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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #348. Moderation is not a bad word
May 15, 2023

Moderation is
not a bad word

With big screen, high-definition TVs, smartphones, i-pads, computers, and other tech items, there’s little reason to leave one’s chair, unless it’s to move to an even more comfortable spot, like the sofa. Still, we know full well that human biological history argues against such slouch. For good health, humans have got to move — every day. If we don’t, big trouble is likely to set in: heart problems, diabetes, cancers. The list goes on.

Yet even if we avoid these most serious problems by staying fit and taking care of our health, aging still happens, though usually at a slower rate and more benign way.

Even so . . .

By the time we reach our senior years, even those of us who are most fit may have acquired one or two chronic physical annoyances. Maybe it's a trick knee, tennis elbow, or bad back. The danger? Small but persistent annoyances can become excuses to retire to the couch, if we let them. Unless your physician, for a valid reason, tells you not to stick with regular exercise — keep moving.

Just be smart in your approach.

Until almost 60, I still did some martial arts. But as the years added up, I'd sometimes wake in the morning still tired following a workout the day before. Worse, I'd occasionally make a quick twist or turn, feel a pinch in my spine, and I was in for several days of backache.

I denied the truth for a while but finally gave in to the fact that it was time to face some unpleasant realities. At my age, quick stop-start activities, such as martial arts, and another old favorite, handball, no longer made sense for me. Reluctantly, I bowed out, 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. Then after years of absence, I went back to weight training. I approached it cautiously. If I found a particular exercise aggravated something (I'm not talking about normal, mild muscle soreness), I stayed away from that movement.

Later, I was able to lead cardio-kickboxing classes. They were solid workouts (known around the gym as “butt-kickers”), but without actual contact striking and grappling which is the core of typical martial arts training.

That worked for a decade or so.

Then, as I reached 70, the pace of the kickboxing classes became more than I could realistically handle. I missed the fun but it was time once again to recognize my limitations. Once again, I backed off a little.

Today, I’m 86.

I continue to exercise (fortunately, the habit is ingrained). But over the past few years, I phased out weights, including kettlebells, in favor of resistance bands. For cardio I take daily walks with my dog. In the summer, I do pool workouts or swim laps. I no longer run or jog.

The gradual paring down approach has worked for me, and it can work for almost anyone as the years add up. Just keep moving. But be smart about it. Make regular efforts but avoid youthful foolishness.

Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) was right: "A man’s got to know his limitations." A woman does too.

Moderation is not a bad word.


Senior Exercise Central

Photographs: Subscribers have asked when the newsletter photo at the top of the page and my website pictures were taken. The photos were taken when I was a mere 70. I’m 86 years old now. Though I remain active, I am no longer nearly as muscular as I was 16 years ago. —LF

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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.

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 website contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and website 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. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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