“I Can’t Exercise Because…”

In the not too distant past, having a serious respiratory or cardiac condition would result in medical recommendations of mostly rest and a modest ‘be careful’ lifestyle. Of course, caution regarding such issues is always appropriate. However, we know much more now about how exercise changes our body systems than we did in the past. 

In fact, exercise and the numerous benefits it brings have now moved to center stage; and it’s not just preventive powers any longer

For example, Cleveland Clinic advises the following if you have COPD:  

“These symptoms can make exercise a challenge. But whether your COPD is mild, moderate or severe, regular exercise will not only ease your symptoms. It will also boost your quality of life, says pulmonologist Kathrin Nicolacakis, MD.” (Click on the link below) 


And after a heart attack? 

Wouldn’t a myocardial infarction be reason enough to take it easy and avoid putting any stress on the heart? 

“Patients who were sedentary were more likely to die when they got a myocardial infarction and patients who did exercise were more likely to survive. There was also a dose-response relationship, so that the odds of dying if people got a myocardial infarction declined with the level of exercise they did, reaching an almost 50% reduction for those who were the most physically active.” (Original source referenced in link below) 


ACSM Recommendations 

Within the last year, the American College of Sports Medicine has changed their guidelines regarding exercise recommendations for clients with risk factors. After a thorough investigation of the probable outcomes of at-risk patients and exercise, the recommendation was to decrease mortality by increasing access to the appropriate exercise programs

(from ACSM’s Updated Recommendations for Exercise Preparticipation 
Health Screening, 1/14/16)

The change in the pre-screening process, then, advises physician clearance now, rather than requiring medical testing, as it did before, under certain circumstances. The reason for this is quite simple. If you must get a pre-exercise medical test (which is a poor predictor of potential problems), you’re probably going to decide against getting involved with exercise… exactly what you need the most. 

(Slide used in ACSM webinar regarding recent health screening changes) 

The ACSM guidelines are very clear regarding who must have a medical clearance before engaging in a supervised exercise program. Likewise, the appropriate exercise protocol is also clearly defined by ACSM guidelines: starting always with slow and easy.  

Find an activity you can enjoy… 

Inactivity, as it turns out, has become our major health threat and is, for the most part, bad for you in more significant ways than had been understood before. 

…because you will need it the rest of your life to maintain your good health! 

To Exercise as Your Preventive and Recuperative Medicine, 


The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0


The Newest Workout: Why It’s Not Enough

While you’ve been doing what you were doing and wishing you had more energy and stamina to do more of it, dozens of powerful fitness programs have appeared.

What’s happening with you?

Good health and physical fitness are, at their foundation, simple and basic principles. There are no extremes necessary and the time involved is amazingly minimal.

And there are no secrets.

Like any endeavor, the more you learn and practice, the better you will be. But it’s not like attempting brain surgery without practice.

Movement is life. More movement is more life.

Eating more calories than your body can effectively utilize will generally result in accumulation of fat.

If you don’t love yourself enough to care about your good health, the previous two points don’t matter.

You may be disappointed with the brevity of this post.

Don’t be.

If you’re disappointed, get over it and get started by taking the first step – – whatever you can do – – in the direction of your new lifestyle.

Get Started Now,

Steven Siemons


The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Your Retirement Account: How Much Is Your Good Health Worth?

You plan diligently for your financial future. You’ve calculated many different scenarios knowing exactly how it will unfold when you retire. Sometimes, however, you still worry about it.

Not only do these concerns naturally occupy our thinking, our perceptions have been unavoidably shaped by the many years of ads that have been poured into our daily existence.

Money is important…very important.

Most Important?

If you have everything, but lack the capacity to enjoy it, what have you accomplished?

Balance and moderation offer a different direction than excess and extreme.

Life is not ‘one size fits all’ because we all thrive on different stimuli. And we each have our own tempo along the way.

The ability to achieve it–whatever it happens to be; and enjoy it, greatly depend on your good health.

That makes it priceless, then, doesn’t it?

That’s really the reason, deep down inside, that you made those resolutions.

To Your Good Health,


The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Mobility: Movement Is Life; Longer Life.


“These findings suggest that any self-reported knee pain in osteoarthritis, as opposed to hand pain, seems to be a crucial factor leading to early cardiovascular mortality and is likely to be linked with decreased mobility,…”

This is the conclusion of a study involving middle age women over a period of 22 years…


First, let me confess at the outset that at this point in my early sixties, joint pain and stiffness are virtually nonexistent for me. For this fact, I am grateful. The biggest issue is the joint of my big toe – – it can be extremely sensitive and jolt me with shooting pains if abused. Those of you who know what burpees are will be able to understand that I have to gently get into the push-up position as opposed to hitting the deck in a hurry. So working out and training in Senior years involves various techniques of accommodation, which in itself is a topic to address at another time – – but its main component is adaptability.

