This summer, on a couple of early Friday mornings, I accompanied my two sisters-in-law and each of their daughters, my nieces, to a free fitness class on Fridays at the Fitness Edge. I am a runner and I thought I was in good shape. OMG, did I get my rear-end kicked! I brought my college roommate to the class, also a runner, the week she was visiting, and we both exclaimed that we are in need of some serious weight training.
I am so impressed and inspired by my sisters-in-law, who are 51 this year. Each will fully disclose their age to you; I am not going behind anyone’s back here. In my opinion, they should be proud of their age because they are in such great shape! In the strengthening class, while they were effortlessly raising their 9 and 12 lb weight bars over their heads to the music, there was me, gasping “Ugh! This sucks!”
Not only is there the benefit of looking fit after exercising, but most importantly, it helps strengthen your body – muscles, bones, blood vessels, you name it! We women need to exercise regularly to decrease osteoporosis. We cannot afford to rely on calcium from food and supplements.
A few weeks ago, a friend’s 80 year old mother fell on her hip. But because she’s been exercising to her favorite Jane Fonda videotape for the last 30+ years and weight training every day, her core muscles are so strong, she spent a short time in the hospital and rehab. Her physical fitness protected her from a hip fracture or worse. Talk about inspiration!
When I mentioned to Marilyn my idea for this post, she pointed me to this syndicated article that appeared in the Connecticut Post on Wednesday, September 5, Change up your workout to really reap the benefits. “Doing any sort of exercise is commendable, and infinitely better than never breaking a sweat or lifting nothing heavier than a Frito. If you stick with one form of exercise, though, other parts of your body — upper, lower, core — will suffer,” the article suggests.
I love running because you don’t need much more gear than a good pair of sneaks, socks, shorts and a t-shirt. Walking and running are great exercises for the frugal out there. What I realize from going to the Fitness Edge is that I do need to mix-up my exercise regimen. There are great tips from the article (see end of this post) that suggest that you don’t necessarily have to join a gym. You also don’t need to do a whole hour of weight/strength-training as well. Our family chiropractor friend advocates doing toning and strengthening exercises for as little as 15 minutes a day, and at most 25 – 30 minutes per day. I may just start with the old-fashioned push-ups and sit-ups!
Check out your town library for exercise DVDs. When I was pregnant with our first child, we lived in Stamford, CT. I sampled a few of their library’s pre-natal exercise ones before landing on one I chose to buy. The Fairfield Public Library has a wide range of really great exercise DVDs from which to choose.
As I like to say, Your Health is Your Wealth! Get out there and find the forms of exercise that are right for you. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, literally and figuratively!
Be healthy into Geezer-dom!
How athletes in one sport can benefit from incorporating another into their workout: (Taken from the syndicated article mentioned above)
If you’re a runner …
You need to: Do strength and resistance training.
How? By adding basic exercises like squats and traveling lunges, and working quads as well as ligaments and tendons around the knees. Plus, core exercises will strengthen your abs, lower back and hips.
Why? To help manage posture, strengthen bones and help improve performance.
If you’re a yogi …
You need to: Strength-train.
How? By adding resistance exercises using weights, elastic bands or machines in a gym.
Why? To allow you to become stronger and hold poses for longer periods of time.
If you’re a swimmer …
You need to: Get out of the pool and do dry-land training.
How? By doing such weight-bearing workouts as running, jumping, rowing, stair climbing. “Core strength, upper-body strength is key,” Herrin says.
Why? They’ll help increase your bone density as well as build up endurance, “which will help in the pool.”
If you’re a weightlifter …
You need to: Incorporate a cardiovascular routine; increase flexibility.
How? Add some running or swimming. Or take a yoga class.
Why? “Just doing weights won’t strengthen your cardiovascular or respiratory system,” he says. “Yoga is beneficial for flexibility and respiratory strength.”