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Senior Fitness: How To Be An Elder With Strength & Health

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Super Old And Super Strong

What do you want to be when you grow up?

No I’m not talking to your little sibling, I’m talking to you. You are always growing no matter how old you are. And how you grow, is all up to you.

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Whether you want to grow old and stiff or grow old and strong. Your muscles are either always growing or “shrinking” and naturally as you age, your muscles begin to lose its magic. The elasticity and strength of muscles are on a decline which usually happens after the age of 30.

Fear not, depending on your genetics and lifestyle (diet and activities), you get choose if you want to keep up or improve your health so you can age gracefully.

Regardless of your age, you CAN start now and if you have an obstacle like an injury or an illness, there is ALWAYS a way. The quality and the quaintly of your life in the present and in the future depends on you NOW.

 

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Baby boomers are increasing in population faster than ever.

By the year 2050, we’ll be having more elderly people over 60 than 15 year olds for first time in history! That means more elderly will be depending on the help of their families and doctors. Nursing homes may be over populated and there will have to be a solution for the over populated elders.


Governments will be in great demand to pay for social security. We will have more caretakers but the demand will be greater than the supply. Our health must be in check and we need to keep aiming for a higher quality lifestyle. We need to be as independent as possible with our body, or the dependence on others will be too great.


The trainers need to give proper nutrition and diet advice and trainees need to understand that there has to be logic and science behind the advice that they receive. The myths of exercise and diet needs to be cleared and common sense must be brought to light.

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If we don’t maintain our muscles and health, it will just deteriorate overtime. “Use it or lose it” is a famous saying that we may have heard a million times but it is indeed a true saying.


“I’m too old to be exercising, I’m not going to live forever anyway” or “I’m young, YOLO (you only live once)”. These sayings and quotes are overly used and it’s a great way to excuse out of your laziness. No one was born with great strength or no one walks into the gym for the very first time and decides they will bench all the weight available in the gym.


Our bodies are forever fascinating machines; they have the ability to adapt to any challenge thrown in its way. So if you have trouble running a lap for one month, the next month you may be able to run that lap while updating your status on Facebook “running a lap for warm up, anyone watching?”.


No one was born perfect; we all have something that we don’t like about ourselves (Unless you’re Chuck Norris). You might have an injury that might be an obstacle in the gym, or you may have an illness or diseases or (god forbid) cancer.


No one wants to be sick; everyone wants to be able to depend on themselves and their bodies. Who wants to spend hours at the hospital waiting to see a doctor? You may have to at one point in your life or another, but the chances and risks can be GREATLY reduced.


With 250 million older people with moderate to severe disabilities, we can’t just prescribe an exercise program without safety in mind.

In this article:


I will explain why the elderly needs to start exercising, how to work around injuries and what the diet and program should look like. I will help you to get motivated or for your elderly loved one to start improving the quality of lifestyle right now.


As an elder, you probably realized by now how much weaker or less your muscle mass is than it was 10 years ago. From this, many myths are created such as muscle mass turning into fat, or not being able to put on dense mass because of age. It’s not ever about comparing yourself, obviously no one has been able to put on muscle overnight or become fit in just a day.

For some people it may take longer to see results because of their age. This should never be an excuse to stop or to completely stop training to be fit.

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Whether you like it or not, you’re always at risk. At risk from diseases, falling, or even getting an injury and as you get older, these risks may increase. The risk can always be decreased and your protections against injuries are up to you. Sure you may have insurance that will cover your hospital bills but that will never ensure prevention and protection.


As you weight train, your bone density and muscle mass naturally increases and as it does, breaking through them or damage caused from falling or hurting yourself becomes difficult to happen.

If you let your muscles have no purpose, then you naturally let the muscle mass on a decline throughout the process of your aging.

Your body is always fighting against gravity to keep its balance.

Whether you blame your low energy level on your age, becoming more fit will make it easier to have more energy as gravity will be nothing when you are weight trained.


Energy levels aren’t the only thing that will be up, you become stronger, look younger and almost none pains or aches. Just the thought of all these benefits becoming true, doesn’t it make you feel better?


You will want to keep weight training no matter what your age is. It will make everyday activities easier for the elderly man or woman. Imagine not being able to lift a laundry basket or even getting out of bed. It shouldn’t be a chore, and if it is, you can adapt to harder activities which will make daily activities much easier.


“Oh! My hip! My Back!”

