FIT AND STRONG AT FIFTY AND BEYOND
"The American College of Sports Medicine now recommends weight training for all people over 50, and even people well into their 90s can benefit. A group of nursing home residents ranging in age from 87 to 96 improved their muscle strength by almost 180 percent after just eight weeks of weightlifting, also known as strength training. Adding that much strength is almost like rolling back the clock. Even frail elderly people find their balance improves, their walking pace quickens, and stairs become less of a challenge." From Chris Woolston's article, Seniors and Weightlifting: Never Too Late
"Some studies suggest exercise for seniors is one of the critical elements in aging slowly and in a healthy fashion. Seniors suffering from a variety of ailments are typically folk who do little to no exercising. On the other hand, seniors who exercise regularly are both stronger and have more vitality with fewer incidents of illness." From Exercise Critical for Seniors in the Senior Citizen Journal
"Exercise and nutrition, they go hand in glove. Just like you can't separate the mind and the body, you can't separate exercise and proper nutrition." One of my heroes; the late, great, Dr. Jack LaLane, from his television show back in the 1960's. Yes, he really was a Chiropractor.
OK; FIFTY might not be be anywhere near geezerhood, but the truth is, I train differently than I did when I was 21. I have to. When I was in my early 20's and into the bodybuilding / powerlifting scene, everything revolved around putting up as much weight as humanly possible. Although I still do squats and deadlifts, just thinking about the weight I used to push makes me cringe. But this post is not about throwing around heavy iron like JARED. It's about maintaining your independence and your dignity.
As you get older, you start to realize that health means much more than looking good in the mirror. Health equals independence. And independence means you are diminishing your odds of having to one day rely on others for help performing activities of daily living (i.e. eating, bathing, dressing, toilet, etc, etc, etc). What are my tips for keeping you healthy (and ultimately independent) as you head into your 50's, 60's, 70's, and beyond?
Who doesn't love Jack Black? But who wouldn't rather live and grow old like JACK LaLANE? While I certainly recommend you talk to your doctor about any changes in DIET or lifestyle you are planning on making, it's important to remember that most doctors approach to health --- GIVING YOU MORE DRUGS --- is not going to get you from there to here. Even though we all like the "Easy Button," true health is one of those things you'll have to do for yourself. It may be difficult at first, but I promise you that few things will be more rewarding. And the longer you stay with it, the easier it gets. If you need one more boost of motivation, HERE is a monster list of studies of the benefits of exercise for seniors.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).