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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #368. Our fitness guidelines
April 15, 2024

Our Fitness

A few years ago, wife Patty bought a Fitbit watch. At first, I teased her about wearing one. Just another high-tech device, I said, designed to addict people to a product.

I didn’t mean that all fitness watches, or whatever you call them, have no practical use. Anything that gets us off the couch is a plus. But being mostly “old school” about fitness, I didn’t want to fall into the trap of relentlessly checking myself on some device. OMG! How many steps have I taken? Am I on track to meet my number today? What’s my resting heart rate? What was my sleep pattern last night? Am I getting enough REM stages? And so on . . . Smartphone addictions come to mind and provide an ominous warning. OMG! Did I miss a phone call?

Teasing was fun. But I borrowed Patty’s watch for a couple of weeks; I limited myself to checking it only once daily, at bedtime. I looked at three items: steps taken, resting heart rate, and my sleep pattern of the previous night. Quick and easy. The danger is that the watch is capable of doing so much more.

Maybe you have one of these watches, and already know all of this. Something you may not know, however, is the origin of the well-known prescription of taking 10,000-steps-a-day. The 10,000 steps rule has successfully worked its way into today’s fitness beliefs. Very convenient. Because if 10,000 daily steps are required for health and fitness, you certainly must own a Fitbit watch, or one like it.

Here’s the thing. It appears the 10,000 steps standard is just an arbitrary number — with no actual science to back it up. Of course there’s nothing wrong with taking 10,000 steps daily. We’ve got to stay active. And some active people take many more than 10,000. Fine. But actual science seems to have zeroed-in on a better number for most people to aim for and it appears to be about 7,500. You can look it up in an article here.

It gets kind of complicated, doesn’t it?

Here’s a better fitness prescription, in my opinion. A recent article, by medical doctor, Yoni Freedhoff, summarizes how to be healthy in just 48 words. Dr. Freedhoff says . . .

After practicing family medicine for 16 years, with a focus on nutrition and obesity, I’ve learned that the keys to good health are quite simple to describe. In fact, I believe the best health advice can be boiled down to 48 words.

What are these 48 words? In no particular order:

  • Don’t smoke (2).
  • Get vaccinated (4).
  • Avoid trans fats (7).
  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated if you can (15).
  • Cook from whole ingredients — and minimize restaurant meals (23).
  • Minimize ultra-processed foods (26).
  • Cultivate relationships (28).
  • Nurture sleep (30).
  • Drink alcohol at most moderately (35).
  • Exercise as often as you can enjoy (42).
  • Drink only the calories you love (48).

Forty-eight words. It’s low-tech and I like it. I thought you might too.

Stay healthy. Stay fit.


Senior Exercise Central

Spread the word. If you like the newsletter, please forward it to a senior friend or acquaintance.

Photographs: Subscribers have asked when the newsletter photo at the top of the page and my website pictures were taken. Well, I was a mere 70 years old then. I’m 87 now. Though I remain active, I am no longer nearly as strong or muscular as I was 17 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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