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SPARQ isn’t just for athletes

SPARQ is an acronym for a Nike program meaning S: Speed, P: Power, A: Agility, R: Reaction and Q for Quickness.  Now you might be thinking that you’re not an athlete, “Why do I need to know this?”   Well, I’m here to say EVERYONE needs to know this.Nike SPARQ program

Much of my training has been with the older adult population, and if anyone NEEDS this, seniors do!  “Hold on a minute”, I hear you say.  Why would you be training seniors like athletes?  Let me break it down so you can see why everyone should be training for SPARQ.

SPEED:  When crossing the street … the flashy orange hand comes up, telling you to stop.  What if you’re only half way across?!!!  Should you just stop on the median section and hope no one jumps the curb?  I think not… You run (or walk as fast as you can).  This is a good place to have speed.  What if your grandchild is heading for the stairs?  Don’t you think you’d want to get there first?

POWER: Power don’t have to mean lifting hundreds of pounds above your head, or pushing a car out of a ditch.  It does help, but that’s what tow trucks are for.  Power is basically just moving with force.  Like lifting something heavy once.  Any more than once or twice, becomes strength.  A basic jump or hop takes power.  Try escaping the gravitational pull of the earth without power. (That sounds better than jumping).  How many people do you know that have trouble getting out of their car? I know people who have bought taller vehicles so they don’t have to bend down as far to get in or out.

AGILITY: Try avoiding a cat walking under foot without agility.  Even just moving across the floor to answer the phone or the door.  If you have an ottoman or a chair,  boots, pets or anything that isn’t normally in that spot.  You might need some basic agility to get around that object without loosing your balance.

REACTION: We train for this every time we have a class at the studio.  If you’re one of my class participants, you know how much reaction you need during a game of “Panic Attack”.  It’s basically someone throwing a SandBell into a BOSU and the person in line behind having to snatch it out of the air.  If you’re not in my class then think of a ball coming out between parked cars and you having to swerve or slam on the brakes.  Have you ever sat half on a chair only to tighten everything up and bounce up to sit fully on it?  Put simply, it’s doing something in a quick manner without your brain telling your muscles what to do.

QUICKNESS: The first thing that comes to mind here is just not moving at a snails pace.  When we age our muscles just don’t fire as fast as they used to.  This could be a copout if you want.  You can just sit there and say to yourself that you just can’t do that any more.  And you might have a valid reason for that.  An injury, ailment, bad hip or shoulder or all of the aforementioned.  BUT, don’t say you can’t do something just because you’re too lazy to try.  If age is the reason for slow movement, then why is it that people in their 80’s are still playing tennis?  Hey, you still see people running well into their 60’s even 70’s.  On another side of the coin, quickness is also a mental ability.  Answering a question quickly.  Figuring out a math equation without having to get a calculator.  Doing a cross word or a Sudoku puzzle, takes brain power and quickness.  Unless you like sitting for hours on the same puzzle, then never mind.

Now, don’t you think everyone should have SPARQ?  For an athlete, it might mean running the 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds.  For the average person, getting across that street before some jumps the light is good enough.