PERMA-based fitness training can pack a positive punch for IDEA fitness professionals looking to contribute to the well-being of our fast-growing population of active older adults.
What Is PERMA?
PERMA is devoted to developing social and mental strength, which can be very helpful in motivating older exercisers. The acronym was coined by Martin Seligman, considered the father of modern positive psychology, in Flourish:
Everyone needs a quick pick-me-up now and then, but are we becoming a nation of energy addicts? So it would seem, based on skyrocketing sales of caffeine-infused products. Today’s 24/7 culture, long work hours and poor sleep habits drain stamina and encourage us to guzzle liquid pep to combat daily sluggishness. Energy drinks, with edgy names and catchy slogans, have captured the youth market, igniting sales—and side effects (Seifert et al. 2011).
Soothing candlelight warms the room with a mellow glow, and soft music eases everyone into deep relaxation. You’re slipping into a meditative state, holding your yin yoga pose, when a phone rings. It stops. Relief. It rings again. Aggravation. It rings a third time. Now, you’re angry. The mood is irretrievably shattered. The phone owner looks up at the class leader and shrugs her shoulders. Complaints flood the front desk. Fran Philip, owner of Menlo Pilates & Yoga studio in Menlo Park, California—the heart of Silicon Valley—shared this true incident.
Exercise early in life—benefit later in life. That’s what researchers from Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory, in Indiana, concluded in a study published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology (2013; 114 , 3–10).
Scientists looked at “whole body aerobic capacity and myocellular markers of oxidative metabolism in lifelong endurance athletes and age-matched healthy, untrained men.”
In much of the working world, people are expected to be on the job for 40 hours or more every week. People seem to respect you when you say you’re really busy. However, when putting in a hard day’s work goes awry, it translates to “crazy busy” or “I’m swamped.” And “crazy busy” is not conducive to the good health and well-being we aspire to for ourselves, our families and our clients in the fitness industry.
When it comes to optimal endurance exercise performance, fuel source and utilization play a major role in success. The contribution and expenditure of fats and carbohydrates for the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) during exercise are regulated by several factors, including activity, duration and intensity, as well as the person’s age, training status, diet and gender. Proteins contribute a minor 1%–8% of fuel needs during submaximal exercise (Isacco, Duché & Boisseau 2012).
Are you happy in your fitness career? If you are, you have no doubt found your calling in helping others reach their full potential. Accompanying them as they persevere through difficult times and break new ground is heartwarming and meaningful to you.
You have been recruited to change a life. A young man is out of shape and headed toward a life of obesity and health complications. But he desperately wants to change. Perhaps you saw him on television during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He appeared on a Nike® commercial shot in a rural area near London, Ohio.
When I was a child growing up on a farm in the mostly snow-covered fields of Minnesota, I imagined a very different life: living in an airy house in a sunny climate, wearing flowing white clothes and welcoming many guests. In junior high, I wrote a paper on being a freelance writer. Today, I am a freelance writer in Southern California in a spacious home with plenty of guests (relatives from Minnesota!); and yes, I do like to wear white. Exactly how this life materialized seems to be part conscious determination, part cosmic mystery—and there you have the maddening beauty of manifesting.
Experts often recommend keeping smartphones and tablets out of the bedroom to improve sleep quality. While this practice may be optimal, it’s likely many people remain connected up until bedtime. Are they doomed to a life of inadequate sleep? Maybe not, say scientists from the Mayo Clinic.