Thursday, December 1, 2011

La vie commence à soixante-quinze (Life begins at 75)

I have been given the opportunity to talk to a group of men, the youngest of whom is 75 - and am posting my notes for this talk. I have tried to pare my introductory comments down to a bare minimum so I can spend most of the time discussing how these gentlemen can develop their core strength and balance.

People assume they will get old and die - in fact, people today tend to get old and live - decrepit perhaps, but they live. They can get decrepit, if they like, but it is their choice.

We are stuck with aging - it is inevitable. But, decay is optional, which means that most of the functional aging is optional as well.

As we age we trip and fall more - because the neurotransmitters that coordinate balance deteriorate with age, and because we don't have the strength we did when younger. Lifting weights repairs the neural wiring and cures the problem. Not 100%, but significant improvement.

You can lose half your muscle cells between 20 and 80, and still be stronger at 80.

Sedentary, 70 year old men double their strength within three months of weight training. Sadly, men do strength training less often than they do aerobic exercise. Only 10% of Americans over 65 even claim to be doing any form of regular strength training.

In an evolutionary time frame we are fighting three big changes

Sedentary lifestyle - Our ancestors ran for their lives for hundreds of millions of years, searching for food, storing it in their bodies against drought, ice ages and starvation

Refined sugars and starches - Consumption of calorie dense and easy to digest carbohydrates

Stress - Used to be we ran for our lives - “fight or flight” stress was short term. Now it is a full time part of our lives and we are not made for that. It is killing us.

In time (as in hundreds or thousands of years) our bodies may be able to adapt to these changes - for now the results are:

Heart Disease - to name the big 3

Prescription: Diet and Exercise

Balance and moderation in diet - lots of fruits, nuts, vegetables (yes, beans are a vegetable), and whole grains with as little refined carbohydrates (as in white flour, white sugar, white rice, alcohol, beer) and small amounts of animal-based products (meat, cheese, eggs...)

Exercise absolutely as much as you can.

Focus today - Exercise for Seniors - Balance and Core

Results from study relating age to tripping
20 and 60 year olds trip about the same number of times
20 year olds catch themselves.

My Regimen

Daily focus - 2 to 3 hours
Everyday - 30 minutes cardio
Focus for each day
Gymnasts rings - extreme upper body and core
Chin-ups and abs
Push-ups - 400 to 500
Balance and upper body

Safety - Michael - no severe damage
Focus on developing muscles - not taking risks

Balance and core - show video of variations on a curl

Balance and core
Put together a plan
Schedule changes in difficulty, don’t progress until comfortable and safe
Build physical stress very slowly


1. Sitting
2. Standing
3. One foot on flat side of Bosu, one on floor - hang onto something for stability
4. Standing on one leg holding onto something
5. Standing on one leg and not holding onto something
6. One foot on flat side of Bosu, one on floor, not holding onto something
7. Two feet on flat side of Bosu - hang onto something for stability
8. Two feet on flat side, not holding onto something
9. One foot on flat side of Bosu - other held off the ground and Bosu

Barbells and dumb-bells
1. Both hands on one barbell
2. Separate-dumb bells in each hand
3. One dumb-bell, alternate hands

1. Upper body twist
2. Overhead triceps extension
3. Arm lifts to front and sides
4. Curls, regular and hammer, wrists up and wrists down
5. Military Press
6. Wrist curl - extension and flexion

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