurring in our body.  There are many lifestyle choices that produce chronic inflammation and therefore accelerated aging that we can improve upon to slow down our aging process.

Have you ever heard of the word Telomeres? – Here’s a quick explanation of exactly what they are. ..

Deep within your DNA, are the building blocks of every cell in your body. At the end of each strand of DNA is a small amount of genetic material called the telomere (tee-lo-mere). The telomere controls aging and every time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter.

As your telomeres get shorter, your body produces cells that are older and weaker.  So the shorter your telomeres, the “older” your body looks and feels.  But when you slow this shortening, you may be able to extend your lifespan, and feel and look younger longer.

We can all slow the aging process by simple nutrition and lifestyle changes that can slow down the shortening of and in some studies even lengthen the telomere.

Here are some great examples!

Continue reading 5 Simple Anti-Aging Lifestyle Changes

Six Reasons for Hope: Reason Number 6

Reason Number Six: You Can Refuse to Quit

If you missed Reasons for Hope 1-5 you can find them here.“Never, never, never give up”…Winston Churchill“There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged people; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.” …Goethe“Difficulties brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint”…Romans 5:4

Have you ever felt like just giving up? Do you sometimes struggle to muster up the motivation, energy and excitement to just keep going from day to day?

Or, are you pursuing a goal, dream or plan that is starting to seem too tough to reach and felt like throwing in the towel on the whole “crazy idea”.


I certainly have had these types of thoughts and feelings and still find myself wrestling with them periodically.

And it seems that the older I get the temptation to stop dreaming, working and believing for lofty aspirations and ideals gets stronger with each passing year. Wouldn’t it be easier to just coast through the rest of my life and not get my hopes up too much about the possibilities for the future I sometimes ask myself?

Yet I already know from experience and observation that if one decides to “coast” they end up coasting downhill into the quagmire of mediocrity and misery. And my studies of successful people and my own internal compass point to the idea that people are at their best and happiest and healthiest when they are moving forward and upward and producing good with their lives, times and talent.

And, the deep and strong desire of my heart is to live all parts of my life with all my might as long as I have another breath to breathe. My guess is that a few of you reading this have a similar attitude.

If that attitude rings true for you that means that completely giving up or quitting on your goals, plans and future is not a legitimate option.

Yet at times we all need some encouragement to press on, reminders of the value of our ambitions and role models of perseverance to emulate.

Maybe that is one of the reasons that I enjoy working so much with mature adults in my fitness and health endeavors? For instance, when I get an email from someone in their 90’s asking what weight kettle bell they should be using I just have to smile.

I want to be like that person. A steadfast soul who NEVER gives up.

A dignified and age defiant person that keeps pressing on, falling occasionally but picking themselves up again and again. Plodding along when they can’t run but determined nevertheless to finish their race strong and help others to win along the way too.

Of all of the posts I have written about in this series on hope, this one may be the most meaningful and powerful. To me at least…

You can get everything else right in your pursuit of a goal or dream or a life well lived, but it you flat out quit and give up permanently, you have lost a part of the story your life was intended to tell.

In that spectrum of your life where you quit, you have failed to finish strong. And that doesn’t usually just hurt the quitter; it often hurts those close to the person who in despair has given up…hope.

And many of us may have done this once or twice in our lives, but the danger is that quitting can become our all too familiar pattern of life.

This topic of perseverance, of pressing on, of not giving up is one that stirs me up emotionally and spiritually perhaps more than any other issue.

Not to have a pity party here, but for much of my life I have had others telling me not to dream or to quit on my dreams before I had to suffer the pain of disappointment. You see, I was an insecure kid who in my own eyes and the eyes of many people around me, did not seem to possess any unique talents or abilities.

At the same time, my own nagging self-doubts and negative self-perceptions did little to encourage me. Yet, inside of me as a young man there burned a desire to live life at a higher level.

That desire still burns, but not just for me. I now love to encourage others to strive for their best, especially those who are struggling with discovering and pursuing their passions and dreams.

These days I can see very clearly that everybody is a somebody. I now know with every fiber of my body that every uniquely created human being who has ever walked the earth is capable of producing wonderful good during the expanse of their lives if they simply work at it everyday and DON’T QUIT.

Regrettably, there were those times when I have let my own negative attitudes or false beliefs about myself along with others opinions cause me to quit when I should have persevered. And thus I have tasted the bitter flavor of regret that comes from quitting when you know that you should have stuck and stayed with it too often in my life.

