In today's Dec. 1, 2010 newsletter . . .

  • Are Your Workouts
    Age Appropriate? (part 2)

Are Your Workouts Age Appropriate? (part 2)

In the previous newsletter (11/15/10) I wrote about exercise and training after age 50 and the adjustments we should make as we grow older. My belief is that we should exercise regularly for as long as nature allows. But of course the intensity, duration and frequency at, say, age 70 will be different than it was at 50.

The living godfather of fitness and bodybuilding, Jack LaLanne, has often said (approximately) the following: "I don’t care how long I live. I just want to be really alive as long as I’m here." Now in his mid-90s, I'm told he’s still working out. He is as audacious as ever, but could always back it up.

Will you and I live into our 90s and still be pumping iron like Jack LaLanne? Nobody knows for sure. But like LaLanne, I’m certain each of us wants to feel really alive as long as we are above ground and vertical.

So keep in mind that the workout habit should never end but should be age appropriate in intensity, duration and frequency. Then also consider the actual kinds of workouts and apparatus we should be using. Here is where it can get sticky. Every expert and advertisement we see insists that his or her method or equipment is the Holy Grail. And every one of them can site selected studies, anecdotal evidence, and personal endorsements to prove it. Yet, as it is with most things in life, one size does not fit all.

I have my own favorites, of course, which may or may not be just the thing for you. But if you are new to training and a fitness lifestyle, discovering the right fit for you personally is not as complicated as it may seem. While sorting through various promises of greater strength, health and fitness, you really only need to keep in mind the following:

1. Understand that there is no one best method or apparatus that fits everyone in every situation. Be on the lookout for grossly overblown claims of a particular method or product, especially when they include putdowns of all others.

2. The method or product that is the right fit for you personally is the one that you will follow regularly and forever. No matter what you hear about something being the latest and greatest, if you dread the workout or equipment, you will not stick with it. Conversely, if you learn to enjoy your efforts and how they make you feel, you have hit the mother lode.

3. As long as the fitness path or piece(s) of equipment you enjoy involves three essential elements, it is the right one for you. Those three elements are some form of . . .
  • Resistance exercise
  • Cardiovascular stimulation
  • flexibility movements
Certainly emphasis may be placed on one of the elements over the others, depending on your likes and goals. But any program expected to provide maximum benefits must have at least a minimal degree of each one. For resistance training, your choices include barbells and dumbbells; kettlebells; resistance bands; bodyweight calisthenics; or devices that use your bodyweight for resistance.

Cardiovascular exercise choices may include running, walking, bicycling, swimming, skating, rowing, dancing, resistance training circuits, or low-impact aerobics classes.

Flexibility options can be something as simple as gentle stretching and relaxation techniques or the more formal programs such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, or Qigong.

The three key elements may be practiced separately or combined to form a single workout. If you are shopping for a senior strength and fitness program, or equipment, or you are looking for a change in what you are doing now, keep those basics in mind. Fulfill them and you will be successful. And, I might add, you will be happy in your quest.

You've probably heard about the tremendous benefits of weight training and how you can retain -- or even reclaim -- the attributes of youth . . . Discover the way with . . .

Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and web site contain advertising and marketing links. I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you. Your comments and questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter