WHAT IS A SENIOR?
I think of seniors as those over the age of 65. But AARP begins seeking memberships of those who reach the age of 50. 50? (I felt really young at 50).
Senior citizen discounts are given to those who are 50, 55, 62 or 65.
The median age of U.S. citizens is 37.8. So, at age 38 we may be considered to be on a down slope.
I have two daughters in their 50s, so seniors by one of the definitions. One daughter is a yoga teacher / practitioner and mountain climber. The other daughter is a paddle boarder and hiker. Both have full time jobs.
I am 80, almost 81. I have played high school basketball and college tennis, as well as state and local sanctioned tennis tournaments through my 50s. Then I took up golf at age 70. I have worked out with weights since age 17.
I still work out, though my intensity has lessened. Senior fitness exercises to me are simply different versions of what I have done for decades. Less weight, fewer sets in some cases. Generally, more reps.
The Center for Disease Control recommends that those over the age of 65 should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes per day for five days per week. We should do muscle strengthening exercise for two days per week, at least.
Unfortunately, less than one third of those over 65 actually meet these recommendations.
CARDIO IS GREAT, BUT DON’T FORGET RESISTANCE TRAINING
Most active seniors that I know seem to do lots of cardio and not so much weight training.
Cardio is certainly great and would include:
- Dancing, especially aerobic dancing
- Tennis or pickleball
Here is a nice 15-minute standing cardio workout by Meredith, of Senior Fitness with Meredith.
Personally, I like to work out with my treadmill, but only with music playing. The music comes from my computer, actually from Spotify. My treadmill is by Nordic Track and is shown below. (I am an Amazon affiliate and often show their links. I may be rewarded if the links are used).
My Nordic Track – not the most expensive, but it has lasted well
Walking outside is certainly an option for all of us, though an indoor treadmill appealed to me to get me through the winter weather.
A study was done by Wake Forest University to determine the best exercise methods for adults over 60 years of age who wanted to lose weight. The study measured the fitness results of 249 people over a period of 18 months.
Losing weight while preserving muscle was the objective of all participants.
There were 3 groups:
- Those who walked and dieted
- Those who worked out with weights and dieted
- Those who only dieted
Here are the findings:
- Group #1 lost 16 pounds (each person)
- Group #2 lost 17 pounds
- Group #3 lost 10 pounds
- Group #1 lost 4 pounds of muscle mass
- Group #2 lost 2 pounds of muscle mass
- Group #3 lost 2 pounds of muscle mass
- Group #1 lost 20% of its weight loss in muscle mass
- Group #2 lost 10% of its weight loss in muscle mass
- Group #3 lost 16% of its weight loss in muscle mass
Those who walked and dieted lost more lean muscle mass than those who only dieted.
This is why I say “Don’t forget resistance training”.
We do this form of exercise to strengthen our muscles. We need strength to accomplish the many routine tasks associated with our daily lives. The idea is to challenge our muscles to overcome resistances that are gradually increasing. This presents greater challenges and enables our muscles to grow.
Common resistance forms include:
- Barbells and dumbbells
- Weight machines
- Resistance bands
This video shows an excellent resistance band workout, brief but very effective.
Resistance bands are easy on our joints and are reasonable in price.
Here is a complete set of bands that will work our entire bodies.
For dumbbells or barbells, go to my Dick’s Sporting Good link on the side. Proceed to the “Exercise and Wellness” category. Then look under weight training. They have the best!
MY PERSONAL ROUTINE
In this picture, I had barely turned 80. This was a couple of weeks after my 80th birthday.this year.
I am now dealing with severe back pain, so most of my daily workout is composed of physical therapy movements. Thus far, I am doing 16 sets, but this will increase as I see my therapists in future appointments.
I don’t do anything on my treadmill. Also, walking of any kind is painful. That leaves torso exercises, which I still do after I finish my physical therapy.
I do one set of planks every day. This is a commonly known isometric exercise. See below.
I use Bullworker tools for most of my resistance movements Here is my routine:
- 4 sets of Bullworker back exercises and 2 sets of dumbbell curls one day (after my physical therapy routine)
- 3 sets of Bullworker chest exercise and 1 set of dumbbell triceps extensions the next day (again after physical therapy)
Bullworker workout equipment is easy on the joints and yet very challenging to anyone. Martial artist Bruce Lee developed his strength with a Bullworker.
I use the Bullworker Steel Bow and the Bow Classic. These are tools that we compress or pull apart. We can change the level of resistance by changing the springs that are within the equipment.
Here is a brief demonstration of a couple of the Bullworker movements that I do. I like to do about 20 reps and then a lengthy isometric hold.
The Bullworker line is shown here.
So, I do my complete physical training, a set of planks, several Bullworker sets and a couple of dumbbell sets each day. This keeps me busy, but I miss the cardio.
In my view, it is important to reward ourselves after a workout. I use my high intensity foot massager to relax me and to increase my blood circulation. See my prior post on foot massagers.
If you don’t have a foot massager, by all means get one! It will enhance your life!
Seniors who have always been active need not become lazy and sedentary ever!
Those seniors who have been inactive would be wise to check with their primary physicians and then get started. Slowly at first. Then very gradually add more distance or resistance. Keep it simple. Be consistent. Reward yourself.
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather!