October 1, 2015
In this newsletter . . .
October is my birthday month, so I guess it is natural that my thoughts turn to the advancing years. The last newsletter offered a tried and true muscle building method known as Escalating Density Training, or EDT. Let’s shift gears.
As those of us who have exercised most of our lives grow older, we eventually find that we cannot train as we did in years past. Unfortunately, some get stubborn and refuse to adjust and end up doing themselves more harm than good. What I mean by that is aging tendons and ligaments rebel and aches and pains become more frequent.
Most unfortunate of all are the guys – sorry, but it’s usually us males – whose egos will not allow them to admit they can’t do as much or all of the things they used to, so they just quit working out altogether. If I can’t be the great stud I was two decades ago, what’s the point of sweating it out at a gym? they think to themselves.
They are the most unfortunate of all because they throw in the
towel right at the time in life when regular exercise is more important than ever. Instead of adjusting by doing age appropriate workouts, they simply drop out. And what happens to them? Their muscle loss accelerates while fat accumulates. What you wish is they would read and understand about sarcopenia and how best to avoid it.
Key point: If you have been pushing heavy iron and now you are entering your senior years and have developed some achy body parts, please don’t stop training. Adjust.
Switching from heavy, all-out efforts to lifting lighter free weights and doing higher repetitions may make a world of difference. Another thing they might try is switching to resistance bands from free weights. Many
professional athletes use bands and love them. Or how about trying devices like the Total Gym? Never give up. Experiment and discover what works best for you, personally.
In my own case, I adjusted my cardio exercise by gradually replacing running with hiking. Years ago, when I ran long distances (at my best I was really just a plodder), I did have a lot of fun. However, I noticed a good number of aging runners ran with aching knees and backs. I don’t experience any of that from hiking, and I still get to enjoy beautiful outdoor scenery while exercising my heart and lungs.
Of course if you happen to be a senior or baby boomer with no chronic aches and pains, your heart is in good shape, and you still enjoy heavy workouts, why change anything? If after a good night’s sleep you fully recover from lifting
heavy or pavement pounding cardio . . . well, as the saying goes, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."
On the other hand, never ignore unwelcome messages that Mother Nature and your body are sending. Aging happens. That's where most of us fit in. Be smart. Keep training, but adjust.
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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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