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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #211. Taking that first step to fitness.
September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

In this newsletter . . .

Where do I start?


Where do I start?

Senior beginners 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's 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. 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 an 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.

Does this sound like a lot of exercise to squeeze into a busy day?

It doesn’t have to be. 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. Pretty simple.

Overcoming inertia

But what if you are way overweight or in terrible shape or both. Forget the past and seize the day. If you don’t know how to start exercising regularly, simply begin walking. Just open the door and go. Gradually, increase the time and distances of your walks. Add bodyweight movements later: push-ups, sit-ups, deep knee bends, etc. Just get up and move. 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.

At 80, I do more than the minimum. But I'm not that exceptional. In gyms where I've worked out there are others about my age pumping iron with gusto. They do it because they like how they look and feel.

The thing is to start doing something, no matter what your age. And don’t stop. That old saying, "Use it or lose it" is true. The doctors call it “sarcopenia,” an unpleasant word (from the Greek) meaning poverty of flesh. It is the wasting away of muscle. It’s what eventually robs seniors of their independence.

Get up off the couch and go for that walk.

Help is always here.

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I thought I'd been cheated many years ago when I found out I shouldn’t do bench presses anymore. I shouldn’t do them because they hurt my shoulders. Switching from barbells to dumbbells helped some, but not enough. My story is not uncommon.

So I grumbled a bit but accepted my fate. If an exercise hurts, don’t do it. Out of necessity, plain old push-ups became the surrogate. A funny thing happened though. I know it won’t convince power-lifters, but, for overall fitness, I give push-ups higher marks than bench pressing.

And of all the many varieties of push-ups that there are, I think alligators may be one of the best.

The rest of the alligator story.

Muscle Up!

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

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 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.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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