Synchronicity of Science, Perception of Limitations, & Movement

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My main objective in writing this book is to help fitness professionals increase their awareness of how older adults’ perception of limitation may influence their intrinsic capacity, especially in cases of advanced aging.

The problem of perceived limitation for older adults is the influence on intrinsic capacity.

Intrinsic capacity is a new concept introduced by the World Health Organization. It is defined as the composite of all physical and mental capacities that an older adult can draw upon during his/her life (click for source).

There are five Intrinsic capacities, also known as domains:
1. Mobility
2. Cognition
3. Vitality
4. Psychosocial
5. Neurosensorial: Vision, Hearing

The perceived limitation of physical capability may have a cascading negative effect on the individual’s physical and mental (including psychosocial) capacities and functionality.
In order to optimize functional ability, the goal of healthy aging, I believe the fitness industry will need to update our approach for goal setting and for prescribing a fitness regimen for this special population.

Introduction to the SPARTA Method for Goal Setting for Healthy Aging 

Chapter 1. Perception and Fears: The Missing Link of Older Adults Training

The SPARTA method involves a synchronicity of Western exercise science and Eastern holistic arts that helps seniors overcome the perception of limitations and movement, promotes acuity, and develops self-confidence, which leads to more empowerment.

The SPARTA system utilizes the body’s innate ability to relearn movement along all anatomical planes. This is accomplished through progressive challenges to the individual’s cognitive and physical fitness. The program combines hand-eye coordination drills, change of direction, ankle mobility, grip strength, power exercises, perturbation, and memory recall drills, among others. It also requires that the fitness professional has an above-average level of engagement in and awareness of the senior’s body language and feedback.

Unlike previous older-adult training models, the SPARTA method is not exclusive to one training modality. That’s the missing link in the fitness industry today! The inclusivity of the system can play a vital role in helping seniors maintain their quality of life, prevent injury, and set the stage for long-term independence.

Later, I will describe the program in more detail, outline the exercises, and compare the SPARTA method to other similar programs.
SPARTA stands for Specificity, Perception, Accessibility, Rewarding, Timetable, and Awareness, and will be discussed in detail on page XX.

Click here to read more of Chapter 1

Chapter 3: The Science of Athletic Training for Performance and How It Benefits Older Adults

The SPARTA method is rooted in the belief that the science of fitness coaching for seniors is similar to the science utilized for athletic training for performance, including not just the technical aspects of training but the need for the coach to offer passion, encouragement, and unconditional support.

What are the similarities between training athletes and older adults?

As we discussed in Chapter 2, the principles of exercise science, such as the SAID principle, apply to older adults as well as athletes. The goal for athletes is to train with no- or minimal-risk exercises so they can execute an activity at a high level. This is especially important when they are returning to activity after an injury.

For older adults, the goal revolves around functional fitness, training with the exercises that have the lowest risk of injury. The exercise benefits for older adults are physical, cognitive, and, for some, social engagement. But not all older adults are motivated to engage in an exercise program. Some may decrease or even cease outdoor or daily activities because of their fear of falling or because of their perception that their physical abilities are limited.

What exercises work best with the SPARTA method?

The majority of the exercises in this book are designed to challenge users’ COG (center of gravity), develop power, and teach COD (change of direction) skills. Beyond building physical wellness, there is a great opportunity to enhance their ability for retention and comprehension of exercises (promote brain activity ).

Older adult fitness is now in a new era and should include specific exercises that target areas with the highest sensitivity for injury from falls, such as the ankles, hips, spine, and forearm/wrists.

The SPARTA method involves a series of nontraditional exercises, with special focus on tempo, intensity, and recovery, to develop movement patterns in all anatomical planes of motion within clients’ physical limitations and with attention to their fears.


In this chapter, I discuss sarcopenia and the importance of education for our future older adult population and how it affects our seniors today.

Sarcopenia is the age-related involuntary loss of skeletal muscle and muscle strength. It can start as early as the fourth decade of life. It is documented that by the eighth decade of life there can be up to 50 percent loss of muscle mass. Other than the loss of strength, the functional declines associated with sarcopenia can in turn contribute to a number of adverse health outcomes, including loss of function, disability, and frailty. Sarcopenia is also associated with acute and chronic disease states, increased insulin resistance, fatigue, falls, and mortality.

Part of my goal in writing this book is to create a campaign of public awareness about the adverse effects of sarcopenia and bring awareness to individuals in their thirties and forties about the benefits of physical activity.

Below is an article I wrote called “Sarcopenia’s Foes: Active Aging,” which is geared to the general population and explains how and why we lose muscle (sarcopenia) as we age, why this matters, and why keeping up our strength is a great anti-aging strategy:

The human body is a marvel of nature and is designed to adapt and move. Our introduction to movement begins when we are born by first being able to hold our head up, then roll over, sit up, crawl, squat, and finally walk!

Click here to read more of Chapter 7


  1. Perception and Fears: The Missing Link of Older Adults Training (Click to Read)
  2. What Is SPARTA Senior Training?
  3. The Science of Athletic Training for Performance and How It Benefits Older Adults
  4. Living Longer, Stereotypes and Preventive Care Introduction to Auxiliary Exercises
  5. Introduction to Auxiliary Exercises
  6. Western Exercise Science and Eastern Holistic Arts (SPARTA Philosophy)
  7. Future Older Adults and Sarcopenia
  8. Conclusion
  9. SPARTA Suggestions and Considerations

Auxiliary Exercise Selection for Seven Fundamental Human Movements:
i.  Push.
ii. Pull.
iv. Squat.
v.  Lunge.
vi. Rotation.
vii. Gait.

Additional  Auxiliary Exercises:
i.    Static Stretches and Thoracic Spine Mobility.
ii.   Dynamic Warm-Up. Proprioception, Muscle Activation and Coordination.
iii.  Wrist, Ankle and Spine. Flexibility, Mobility and Core Stability.
iv.   Frontal Plane. Change of Direction, Multi-Joint.
vi.   Open Chain Exercises, Power Development, Floor Core Training.
vii.  Balance and Agility Training.
viii. Non-Traditional Strength Training.
ix.   Partner Training with Coach.
x.    Fajing Training.  The ability to generate, absorb and transfer force through the kinetic chain with an external object.

  1. References
  2. About the Author
  3. Resources

Any of the SPARTA exercises can be used as “auxiliary exercises,” that is, they can complement exercise drawn from a general program design.

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“There is a need for a more holistic approach, which can be achieved only through a concerted effort between the fitness industry and health care providers.”

Fitness professionals are on the front lines of preventive care, thus we can be part of any prescription for healthy aging.

The SPARTA method can be used as a means of providing preventive care to people of all ages, but specifically for older adults. As we identify patterns of movement that cause our clients to be limited or to suffer pain, we can offer referrals to a specialist who might help prevent further decline.

“Julio, I have so much to be thankful because of your class. The time spent on balance enables me to close my eyes and enjoy the shower and shampoo. Yeah, Julio.” – Marilyn C. Age 84

I hope my method will encourage research and study into the areas discussed earlier. Together we can continue to develop guidelines and standards that will allow our seniors to live longer, with a higher quality of life.

How can YOU find out more about SPARTA?

Attend a Workshop

Attend one of Julio’s workshops. Virtual and In Person Events!

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Invite Julio to Speak

Julio is available to come present on the SPARTA method to your organization or group. Please inquire with the form below to get more information.

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