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You can improve the strength and flexibility of all your body by just a bit of your concentration and time in a workout program. The body doesn’t maintain its use if it isn’t needed, so that’s why you may find some elderly who are so stiff that they find it hard to squeeze their hands into a fist.

Strength training doesn’t make you stiff! In fact it helps because it challenges your body to move with added difficulty which it adapts to. Making it easier for the next time it’s challenged so it’s always strong and flexible!


“Old people are too fragile and weak to be lifting weights”


Is lifting weights any different than an old guy joining a bowling league throwing down 10 pound balls down the lane?

I don’t know why a person would assume it’s unsafe for old people to lift weights but when they are picking up weighted objects, isn’t that considering lifting? Also don’t you find old people bending over planting their plants in their gardens or at their grandkids before they are picked up?


Imagine this unique situation. You are in a house where gravity exists and it is magnified by 10. You will have to move in and out of bed and carry out your everyday activities. This means you have to fight for your balance and movement 10 times harder than usual. That would be a bit difficult right?


With a switch of a button, the gravity is back to normal and you are carrying out the same activities as you did before. Wouldn’t you imagine that it would be a little easier than usual?

That’s what weight training is, it is not an evil sin where you are doing something completely different and weird. It is making gravity harder to move through which in return making it easier for you every day. It only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete and it only needs to be done twice a week.


It sounds great doesn’t it?

If I was an elder, I would trade in 1 of my 168 hours per week for the simple deal that my daily activities would be easier and my energy levels would be higher than normal. I would look great and my strength is up, my pains and aches are on the low and it’s barely noticeable.

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After going through such a workout, my endorphins are released making depression to be almost non-existent. I would be almost guaranteed of a non disease and stronger than average elderly life. Most importantly, I would save money and time by less hospital visits and bills.


For all that I would sell my soul! You don’t have to break a leg to get fit; it just needs an hour of your week. Amazing right?


For some it may not be so amazing if you have an injury and you think it’s impossible to get back on a fit and healthy track. You may be wrong because you can visit your doctor and ask what you can or can’t do in the gym.


If he says you are able to lift a laundry basket that’s 5 pounds, but you can’t actually lift a dumbbell that’s 5 pounds then you should switch to a different doctor. Don’t give up on what you deserve; everyone should be able to live independently with not just a longer life, but a quality healthy lifestyle as well.


Your muscles and body are designed to work and they are there to stay. As an elder, you face the challenge of injury and possibly a lower testosterone level. A good weight training program will help you overcome these challenges and make sure that all your body is maintained or even improved.


You can reverse the symptoms of aging with an “al-mighty” weight training program. If you’re a woman, you too have muscle mass and you’re losing bone density if you do not start training. If you’re using an excuse of money, you can work out outside or in the comfort of your own home. Check out my other articles for more information about working out without equipment.


For an idea of a “good” diet, it should consist of 100+ grams of protein, 30 grams of healthy fats, and 200-400 grams of carbohydrates. Of course this varies with activity level and weight.
Also for strength training you should do 10 repetitions of a challenging weight, if your able to do more than 12 then the weight is too light. The breaks should be between 30-90 seconds between each set. It is crucial to make sure you’re warmed up before starting any physically activities to prevent injuries.

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Basic Strength Training Program for the Elderly Female or Male (at any age):
Please do check with a medical professional before making any changes in your exercise or diet program. And again please warm up to get the blood and nutrients flowing to the targeted muscles.


Start with the lightest weight, and increase the weight by 5 to 20% for each set.


Chest:
Machine Chest Press:
15 reps for 3 sets (3 sets means 15 repetitions 3 times with a break in between.
Dumbbell Chest presses (on bench):
10-12 reps for 3 sets

Back:
Lat Pull-down
15 repetitions for 3 sets
Bent Over Barbell Rows
10-12 reps for 3 sets

Shoulders:
Shoulder Press (Machine)
15 reps for 2 sets
Dumbbells Shoulder Press
12 reps for 2 sets

Legs:
Leg Extension:
15 reps for 3 sets
Squats
10 reps for 3 sets

Arms:
Dumbbell curl 2 sets for 12 reps
Tricep Pulldowns 2 sets for 12 reps

 

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I will be continuously updating this article so keep checking back! I hope this motivates many elders to start strength and fitness training and I’m sure many will respond very well. You never know if you like it until you try it! Please do try it, it will make life easier on yourself and loved ones!

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