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Strength Training To Get Back The Life You Had
Jack and Marcus had long played golf together, and both had knee replacements at the same time. Jack exercised religiously before his operation and resumed shortly thereafter. He did his daily stretches and about 30 minutes of strength training a week. His recovery was swift, and he was ready for duck hunting season. Meanwhile Marcus who did not exercise was still on a walker.
Jack stuck to the exercise program for the years that followed. Jack now 78 years old was still an avid golfer but had few golfers his age to golf with. Marcus, five years younger, just played nine holes and the next day was too rundown to play again. Jack insisted that Marcus try his exercise program. Jack said, “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Anybody can stick to one half hour a week.” Marcus tried it. A year later he was playing 18 holes, and the next day, he would play 18 holes again. He was hitting the ball farther and enjoying golf again. Perhaps most importantly of all, he received the added health benefits of walking those additional 27 holes.
The resulting life changes, from just a little of the right exercise, come in many forms. Some of the many reports I have heard from clients over the years include climbing a ladder to change a light bulb, playing with grandchildren again, or walking across the dance floor without clutching an arm for support. The victories may seem small but they are important victories as people reclaim their independence and the lives they once had.
One need not be a prisoner of physical limitations, and one can live well without requiring hours each week engaged in a monotonous exercise. Significant strength increases occur upon exercising as little as once or twice a week IF it’s the right exercise program. An efficiently designed circuit strength training program will start with the premise of not seeing how much exercise one can withstand but with just how little one can get way with and still have significant results. One such strength training program was derived from an exercise study working with women who had osteoporosis. Researchers found that joints hurt less, bone density increased and muscles were stronger and more toned with minimal time exercising. Exercise programs that require too much of your time lead to injury, insufficient recovery, lack of positive results, drudgery and eventually quitting.
Thirty years ago few people lifted weights. It was rare to see women, golfers, or the elderly pumping iron. That has all changed, and of all those who stand to gain, the elderly stand to benefit most. nobody is put in a nursing home for being out of breath; it is generally because they are too weak to carry out daily living activities, and then they fall and hurt themselves. There are plenty of studies out that make the case increasing strength.
Evans, WJ. Reversing sarcopenia: how weight training can build strength and vitality. Geriatrics 1996 May: 51(5):46-7,51-3.
“Progressive resistance exercise can produce substantial increases in strength and muscle size, even in the oldest patients. For many older patients, resistance training represents the safest, least expensive means to lose body fat, decrease blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance, and maintain long-term independence.”
These life changes don’t require hours in the gym; do just enough to cause a change then come back and do it again in a week. With such a program you’ll more likely to stick to it, and in a year you will be a changed person. Mickey Mantle once said, “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”. Is it worth spending less than an hour a week exercising to slow the aging process? For Marcus it is.
About the Author: John Kelly is the owner of Ultimate Fitness in New Orleans, LA and Kelly Personal Training in Austin, TX. He has been a personal trainer for 27 years. He specializes in high-intensity circuit strength training designed for safety and maximum impact in minimum time. For more information go to either of John’s websites http://www.kellypersonaltraining.com or http://www.ultimate30.com or call John at 512-964-8787.