How I stay strong in my Retirement Lifestyle

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Decrepitude from aging  is reversible.

Maybe not completely but even an aging body is a remarkable instrument when you work it.

As I reported earlier, I have now embraced exercise as a part of my daily routine. I see my personal trainer twice a week but now I commit myself to daily exercise as well. The benefits of exercise are impossible to ignore. My goal is to become an expert on my fitness. Instead of waiting for directions, as a next step I need to master my training program. It’s an evolution and I’m not ready to take over just yet but the past six months have taken me from physical decrepitude to being moderately fit.

Looking in the mirror.

These days I’m aware that I have muscles. While I’m no Adonis, my chest is firm and not flabby. There are muscles in my arms and legs that I never noticed before. I can even feel my abs behind the spare tire that protects them from collision damage. I stand more erect and move better (that is not my observation. It’s what I hear from others.) but that’s not all.

The muscle tone is only part of the improvement. I can now get up from chairs without so much struggle. I’s not like when I was thirty but I can now do it and it keeps getting easier. My trainer calls it core strength and it comes from simple exercises that don’t need a gym and fancy equipment. I can do them anywhere- no membership needed.

And there’s more!

Now let’s talk about the other aging issue- pain. For some time now, my knees have almost constant pain. I don’t know what causes it. I don’t take medication for it. I only mention it in passing to me doctor because I consider it to be one of those things I have to accept. I am surprised to report that my knee pain is less these days. It’s not gone. But now, sometimes I forget that it’s there. I suspect that it is related to having stronger leg muscles but I don’t know and I don’t really care. It is just one more reason to continue the daily exercise program.

All in all, I’m surprised at how much better I feel these days. Those improvements in my physical abilities inspire me to commit the time each day to exercise. Casual, once in a while, when I feel like it exercise was doing nothing to stop my deterioration. Putting my physical condition in the hands of a professional and then committing myself to put in the time changed all that.

Is body strength important to you?

So my question for you is how important is loss of physical strength and ability as you age? To me it was the central issue because when my body fails, I will have a settle for, sedentary lifestyle. I want to be active. I am beginning to get the fitness issue under control so it doesn’t limit my lifestyle options and that inspires me in other areas. Maybe for you, it’s not such a big deal. What I have learned is that the days when I could do anything I want without committing myself full out to make it happen are over. From now on out, I am full on committed to keeping my body strong and have the active lifestyle that I want .

 

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Hansi June 22, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Strength exercise is a big part of my lifestyle. I’ve been pumping iron for about fifteen years now, and go to the gym four times a week. Because I have arthritis in my shoulder, and knees, i can’t do real strength training: heavy weights with few repetitions, but find using lighter weights with higher reps ( 12 to 15) really beneficial.
    Have you had your knees check for arthritis?

  • Ralph June 22, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Hansi,
    The commitment is the key. I suppose my knees may be arthritis but then again what difference does it make what it is?

  • Hansi June 22, 2011, 4:57 pm

    Ralph it makes a big difference what’s going on in your knees. If it’s arthritis, there are anti inflammatory, over the counter medications, like Aleve that will ease the pain and provide your with more flexibility. There’s also hyleronic acid shots you can get; was a miracle drug for my knee, and much safer than cortisone.

    • Ralph June 23, 2011, 6:45 am

      Hansi,
      I am hostile against medication so I basically have written off even thinking about them. Maybe if the pain gets worse I’ll consider them. With your recommendation, I am a bit more open to considering them in the future. Thanks.

  • Bill Murney June 23, 2011, 2:15 am

    Ralph, I find that although my physical strength has diminished with age I am compensating by using my brain more.

    I am talking in the context of a discipline I do, Krav Maga, where I frequently come up against guys half my age. Usually nothing can beat experience, even youth.

    My arthritic knees give me trouble but I find it best to just ignore it.

    Bill
    A-U-L, UK

    http://billmurney.com/blog/count-basie/

    • Ralph June 23, 2011, 6:48 am

      Bill,
      That’s an excellent point. The mind is the master of the body and I think at least part of my improvement is mental. I know the commitment to pushing my body each day is. I think pain tolerance is part of the mental toughness.

  • Donna June 23, 2011, 6:26 am

    My routine includes weight training,walking and yoga. You might want to include yoga or a stretching program on your off days. When your leg muscles get stronger,this helps protect your knees. Glad to hear that your exercise program is helping you. Good luck.

    • Ralph June 23, 2011, 6:52 am

      Donna,
      I have done yoga on a sometimes, dui activity for years. I’d like to add something more like yoga to my daily routine. I’ve never paid much attention to stretching- more of my not-to-serious approach in the past. Right now I want to make what I am doing a consistent part of my day. When it is second nature and I don’t have to talk myself into doing it each day, maybe then I can add. I’m flitty by nature and so getting serious and making long term commitments is difficult.

  • Barb June 25, 2011, 9:00 am

    My routine at sixty includes primarily aerobics and litle strength-I probablya should include the strength and wieghts but its not as important and I was more interested in weight loss. As for my knees I had a gell injected in them that acts as a lubricant-oh, and I only exercise in the water.

    Next up, yoga!

    • Ralph June 26, 2011, 6:25 am

      Barb,
      All I can say is that from my experience, I was losing physical strength at 70 and the core strength exercises are bringing it back. Your routine may keep you from that deterioration. Maybe you will need it later on? Maybe not. I’ve never heard of gell injections. You are having good experience with them?

  • Bill Birnbaum June 25, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Hey, Ralph… Congratulations on your progress with your fitness program. You’re absolutely right, the benefits of exercise / fitness are many. For me, the most important benefit is that, when fit, I’m able to participate in those outdoor activities which I so enjoy. Bill

    • Ralph June 26, 2011, 6:21 am

      Bill,
      You are so right. If I’m into living a long time, I want that living to be as much like the rest of my life as possible. I’t a fight to the death.

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