August 1, 2020
In this newsletter . . .
make us lazy
A few years ago, Patty and I bought a new television set, one of those big screen models. Watching sports at home — when there were lots of sports to watch, pre-coronavirus — felt like you’re on the field of play. The crisp picture and sound would draw you right into the action. At my age, crowded parking lots and stadium seating don't appeal to me as they once did. Not when you can actually see the games much better on high-definition television.
Still, I recognize how dangerously seductive it is, and now with shelter-in-place guidelines for seniors, it is even more so. Add big screen TVs to smart phones, i-pads, computers, and other hi-tech, and there’s little reason to leave one’s chair, unless it is to get even more comfortable on a sofa. But there’s danger lurking. Human biological history argues against slouch. To maintain good health, we’ve got to move.
Every single day. If we don’t, trouble sets in: heart problems, diabetes, cancers, et cetera.
But let’s not blame high-tech as the only thing that can lead us to inertia. By the time we reach our senior years even the fittest of us may have acquired at least one or two chronic physical annoyances. Could be a trick knee, a tennis elbow, or a bad back. Or maybe it's something more serious. Whatever the level, we must not let it condemn us to the couch. Unless your physician, for some valid reason, tells you not to exercise at all — keep moving. Just be smart in your approach.
We know the signals. As the years add up, we may wake up in the morning still tired following a workout from the day before. Now once in while, that’s okay. It’s normal. But when it happens regularly, our bodies are telling us something. It shouldn’t be ignored. Don’t stop exercising and being active — but do make adjustments.
For me, as I got up in years, quick stop-start activities,
such as handball, an old favorite, sent a clear message. They no longer made sense for me, though I wasn't quite ready for the rocking chair.
Instead, I practiced Qigong (pronounced chee-kung) for a while and learned new stretching and relaxation techniques. If I found a particular weight training exercise aggravated something (I'm not talking about normal, mild muscle soreness), I stayed away from that movement.
In my 80s, I still exercise six or seven days per week. But my resistance workouts are brief. For a long time I used kettlebells, but now mostly resistance bands. For cardio, I take daily walks. My wonderful dog, Emma, goes with me.
The gradual paring down approach works for almost anyone as the years add up. Whatever your age, or fitness level, you have to be smart about training. Never stop, but be smart.
Stay healthy. Stay fit.
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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