Thumbing your nose
at Isaac Newton
I turned 87 in the fall of 2023. Since entering my very senior years, I’ve become almost exclusively a resistance band user. Free weights (barbells and kettlebells) may always be the gold standard when it comes to resistance, but for me, these days, bands are the way to go.
The bands hang in my small home office closet and easily attach to a door when I’m ready to exercise. It takes me less than a minute or two of prep. If you are still driving to a commercial gym and you enjoy the camaraderie there, stick with it. At my stage, convenience and another big reason for preferring bands is the enemy — gravity.
Sorry, Mr. Newton.
Gravity is a factor when lifting iron, and aging tendons and
ligaments can be over-stressed because of it. However, gravity is not a factor when working with resistance bands. For example, think of a simple movement like the barbell curl. As the barbell descends, tendons are sometimes over-stressed to control the weight (gravity), particularly at the bottom of the lift. But the same curl movement using resistance bands works the same arm muscle but with much less tendon stress.
Aging seniors or even younger trainees with achy joints often say they find relief using a good set of bands instead of weights. It’s that darned old gravity again that causes problems, or at least contributes to them.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who’ve been around gyms a long time may pooh-pooh the thought of resistance bands. “They’re just for old geezers that can’t lift real weights anymore,” you might hear. Oh, really?
Here are a couple of examples of how wrong they can be.
Professional football quarterback Tom Brady worked out with bands. So did former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, to name just two, elite athletes who played at the highest level in one of the toughest of all sports. They wouldn’t have wasted a minute of their time if bands didn’t get results. They aren’t alone either. Many top athletes swear by them.
Bands are also one of the great bargains in the fitness world, being inexpensive and compact. At home, you can stash an entire set in one drawer. Try that with a set of weights or a stationary bike. And they’re perfect for travelers.
Full disclosure: One resistance band company, the Bodylastics brand, was once an advertiser on my website. However, I haven’t for years had any connection nor received any compensation from them. Still, I use their bands and like them a lot. There are probably others that are good, too. At Amazon, for
example, you can find many companies, as well as Bodylastics, selling bands.
For seniors especially, I hope you’ll give them a try. Your joints will love you for it.
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
Are you on Facebook?
Check out the Senior Exercise Central page at . . .
I search the Internet for senior health and fitness items. If you like what you see, please click the Like button. It helps me.
Spread the word. If you like the newsletter, we're making it easy to share it
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.
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter