In last week’s Health Tip I began an article titled “How to Maintain Youth Into Your Senior Years” This is how I began last week’s Health Tip…
“Sadly, too many senior citizens are experiencing old age and dying years before they should — or need to. I have personally just reached the age of 80-1/2, and I feel compelled to share with others, especially other seniors, that you don’t have to lose your youth as you travel into and through those senior years and toward that day when your body will take its last breath and your heart will beat that last beat. Yes, there is a way to prevent senility and old age. Believe it or not, you can shave 20 years or more off your biological age, keep your mind sharp, your body weight healthy, your body slim, active, and vigorous and it is possible even if you don’t start until you are middle-aged or older. In fact, you can start feeling and acting younger within a very short amount of time if you are willing to make a few changes. The key to beating senility, preventing old age, and experiencing all the advantages in the above paragraph can be found in two words – (1) Diet and (2) Exercise. As an octogenarian, I look at others my age and some many years younger than I, and I see so many of them are experiencing old age many years before they should or need to.”
Last week I spent most of the Health Tip talking about the “diet” part of the equation and just got a good start on the “exercise” part, of which I said:
“Resistance exercises . . . are often referred to as “Strength Training”. Strengthening your muscles through resistance exercises has many benefits, from losing excess fat to maintaining healthy bone mass and preventing muscle loss as we age. “Strength training produces a number of beneficial changes at the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal and chemical levels of the body, helping to slow down and even reverse aging and many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle.“
I also mentioned that, “Strength training would be a good subject for a future Health Tip.” This is that future Health Tip. 🙂
Strength Training Offers Many Anti-aging Benefits
Strength training plays such an important role in keeping a body youthful as well as slowing down or preventing many of the aging problems many people experience in their senior years. Strength training is not only beneficial to your heart, but it can slow down your aging as well. Let me make it abundantly clear that it is never too late to begin, but the earlier you begin, and the more consistent you are, the greater will be the long term benefits.
An active lifestyle is an investment in your wellbeing and longevity.
These are not benefits you can derive from the very best form of health insurance or life insurance, nor can it be purchased with money. Interestingly, health insurance does not guarantee “health” just as life insurance cannot guarantee “life”. We are all going to die, but regardless of how much insurance we purchase, how healthy we are and how long we live is in our own hands and is our own responsibility. One study showed that strength training in the elderly reversed oxidative stress and genetically turned back the aging clock by as much as 20 years. Not only does strength training increase muscle strength, and elasticity, but it also builds strong connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and bone density. Strength training helps improve muscle tone, which from a biomechanical perspective is the ability of your muscles and connective tissue to hold the body together and in proper position. With good muscle tone, you will be better able to perform everyday activities like climbing stairs and getting in and out of a chair or bath tub, as you age.
Other Benefits of Strength Training
- Improved balance – As a person ages, balance often becomes a problem. Strength training helps strengthen muscles that control balance.
- Bone density – As a person ages, bones often become porous, and easily broken. Strength training along with a basically living foods diet helps rebuild the body’s skeleton and prevent broken bones as we age.
- Body composition – With a primarily living foods diet (as we talked about in part 1 of this article last week) along with strength training, we keep our body strong, flexible, and intact.
- Cardiovascular fitness – We keep our heart strong through aerobic movement of the body and aerobic activities which are a part of strength training. This also helps maintain proper blood pressure.
- Weight maintenance – In addition to high intensity exercise, strength training is an excellent way to get rid of stubborn, excess body fat, because working your muscles is key to activating your metabolism. And the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. Unlike traditional cardio, strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the strength training exercise is over.
Let’s Get Started!
Most strength training is done in a gym with weights or at home with the purchase of weights. I do strength training almost every day, but I do not use weights, nor do I go to a gym. If a person desires to use weights, here is how it is done, but it is not the way I do it: There are two basic terms you must understand before planning your strength training routine; reps and set. A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise – a set is a group of reps. So if you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested, then did 10 more. The number of reps you should do depends on your fitness level and your goals. For building strength and bulk, it’s generally recommended to do fewer than eight to 10 reps per set with heavier weights. But for tone and general conditioning, aim for 10 to 12 reps using more moderate weight. Doing dozens of reps with ultra light weights (weights you can barely feel) does not bring good results of any kind, because you’re not adequately stressing your muscles. You will want to adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise depending on which muscles you are working. Large muscles such as your thighs, chest, and upper back are stronger and will require a bit heavier weight. Smaller muscles, such as your shoulders and arms, require less weight. Just make sure that, regardless of how many sets you do, your last rep is challenging. In other words, you fully fatigue that muscle – you still maintain control of the weight, but you feel like you might not be able to make it the rest of the way. As your fitness progresses, you’ll want to carry each exercise to “muscle failure” – where you just can’t complete all of the last rep.
Here’s How I Do It
I do not go to a gym, where there are weights and a costly membership, nor do I have a room full of expensive weights taking up a lot of space in my home. Rather I have a very inexpensive way to perform these strength training exercises right in my home or any place there is a door when I am away from home and it’s available whenever I want. I do my strength training right at home or away in a motel room, in only 5 minutes a day. It’s called the “Fit 10” and has the total, onetime cost of less than $100.00. For some product reviews click here. The Fit 10 is a simple system of ropes and a bungee cord that in just 10 minutes can give a person an excellent workout anywhere there is a door. The first 5 minutes of the workout consist of resistance (strength training) and stretching exercises using a rope over the top of the door while you control the resistance. The second 5 minutes consist of an aerobic workout using a bungee cord around the door knob and running in place. I only do the first 5 minute resistance and stretching part of the exercise. I then do at least 4 miles of power walking later in the day for my aerobic workout, in place of the last 5 minutes of the Fit 10 aerobic workout. If a person doesn’t have a separate walking program, they can do the entire 10-minute, Fit 10 workout which includes the aerobic workout using the bungee cord. The beauty of the first 5 minutes of the Fit 10 workout is that you control the resistance without the use of any weights! There are three different resistance exercises, each for different parts of the body, and each exercise begins with a 10-second total resistance which fatigues the muscle group and prepares the muscle group for growth through a controlled resistance for 12 more seconds. There are three reps for each muscle group. With weights, you have to do many, many reps to fatigue the muscles before any muscle growth can take place. With the Fit 10, you fatigue the muscles through total resistance for 10 seconds so you can build the muscle with the 12-second part of the resistance exercise. It’s a much faster and easier way to build muscles and muscle tone. I have been using the Fit 10 now for several years and am still building muscles at the age of 80 plus. The results are a muscular body and rock hard stomach abs. One of the things that the people who attend my seminars appreciate is when I show my muscles and pound on my stomach with my fist.
When I was doing my 2-mile beach walk the other day, another gentleman walking the beach stopped me to ask how far I walk each day. In the conversation he asked how old I was. And when I told him I was 80-years old, his response was: “Boy are you in good shape for 80-years of age!” The other night, while doing my after supper 2-mile walk on the sidewalks where I live, a gentleman who had just moved into the community and was riding his bike stopped me and began a conversation. During the conversation I learned that he was a recently retired surgeon from Houston, Texas and had done lots of research into cancer and its cause. Boy did we have a great conversation! He was telling me of the need for an alkaline diet to help prevent cancer. He was extremely excited about the Hallelujah Diet and wanted more information. In the conversation he shared that he was 65 years old and wondered how old I was. I asked him to guess my age – and his guess was 59 years old. When I shared with him my age was 80 he was amazed and even more interested in getting on the Hallelujah Diet.
Poor diet and lack of daily exercise are the two primary reasons for our bodies getting old long before they should. And proper diet and abundant daily exercise are the way to delay old age and — if done faithfully each and every day — can prevent old age almost until that last breath or last heartbeat. When I talk about exercise I am not talking about exhaustive workouts and running triathlons’ – no you don’t have to do that sort of vigorous exercise to stay in shape. But you have to do some forms of stretching, resistance and oxygenating exercises almost every day in order to get the benefits. Let me give you what I do almost every day accept Sunday,
- First thing upon arising – a serving of BarleyMax
- A little later – I have a Green Smoothie
- After the Green Smoothie I work out for 5 minutes on my Fit 10
- Around 11:00 a.m. or right after lunch I go to the beach for a 2-mile power walk, barefoot.
- Before both lunch and supper I have another serving of BarleyMax.
- After supper I go for another 2-mile power walk on the sidewalk in the development where we live.
- I try to be in bed by 10:00 pm.
Rhonda has a very similar routine – including the BarleyMax, Green Smoothie, Fit 10, and walking routine. How long will I live after being on the Hallelujah Diet and having a daily exercise routine for the past 38 years? I have no idea! One thing I know for sure is that I will live life to the fullest until I die. And I know that physical death is not the end, for I have a home in heaven with Jesus awaiting me because 57 years ago, at the age of 23 I became a Christian. In school, preparing for the ministry and as a pastor for many years, I visited enough retirement homes to know that I don’t want to end up in a nursing home all drugged up, rocking myself in a rocking chair till death, full of all kinds of drugs and physical ailments. I enjoy life too much for that – I love LIFE! And thus I am taking steps to prevent old age. At 80-plus years of age I still am excited about LIFE and living each day to the fullest. But I know that in order to continue to enjoy life and being able to live each day to the fullest – IT IS UP TO ME! It is not up to the doctor or some drugs or even God, how I spend my last years or how long I live – IT IS UP TO ME! (See Romans 12:1-2.) And dear friend, if you want to enjoy life into and through those senior years it is up to YOU! You have to choose to make the effort to eat right and exercise daily if you want the reward of MAINTAINING YOUR YOUTH INTO YOUR SENIOR YEARS. And let’s not forget what the Bible tells us in Galatians 6:7 regarding “It is up to me and it is up to you”:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN (or women) SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE (or she) ALSO REAP.”
Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creek doesn’t rise too high, we will return with another exciting issue of the Hallelujah Health Tip. Trust you will join us and that you will share these Health Tips with friends and loved ones.