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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #204. Mix up your workouts.
June 01, 2017
June 1, 2017
In this newsletter . . .
Workouts: Mix them up!
A lesson from my dog
Workouts: Mix them up!It was simple back then. In the early 1950s, my teenage workout goal was to gain weight and put on muscle. Simple. And I wasn’t alone. There were always workout buddies. We’d go on a fundamental bodybuilding program, stick with it a month, pumping iron like crazy, then change the routine and go another month. You’d eat anything in front of you, with an emphasis of course on protein, and more protein. And it worked. You got bigger and stronger.
Of course that was then. This is now, and today things are different. As a senior, ravenous eating and pounding away, workout-after-workout, doing the same routine is probably a bad idea. And unless one is really skinny, portion control eating now is a must.
Even the most dedicated exerciser can get tired of doing the same old routine. When you’re young, going full-bore at the same basic exercises workout-after-workout is just fine. As long as it produces those bigger lats, delts, quads and the rest. But mixing things up usually works better as you mature. It’s easier on aging joints and it defeats boredom. Just be sure the mixture includes regular doses of resistance work, cardio, and some stretching.
Now is a pretty good time to reevaluate your workouts. Summer is arriving in the Western Hemisphere. If you aren’t already getting some sort of outdoors exercise, now is a pleasurable time to include it. My own workout mix for a given summer week might look something like the following:
My workouts are brief (about 30- to 35-minutes). They’re fun, they’re balanced, and because of the varied training protocols my chance of overuse injury is practically nonexistent.
Put together a mixture of your own and see if you enjoy the variety. I think you might.
Postscript: Seniors who are total beginners should first begin here.
A lesson from my dogIn the spring of 1985, my daughter brought home a crossbreed puppy. The animal’s owner was on his way to the Humane Society with the unwanted puppy, the one in a litter that nobody would take. We named her Steve.
When she matured we realized she suffered pain in her hips. It turned out to be a severe case of hip dysplasia. One veterinarian said she would never be normal and to consider euthanasia. We said no.
We saw another doctor who explained an expensive surgical procedure requiring an orthopedic specialist. But he suggested, first, reducing her weight by five pounds and giving an anti-inflammatory pill when soreness was apparent. “Then let’s see how it goes.”
Steve never required the surgery and lived just two month’s shy of 14 wonderful years. The two of us hiked together and backpacked in the mountains of the western United States and a few in Canada.
Once in a while she would stiffen up after too much activity and I would give her the medication. It didn’t happen often. And the next day she would be fine.
Often just attaining and keeping normal bodyweight stops pain, even when structural problems are the source. Lugging around extra weight puts stress on joints as well as vital organs. With dogs or people it’s the same.
Fitness and proper bodyweight will not cure all problems or illnesses. But it will cure some, and it will make almost all more tolerable.
The last newsletter also addressed overweight and obesity. I don’t want to harp on the subject. And my guess is that most subscribers here are pretty fit. I happen to know some are extremely fit. Still, all of us should be aware and support efforts that help turn the obesity tide.
Here’s a sobering fact: The U.S. is the fattest nation in the world, followed closely by neighboring Mexico, the second fattest. More than 38% of U.S. adults are obese; in Mexico more than 32% of those aged 15 and over are obese. Most other developed nations aren't far behind. What a terrible thing to report, but it’s true and must be faced.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said this month the obesity rate in the U.S. will reach nearly 50% by 2030, if the trend continues.
These are just numbers on a page. But if you or someone you know is obese, you understand on a personal level the toll that it takes. Achieving a healthy bodyweight can bring about almost miraculous results. It’s the same with people as it is with dogs.
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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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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.
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