April 15, 2019
In this newsletter . . .
A lesson from
A few days ago, my dog B.B. and I were out for a walk to mail some some letters. The postman’s truck was ahead of us, and each time we’d almost reach him, the truck would pull away to its next stop. This went on for a couple of blocks until we finally caught up.
As the postman got out I noticed how elderly he appeared, white-haired and well passed usual retirement age. I kidded him about our chasing down his truck. He remarked that both his knees had been surgically repaired. I said that he looked quite nimble getting in and out the truck and walking up the driveways with the mail.
He said, “That’s the only reason I still come to work. If you don’t keep moving, it’s all over.” In those two short sentences, he had healthy aging figured out.
Walk, jog, bike or work in the garden, but keep moving. Whatever holds your interest. Add some resistance exercise and stretching and stay as fit as possible for as long as possible.
A men’s magazine broke down by decades suggested exercise guidelines for people as they age. I forget the magazine’s name. It wasn’t one of the steroid-bodybuilding publications but a men’s magazine of reasonableness. My only quarrel with the article is more emphasis might have been placed on the word “guidelines.”
Certainly workouts must evolve and change from decade to decade, but rigid formats usually aren't the best way to go, in my opinion. And the magazine had broken it down to exact exercises, sets and reps to do in each decade, beginning in your 20s, then your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. (The 70s on up
As mechanical as their guidelines sounded (to me), I shouldn't be too critical, as long as the advice was not taken as absolute. Everyone’s abilities and needs may not follow the same trajectory while moving from one decade to the next. Other factors, too, such injuries or illnesses, must be taken into account when adjusting programs.
In my own case, I saw little difference in what I could do in my 50s. Capacity changes in my 60s also were quite gradual. Still, looking back at my training records, I can see there was some loss in strength as well as a need for more recovery time after workouts. Turning 70, I began noticing a steeper decline. The need for adjustments may come at different stages for each of us.
At 82, abbreviated workouts with resistance bands have become more sensible for me. I gave up one-rep-maximum lifts with free weights years ago. Seniors
sending their blood pressure through the roof with do-or-die efforts isn’t smart.
When the great bodybuilder Steve Reeves moved into his 60s and 70s, he still weight trained three days per week. But he cut back his sets from three or four to two, and used lighter weights and did 15 to 25 reps, depending on which body part he was working. His isn’t a bad model to follow.
So keep moving. That’s the key. Make use of intelligent guidelines like those at Senior Exercise Central. Then make adjustments according to your own needs.
For senior beginners, a good, solid place to start is right here.
Our mission is to stay as fit as possible for as long as possible.
Senior Exercise Central
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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.
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