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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #361. The Sofa Slouch
December 01, 2023

The Sofa Slouch

Big screen TVs, smartphones, i-pads, computers, and all the other techie items at hand, and there’s little reason to leave one’s chair unless it’s to move to the couch for even more comfortable slouching.

Yet danger lurks.

We know full well that human biological history argues against such comfort. For good health, humans have got to move. Every day. If we don’t, trouble sets in: heart problems, diabetes, cancers, etc. You know the list.

But let’s also be realistic. By the time we reach our senior years even those most fit may have acquired at least one or two chronic physical annoyances. Maybe it's a bum knee, a tennis elbow, or a tricky back. Watch out. Minor annoyances can become excuses to retire to the couch. Don’t let it happen. Unless your physician, for a valid reason, tells you not to exercise at all — keep moving! Just be smart about it.

Until almost 60, I still practiced martial arts. But as the years added up, I'd often 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 unpleasant realities about aging. Quick stop-start activities, such as martial arts, and another old favorite, handball, no longer made sense for me. So 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. Next, 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 kicking, punching, and grappling that is the core of typical martial arts training.

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.

Today, I’m 87. I exercise six or seven days per week. Fortunately, the habit is ingrained. But over the past couple of years I phased out kettlebells in favor of resistance bands. For cardio I take daily strolls with my dog. In the summer, I may do pool workouts or swim laps. I no longer run or jog.

The gradual paring down approach worked for me, and it can work for almost anyone as the years add up. Yes, keep moving. But whatever your age or fitness level, be smart about it. Put solid effort into your activities; however, beware of 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.

Stay healthy. Stay fit.


Senior Exercise Central

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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