The Common School Of Thought
Since I am a power lifter, I frequently hear, “Aren’t you afraid of hurting yourself?” My response is simply, “No. I know that I will hurt myself if I DON’T do this.”
As we age, we naturally lose muscle. Our metabolism slows. Our reflexes aren’t as fast. While this is a nightmare scenario, I can assure you that a whole lot of this is not inevitable. The “Fountain of Youth” is resistance training and/or High Intensity Interval Training. Truth is, I’m much more fit and healthy than I was at 21. At 21 I was not a power lifter. I ate poorly. I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch, just because I could. Today, at 62, I am the strongest and healthiest that I have ever been and in many ways, I look better. Hard exercise changes more than your body. It changes your face also because you flex those muscles just like all the rest when you push yourself hard. Your circulation increases and you are left with a glow that diffuses the light so that imperfections are less visible. I would not trade the body that I live in today for the body that I have had at any other age. I have hard exercise to thank for that, (and one hell of a trainer…;-D)
See Your Doctor Before Beginning ANY Exercise Routine!
Always see your physician to approve any exercise routine. These statements are my opinion and are intended to be used in accordance with your physician’s approval. If you are not inclined to lift weights, check out HIIT. It will push you to your limit and some of these workouts do use weights, which I personally always favor. Weight sculpts our bodies like nothing else can and I always want to be lean and sculpted.
There is a myth concerning strength training that it doesn’t serve as cardio. That may be true if you are wielding small amounts of weight in a way that does not stress you. As a power lifter, I can assure you, if you lift enough weight you will get some cardio. There are times that if I had any more cardio I’d need to take a serious break. I do try to wait 90 seconds between sets and in that time, my heart rate will begin to return to normal but I like to proceed before it’s quite there. I get all the cardio that I can stand.
Mayo Clinic Testimonial
According to Daniel V. Gaz, of the Mayo Clinic,  “how do you stop the loss of muscle mass and increase it instead? It’s simple-lift weights!” I have been asked if it’s possible to get 6-pack abs in your 60’s. Yes. The 6-pack is already there. If it wasn’t, you couldn’t stand up. What we have to do is burn the fat off of them and build the muscles up. As the fat melts away, the 6-pack will be revealed. If we build those muscles, the 6-pack will be more obvious and we won’t have to be Bones Jones skinny for it to be seen.
Skinny is not healthy. Lean and strong is what your body thrives on. Muscle not only enables us to move, it also helps with digestion, breathing and posture. Building and maintaining muscle is quite possibly the biggest favor that you can do for yourself. I have noticed that when my muscles are strong, they take stress off of my joints. I don’t have the bone and joint problems that many people think are “normal” with aging. Muscle is a natural shock absorber so the impact from falls or just everyday activities will travel through muscle before it impacts bones and joints. I have taken falls that would have seriously injured some folks with no after-effects.
If you are in your 20’s, you may get away with “Easy” for a while but I implore you, with your Doctor’s permission, learn to embrace “Hard”. Later in life you will be a completely different person. I work with people 40 years younger than me who come get me when they need help with the heavy lifting. I am glad to assist them. I also take those times to teach them some of the basic body mechanics involved in lifting so that they will have longevity in their profession. We are medical and sometimes our strength is absolutely critical.
The Big Question
Is it more difficult to strengthen your body now or to allow yourself to deteriorate until you have skeletal and other medical issues related to inactivity and atrophy? I don’t do atrophy. I have never accepted that as a normal thing. I see that as a result of apathy, or laziness or sometimes as ignorance. We have to care and be willing to work to create the body that we want to live in. Do you want to spend your time taking care of your body or running from doctor to doctor trying to get it patched up? There are physical ailments that befall us that are not due to our actions or negligence but, so much suffering can be avoided. So much good can be done. The difference in old and broke down and advanced chronological years in awesome shape is world’s apart. I ask you today, what will your choice be? ;-*