Report: Weigh-in date Friday, July 6, 2012. Weight 287. Down 2.0. Total loss at the end of seven weeks, 13 pounds. I am very happy with a two pound loss this week. Last weekend was not my best time for eating healthy and Wednesday was Independence Day. We went to a big BBQ with lots of food. I watched my portions and I got to the gym each day, but I am still amazed I dropped two pounds!
Considering what the past week has been like, maybe it’s time to talk about exercise. Not the theory – we have already covered that. This post is about the more practical “nuts and bolts” of what to do and why.
There is nothing we enjoy more than waking up early, throwing on workout clothes, and going to the gym for a vigorous session first thing in the morning, right? (Hmmm. I can’t hear your response – you’re laughing too hard.) Ok, most of us have to force ourselves to exercise. I know I’m in that category. I’d much rather be reading a good book or writing, and I’ve been that way since I was very young.
Most experts tell us to find a form of exercise we enjoy. Makes sense, but when we’re young there is much more from which to choose. In the past I’ve tried belly dancing, African dancing, Jazzercise, walking and various types of aerobic classes. I spent 11 years in Karate classes (loved it!!) and earned my black belt. Karate led me to Tai Chi and Kick Boxing. So, it’s not as though I just recently realized I need to exercise.
Now I’m 59 and finding the universe of realistic workouts has changed.
What is the most common complaint among us older exercisers? Well, I have no statistics on this, but I think a safe bet would be KNEES! I injured one of mine during kickboxing class years ago, and I know I have some arthritis in both of them. If you’re trying to figure out what to do for aerobic exercise and you have bad knees, keep one word in mind – IMPACT.
Those of us with bad knees and excess weight have to be aware of how hard that excess weight is coming down on those knees when we work out. I love to walk, but walking can be hard on the knees, even on a treadmill. Riding a stationary bicycle is close to “no-impact” as is swimming laps. But what do you do if you don’t have access to a pool and you hate to exercise sitting down (like me)?
The elliptical worked for me. The user stands on it and the motion is a cross between pedaling and running in sand. It is not electronically driven like a treadmill. The user moves the machine and controls the speed through movement. Feet never leave the contact surface so they don’t have to land and there is very little impact. Many ellipticals have moving handles that will work the arm muscles as well.
Like any aerobic machine, the elliptical can be tough if you have never been on one. The first time I used an elliptical I lasted two minutes and was proud of myself. It took me a while to gain endurance, but now I can go for thirty minutes or more. I punch my age and weight into the machine and it tells me when my heart is beating fast enough for fat burning.
The elliptical works for me. What works for you may be completely different. Regardless, aerobics is only half the battle. We all need resistance training as well.
The nice thing about weight training is that if you have some hand weights you can do the training just about anywhere. I keep a couple of four pound dumbbells in my office. Each day I try to work my biceps, triceps and shoulders while at work. Squats work the leg muscles, and as long as I can hold on to something my knees can take it. I am still trying to figure out a good way to work my “core” (abs, back and sides) outside the gym (my time there is limited). I hate getting on the floor – I’m always afraid I won’t be able to get back up!
So, come on all you Baby Boomers! Let’s show the rest of the world that getting older does not necessarily mean getting out of shape, and even if we are it is not an irreversible condition. In the “eat less + move more = weight loss” equation, “move more” has one big advantage over “eat less”: it gives you a sense of accomplishment!
Until next week….