Seventy (70) is the new Forty (40). To many of you that sounds like a lot of BS, as you sit there with aches and pains in places you never knew you had. I’m 70 years old, so I know how you feel. As we age, our metabolism slows, muscle mass shrinks, and our hormone and neurological responses decline. However, those facts being what they are, recent studies at the University of Alabama Center for Exercise Medicine (Role Tide) for you Bama fans have indeed verified the claim that seventy (70) is the new forty (40). Several of his studies show that we Baby Boomers, or older adults, can achieve muscle growth and strength, so to speak. The key is constant effort. If you make an effort to exercise consistently and follow a fitness plan, you will see results. I am not suggesting that you try to bench press in New Jersey and run a Forrest Gump marathon, but rather follow a fitness plan that consists of at least thirty (30) minutes three times a week. Seeing results may take a little longer, but studies indicate that if you’re consistent, your results will be the same as when you were in your forties. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the physique of a forty-year-old, well-toned person than a seventy-plus-year-old with sagging muscles.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m in my 70s and have been following various exercise schemes for over 50 years, long before it was all the rage. With that said, my advice is first and foremost to check with your doctor and make sure they give you the go-ahead to start your fitness plan. Once you’ve been cleared to start your scheme, start with the basics, at a slow to moderate pace. Your training scheme should be basic, but work your whole body.
Let’s start with some basic terms:
(SETS) A set refers to the particular exercise for the particular muscle group in your fitness plan. Bicep curl example. Our goal is to do three sets of each body part with a minimum of eight (8) repetitions and a maximum of twelve (12) repetitions. Once you achieve twelve (12) repetitions, you need to increase your weight. As with all exercises, once you reach twelve (12) repetitions, without much resistance, increase the amount of weight by 2 1/2 to 5 pounds. It’s a judgment on your part.
(REPS.) Reps is short for repetitions or the number of times you repeat a particular exercise movement. Example Eight (8) repetitions.
Shoulder width: place your feet shoulder width apart.
A BASIC SCHEME:
1) WARM UP: First of all, I like to take a short walk of about ten minutes, on a treadmill or in nature, to get my blood flowing and all parts of my body to relax.
2) Push-ups: to start from 5 to 10 push-ups. If you can’t do a normal push-up, you can do them by standing up and pushing yourself against a wall. The idea is movement, wall push-ups will still work your chest muscles and triceps.
3) Stretching bans: Grasp the bans with your hands and place your elbows next to your sides, feet shoulder-width apart. Pull the bands across your chest. Do eight (8) reps to start. When you buy bans, they will come in various resistance strengths. At first, choose the ban that offers the least resistance. Once you increase your reps to twelve (12), move on to the next ban and start again with eight (8) reps. building back up to twelve (12) reps.
4) Dumbbell Shoulder Exercise: Dumbbells come in various sizes, starting at 2 1/2 pounds and going up. Bowflex has a convenient dumbbell system that eliminates having multiple dumbbells. Basically they are two dumbbells that you adjust to the desired weight you need. That said, I’d start with 2 1/2 or 5 pound dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push the dumbbells up over your head, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, and then lower them to the tops of your shoulders; do eight (8) reps. Once you rack up twelve (12) repetitions, increase your weight.
5) Bicep Curl Using Dumb Bells: Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart. Using ten (10) pound dumbbells, place them in your hands, arms by your sides, palms facing forward. Curl the weights up to the top of your shoulders and then lower them to your side, always keeping your palms facing forward and your elbows at your sides. Start with eight (8) repetitions. and work up to twelve (12) repetitions.
6) Triceps Extensions – While holding a 2 1/2 or five (5) pound dumbbell in your right hand, lean forward slightly from the waist and at the same time place your left leg in front of your bent body, bending slightly the left. leg. Rest your left forearm on your knee or upper thigh. Pulling the dumbbell up along your right side at waist height, extend your right arm behind you, then bring it back to the side of your waist from where you started. Do eight (8) reps working up to twelve (12) reps. Reverse this position and do the same with your left triceps. I know this sounds a bit weird, but it’s a great exercise. Basically, you just lean forward and extend your weight behind your body in a straight line.
7) Squats: For beginners, I would only use your body weight. Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, as you squat, push your buttock out by leaning forward slightly at the waist. I wouldn’t get past a half squat position. As with the other exercises in our fitness plan, start with eight (8) repetitions and work your way up to twelve (12) repetitions. However, with this exercise I’d build the reps up to at least 25 before considering using weights.
8) Lunges: As with squats, I would start with no weights. Stand up straight, extend your left foot by bending both knees simultaneously and go down as far as you can, don’t overextend, also keep in mind that you need to focus on your balance. Go back up to your starting position. Do eight (8) to twelve (12) repetitions. Repeat this for your right leg. I wouldn’t consider using weights for lunges until I could do 25 reps per leg.
Items that I have found helpful are elastic bands, cable machines, like (Bowflex), dumbbells, and walking on a treadmill or just walking in nature.