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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #169 Getting up off the couch
September 01, 2015
September 1, 2015
In this newsletter . . .
Getting up off the couch
The Reptilian Challenge
Getting up off the couchSeasoned adults often wonder how much exercise they should do.
When asked, I often fall back on Bill Phillips' remark that practically any exercise is better than none at all. And while that is true enough it is not adequate information for serious beginners wanting to improve their fitness.
To simplify, let’s start by looking at each decade after reaching age 50. A beginner at 60 or 70, for example, should ease into an exercise program more slowly than the 50-year-old. There are exceptions, of course, but this is generally true. So be realistic. Use your maturity, common sense, and a conversation with your doctor for guidance.
Ideally, at any age, there should be three basic elements to your exercise program. There should be: 1) resistance exercise, such as weight training; 2) cardiovascular movements, such as cycling, walking, swimming, etc.; and 3) flexibility postures, like yoga poses, tai chi, or similar relaxation stretching.
Does this sound like a lot of exercise to squeeze into a busy day?
It doesn’t have to be. Not at all. The sessions can be spread out, or all three elements can be combined in a single circuit training routine, done three to four times per week. That’s not so time-consuming, now is it? And here's the kicker: You’ll be having fun doing it.
What if you’re overweight or in bad shape, or both? Forget the past and seize the day. If you don’t know how to start exercising regularly, simply begin by walking. Just open the door and go. Gradually, increase the time and distances of your walks. Add body-weight movements later, push-ups, sit-ups, deep knee bends, etc. Just get up and move. Amazingly, things will fall into place.
How far you progress beyond that is up to you. If you do no more than the above, and do it regularly, you will have made measurable improvements in your lifestyle and, more than likely, your longevity. If you want a step-by-step starter program, see my outline for senior beginners.
Now in my late-70s, I do more than the minimum. But I’m not that exceptional. In the small gym where I exercise there are others about my age regularly pumping iron with gusto. They do it because they enjoy it and like how they look and feel.
The thing is to start doing something, no matter what your age. And don’t stop. The old saying, "Use it or lose it" is true. Today, they call losing it “sarcopenia.” It is an unpleasant word (from the Greek), meaning poverty of flesh. Sounds awful. It is the wasting away of muscle. And that’s what eventually robs you of your independence.
Get up off the couch and go for that walk.
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The Reptilian ChallengeHave you thought about alligators today? Not real alligators but alligator push-ups. Check them out. Get good at them and I promise miraculous things, such as a lithe, hard body.
I thought I'd been cheated years ago when I found out I shouldn’t be doing bench presses anymore. They hurt my shoulders. Switching from barbells to dumbbells helped, but not enough. I grumbled but finally accepted my fate.
Out of necessity plain, old push-ups became the surrogate. Then a funny thing happened. It won’t convince power-lifters, I realize, but, overall, I give push-ups higher marks than bench presses, and they come in many varieties. Take the reptilian challenge and discover a push-up form you may learn to love.
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.
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.
Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.
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.
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