By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
We’ve been thrown off our usual routines – first by COVID and then by a new ice age – for nearly a year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been worrying that if I don’t get outside on a regular basis or to the Y, I might have lost ground that I might not get back.
Others might kill time with TV or Netflix, believing they can make up lost time. Or a year of disrupted healthy eating or exercise routines.
Me? I am starting to see the dark at the end of the tunnel and I believe every minute counts. The old saw, “Use it or lose it,” has been nagging me all year.
My anxiety comes from my own personal fitness guilt AND a well-founded and researched place. In the 1970s, several studies showed that after the age of 55, strength, stamina, and flexibility drop significantly.
That was the bad news. The good news came about 20 years later, in the 90s, when a Harvard and Tufts study showed that it didn’t have to be that way.
Apparently, all is not lost.
Even if you haven’t exercised in a year – or at all – you can reverse functional loss. The study showed that was true even for the oldest and frailest members of the study.
Good to know.
When the pandemic struck, I tackled new routines with vigor: floor exercises with various Y instructors, streamed on my phone.
Oh, I still do them on occasion, but not with the same vigor. Instead of working out happily for 45-60 minutes, I start checking the clock in a few minutes. And I often give up early, not even lasting a half hour.
So I did what anybody who’s been held hostage in exercise hell for a year: I googled exercises for 70 year olds.
The first site I landed on suggested water aerobics as the number one choice. But until COVID numbers go down, that would mean installing my own pool. Not likely.
Walking – which I hope to do as soon as the muck on the streets and sidewalks has dried up – was also on the list.
Most interesting was what the site suggested people of a certain age should NOT do for exercise:
Squats with weights. Bench presses. Leg presses. Abdominal crunches. High intensity interval training. Rock climbing.
I get it. You shouldn’t put down the bag of Fritos and leap from the easy chair and begin power lifting. But that’s not true for regular exercisers, or for people who want to be able to leap from the easy chair.
I won’t do any rock climbing, for sure. But the rest of the warned-against exercises? You bet. I need to keep in shape for what I want to do: walk all over town, bike on backcountry roads, swim in lakes, carry my bag for 18 holes, shoot hoops in the alley, and – most important – go hiking with my wife (Hmm. Someone has been messing with my computer).
What are YOU going to do?
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|