As crazy as it sounds, I am now oh so very thankful that I learned some hard lessons about the mistakes of quitting too soon and for the wrong reasons in my earlier life. Now, as I push closer to my sixties, the conviction on the power of perseverance for a well lived life is a solid rock in my life’s repertoire.

These days as I said though my focus is less on myself and more on others that I see quitting on themselves. And, because this post is about reasons to have hope obviously permanently quitting on something removes any hope for that area to improve.

As I write this on January 5, 2016, I have already heard from some people who have “blown it” on their New Years Resolutions and are ready to quit! My advice to them is to take heart because every day is a new opportunity to start again.

A few nights ago I watched a TV special on the US Navy Seals Training program which emphasized that most who attempt to make the Seals quit due to the difficulty of the training. Very few attempting to become Seals even last through the first section of training.

But a man who was part of the highly elite Navy Seal Team Six and involved in taking out Osama Bin Laden and the Somalia pirates told of one of the ways he was able to endure the harsh training that most did not.

Early in his training one of his commanders had told him, “We are not asking you to do anything that cannot be done. Others have already done this and none of it is impossible. Incredibly difficult, yes, impossible, no. You can do this if you simply refuse to quit.”

When I heard that, it hit home with me. We don’t need to be facing the rigors of Navy Seal Training to benefit from this advice.

Whatever challenge, discouragement or daunting task, goal or dream you are up against, you can prevail and ultimately be victorious if you simply refuse to quit!

So as we move into 2016, I would like to wrap up this series on reasons to have hope with four tips to help you to not give up on yourself, your dreams, goals, visions and hopes on for anything that matters and is important to you.

Tip # 1 – Boldly Declare Your Goals in Writing.

There are countless reasons to put goals in writing but a primary one is so that you can go back to it and read it when you are tempted to quit.

Here is a tool that I wrote for you to use or you can research written goals on the internet. The point is to have written goals, especially in those areas where you have a tough time persevering.

Tip # 2 – Do a Daily “Mini-rewrite”.

Each morning I jot down my daily plans and bullet point reminders of my “vital few”. Like everyone else, I fall short and mess up on my goals and the type of person I want to be.

So what do you do when that happens? Get back on the horse ASAP and start riding again. I “get back on my horse” by jotting down my daily and longer term goals on an index card each morning to get moving again in the direction of my intentions.

Too many of us just feel like once we’ve stumbled, failed or fallen that its too late for us. No way I say, as long as we have breathe, we have hope.

By doing a daily “mini-rewrite” of your goals it reinforces that this is going to be a process of steps forward and backwards, but that we are refusing to quit.

Tip # 3 – Find and Follow Role Models of Good Perseverance.

I have incredible respect for my elders. And, on the days where I may feel a bit dismayed, one of the things I do is look to them for course correction and inspiration.

For example, in my hometown there is a couple that I know personally named Mel and Katherine Fisher. I know Katherine personally because I used to be her supervisor when working in School Nutrition.

Katherine has born in September 1920. The same month and year as my father (who passed away in 1987). That of course makes Katherine 96 years young.

Just last week she sent me a facebook message that I was her favorite boss of all timeJ. Facebook? I’m still trying to figure out how that works!

But If you have ever met Katherine she has more spunk and passion and smiles more easily and readily than most people a third her age.

And then, she is married to Mel. Mel is a Pearl Harbor survivor and still serves as a School Board president. I’m not sure of his exact age, but mid-90’s for sure.

And, I have not kept up with them lately, but I recall that they were always active in their community, helping out everywhere that they can.

My point is that they are not quitters. No, they are examples of individuals dedicated to service of their fellow human beings. And, they, and everyone like them, inspire me not to quit!

I would encourage you to look for similar role models of perseverance and also seek to become such a role model yourself for others to emulate.

Tip # 4 – Be Grateful You Still Have Opportunity to Live, Serve and Love.

On the days and times when I’m tempted to quit or give up on a goal, I have to remind myself that today and what it holds is something to look forward to and be thankful for.

In 50 years or so chances are pretty good my life on earth will be over. Your clock may hold different numbers.

But for today at least, you have got some good work to do. If you don’t finish it today, you can get back at it tomorrowJ.

Either way, you can refuse to quit until it gets done.

That mindset, I think, is one that not only can keep us alive longer, but also make us stronger and more fully alive each and every day. So please, join me in refusing to quit on the good work that is set before you to do today and throughout 2016.

I will close by saying how thankful I am for all of you who give me the opportunity to serve you and to let you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you for your reading my emails and believing in my work.

Let’s make it a great 2016!

All the best, Fred
Fred Schafer, MS, CFT

Continue reading Six Reasons for Hope: Reason Number 6