September 15, 2020
In this newsletter . . .
Exercise: even a little
Researchers at Harvard University and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that even light physical activity increases longevity, and more so than previously believed. Of course ramping up your workouts a bit may pay even greater dividends. Nevertheless, they cited such small things like “walking the dog” or “vacuuming the carpet” as having a positive effect on your health and well-being.
goes a long way
So it seems that nearly any movement at all that interrupts a sedentary lifestyle of staring into an electronic device and/or couch slouching produces healthier outcomes. Any movement at all. In Living the Fitness Lifestyle (a book no longer available), I wrote that just owning a dog benefits us in ways we may not even realize. But little did I know that walking a dog (or even vacuuming the carpet) would someday enter into serious fitness research.
I know next to nothing about vacuum cleaners. But let’s talk about dogs. It seems I’ve always owned one. When my
dog Steve passed, in 1999, I discovered another best friend, named Tyra. Both Steve and Tyra were high-energy animals and we ran or hiked together daily as each dog became my constant companion. Tyra was an Australian Cattle Dog mix, and her veterinarian once remarked, “Cattle Dog owners are usually in good shape. Their dogs keep them that way.” Aha!
Now in my mid-80s, I no longer run or jog, and, frankly, even my walking is not nearly as robust as it used to be. But I still get out there. Everyday. Even if it's a saunter. My walking/hiking companion now is Emma, a hard to imagine mixed-breed of Belgian Malinois and Chihuahua. A strange, strange combination, to be sure, but she’s a blessing.
If you hate cardio machines but need a nudge to get yourself outside regularly for jogging/running or nice walks, becoming a dog owner might be just the ticket. Rescue shelters and humane societies have wonderful animals looking for lifetime homes. Why not consider it? Your new best friend can add fun — and maybe years — to your life.
Of course for a balanced fitness lifestyle you must add some resistance training and flexibility movements to the mix. Walking a dog (or vacuuming the carpet) shouldn’t comprise a total fitness program. Without weights or bodyweight exercises or bands, and some form of stretching, muscles wilt and bodies stiffen. You don’t have to emulate all
the feats of Jack LaLanne to add zest to your years. But he sure did set a good example, wouldn't you say?
For some thoughts on Cardio choices, go here.
Total beginners, please start here.
Stay healthy. Stay fit.
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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.
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.
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