We Were Designed to Work Hard

I am 55 years old and besides enjoying the open road on my Harley Davidson, my leisure pursuit of choice is weight training and anything that can help me be the most physically fit that I can be. And of course these questions arise frequently;

Aren’t you getting a little old for all this craziness?

Short answer, Nope, not at all.

Aren’t you afraid all that weight lifting is going to hurt you?

Again, Nope, not at all.

No, I am not getting too old for weight training and physical fitness in general, and neither are you. I do not give a damn how old you are, there is always something you can do (health allowing of course) to move your body and keep it healthy. If anyone younger than my friend at my gym says they are too old, I really want you to speak with Clarice. This beautiful woman is 83 years young. She suffered a stroke about a year ago and still goes to the gym for cardiovascular and strength building exercises on a regular basis. This gal has more back bone than many young men I know personally.

Moving on to another example. My co-author Brenda Sue is an individual I became acquainted with through Weight Watchers social media Connect. I had joined Weight Watchers to be supportive of my wonderful wife Loraine who had also joined, and for my own benefit. I am a power lifter and had gained a lot of weight eating 6000 calories per day to fuel my lifting. Note, this kind of weight gain is not the healthiest even if you are gaining massive amounts of strength. I began posting on Connect not only my weight loss progress, but also my physical fitness regimen which prompted Brenda Sue to ask me if I could advise her in weight training. That was about 10 months ago and I began training her via online video as she lives 800 miles away from me.

Brenda Sue is a 62 year old nurse who works long hours at a very demanding job. Yet, every task I have placed on her to accomplish with a barbell, she has attacked with great effort in getting it right and in getting strong. I now have her on an intermediate level power lifting program and must say her progress has been quite remarkable.

Many people, besides myself, shrug off this aren’t you “too old” nonsense.

Don’t wimp out damn it, you are capable of more than you can ever imagine if at first you just decide to put in some effort at living a phsically fit life. Most people who fail at any endeavor, first fail in their own mind. Now, back to am I afraid of getting hurt. Brenda Sue puts it best with “Being sedentary will hurt me worse than lifting weights ever will”. This is so true on many levels. Lifing weights will:

  • Obviously, get you stronger than you were before.
  • Physical challenges will become easier for you.
  • Mental challenges will be mitigated.
  • Your self confidence is going to improve.
  • Your body is going to look better.
  • Your bones will strengthen and lessen your risks of Osteoporosis as you age.
  • Your self esteem is going to grow by leaps and bounds.
  • If you suffer depression or Post Traumatic Stress, your symptoms are going to be reduced.

Physical activity helps you feel and perform at your best. There are no exceptions to this rule my friends, as sitting on your ass on your couch watching reruns on the bood tube will never make you feel as good as exercise will. The key to sticking with a regular physical fitness regimen is to choose activities that you wll enjoy. Be flexible and try many things. Remember that you do not have to spend 60 consecutive minutes engaged in physical activity as a few minutes here and there add to the benefits of moderate activity. Just ensure you get your heart rate increased for it to truly count. But, bear in mind, any activity that gets you moving is good, but doing more is always going to be better. The goal is to have a physically active lifestyle my friends.

Mounting evidence suggests that our bodies need regular, moderate physical activity that gets our hearts beating and forces our muscles to wok harder than they usually do in order to remain healthy. Physiologically speaking, overall fitness is a balance between different body systems. With respect ot the joints, flexibility is important. With repsect to muscles, strength and endurance are important. Optimal nutrition contributes to athletic performance, and conversely, regular exercise contributes to a person’s ability to use and store nutrients optimally. Together, the two are indispensable to a high quality of life. No one who is, or can be fit, has to settle for less than optimal physical fitness, period. It is choice made by each individual when they live a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to yield healthy benefits. Moderate amounts of physical activity are recommended for people of all ages. However, at present, only about 33 percent of adults engage regularly in sustained physical activity of any intensity. About 38 percent of adults report no physical activity at all. And we wonder why there is rising costs to medical care, besides all the blame that can be placed on insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, we as citizens are also responsible when we accept obesity and all the associated health issues which go along with it as the new norm of modern life.

In proceeding with a physical fitness program, keep in mind that fitness builds slowly, so activity should increase gradually. For beginners, consistency is very important. Establish a regular pattern of physical activity first (for example, 30 minutes cumulative to start) and plan to increase that amount over time. View your physical activity time as a lifelong commitment.

If you are just starting on a fitness program, a few precautions are important. For most apparently healthy people, moderate physical activity such as walking should not pose any problem. However, medical advice concerning suitable type of activity may be necessary for anyone with any of the risk factors shown in the margin or for anyone diagnosed with cardiac or other known diseases.

Always remember, fitness does not, nor should it be an all or nothing activity. The term fitness is not restricted to the seasoned athlete. With a basic understanding of the concept of total fitness and a personal commitment to a physically active lifestyle, anyone can become fit. To be fit, you don’t have to be able to finish the local marathon, nor do you have to develop the muscles of a Mr. Universe or Miss Olympia. Rather, what you need is a healthy body weight and enough flexibility, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardiovascular endurance to meet the everyday demands that life places on you, plus some to spare. Do not let perfection be your stumbling block, everyone in the gym was once a novice too.

No matter how old you are, you have the body of a modern human being, and that body was designed more than 100,00 years ago. You can even conclude that that we humans have inherited enes that have been fine tuned to support a physically active lifestyle. In fact, scientists from University of Missouri, University of Pennsylvania, and East Carolina University not only hypothesize this to be true, but go on to say “that physical inactivity in sedentary societies directly contributes to multiple chronic health disorders”. They conclude that all physical inactivity is an abnormal state because our bodies have been programmed to expect physical activity; this is why inactivity causes the metabolic dysfunctions that lead to a host of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabets and high blood pressure. Nearly all of your biochemistry and physiology was fine tuned by and for conditions of life that existed more than 10,000 years ago. However, what we eat has changed drastically more in the last 50 years than in the previous 40,000 years. So what in the hell is the big deal? Our genes do not know it. We still process food the same way our ancestors did, very efficiently. To understand this concept, you need only compare “yesterdays” diet and physical activity patterns to “todays” diet and physical habits. When you make this comparison, it is of no wonder there are more obese people in American society than there are physically fit.

In closing, you are never too old for physical fitness. You can be too infirm or injured, but that is not the same as being too old. Of course, the reality is your injury or infirmity may likely be the result of a sedentary life style coupled with less than healthy dietary habits. Bottom line is if you do not want to keep looking like a cream puff, keep sitting your ass on the couch and munch away on those cream puffs. If you want to be physically fit, and not look like a bag of cookies, then you have to eat healthy and move your body accordingly. Wanting to look and feel good will never cut the mustard if you are not willing to make permenent changes to your life.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Brenda Sue says:

    You are the best example I can imagine for not quitting and committing in the tough times. Thank you, Coach, I could never lift like I do without you.

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