I share these seemingly minor details with you to let you know that I am in no way capable of understanding all the issues surrounding the debilitating pain and discouragement that are a part of living with severe arthritis. So that when I discuss below the critical need for movement and mobility exercises, do not think that I underestimate the degree of difficulty on the part of those of you who are afflicted. But in spite of your difficulties, any movement you can accomplish to improve over time must be attempted to the best of the abilities that you have, or those abilities, as well, will continue to diminish.

‘Use It Or Lose It’ is true regardless of your level of fitness; regardless of how you feel.

Even in the severest cases of rheumatoid arthritis, movement and exercise – – however modest and limited it may be – – is recommended! The resulting lack of mobility experienced by the study participants noted above, was, most likely, the prime factor in their decline of overall health. Eventually, the lack of cardiovascular exercise takes its toll, frequently, in the sudden and catastrophic form of cardiac arrest–a bit too late, by this time, to make good on intentions to start effective exercise solutions. And the imperceptible changes taking place in the structure of your bones due to neglect doesn’t hit home until the doctor describes your skeleton as “brittle.” This can be a devastating word when you contemplate its implications.

Starting on the road to pain relieving medications is always a complicated journey.

I’ve shared my experience of being hospitalized from the effects of NSAIDS:

Every chemical that you put in the body– even simple over the counter medications–changes the body chemistry. Sometimes, especially with continued use, there are unintended results that are not recognized until years later. You can only make the best choices for yourself by trying to learn and understand these consequences. Undoubtedly, you will need to make these choices regarding your well being which always have the tradeoff issues of potential benefits vs side effects. Do not ignore this dynamic. If it’s recommended that you need a CT scan, for instance, you’re trading off your body’s exposure to harmful radiation – – sometimes hundreds of times the exposure of an X ray–for the information gleaned from the greater detail revealed in the CT scan. Is that tradeoff worth it? Don’t surrender the analysis to your doctor. Healthcare is a business and the CT scanners generate income – – that’s life (and death)! See this from Consumer Reports:

Individual differences regarding the perception of pain and the functional solutions available vary enormously.

I say this to highlight the fact that the answers to the complications of aging are going to be different for everyone. Pain is an intense and personal experience that will drive us each to our own individual coping techniques. Indeed, there is no doubt that movement–however you accomplish it – – is much more than mobility… it is life itself!

To Your Health and Fitness,


The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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The Myth of ‘Senior Fitness’: It’s Simply Business As Usual!

(my bearded days) 

You’d think that given the title of my site, I’d be revealing all the ‘secrets’ regarding golden years goodness.
No Secrets.

Same page, different day, as they say.

Lest you’re tempted to cut it short because I have no secrets to reveal, keep reading, my friend, because you need this.

Here are a couple of observations from this writer who has exercised consistently for five decades and wants you to ‘get it’:

You’ve always needed what exercise does for the human body, but now you seriously need it!

You may remember that just a few years ago you were able to do things that you can’t do now; or are now accomplished with a much greater degree of difficulty. We learned back in the 60’s (you’ll never forget that decade) how quickly the body changes without being exercised when studies were done to determine the effects of inactivity on potential astronauts. We were astounded by how quickly even a top flight athlete could be weakened by being confined to a bed for extended periods. Nothing’s changed since then, except the size of the American waistline and the incidence of diabetes for lack of activity and bad eating habits. Muscles, bones, the brain and your heart still respond positively to the positive stresses of exercise. Don’t fret over what you didn’t do; but by all means, don’t continue to make the same mistake of the sedentary killer lifestyle. ‘Use or Lose’ has never changed and it will not during the course of your lifetime.

 It wasn’t easy then, and it’s certainly not easy now! 

After all these years of frequenting major health clubs, I can authoritatively say that Seniors are, and always have been, conspicuously absent. Sad, because we are the ones most in need of stronger bones and muscles simply from a standpoint of personal survival! If you can’t perform the ‘Activities of Daily Living’ you’re not capable of living independently. Simple and scary. What are you waiting for? Now you’ve got to deal with the feelings of fear and self consciousness of ‘not fitting in’. But those were the same issues that have always kept you on the sidelines, right? Find a friend or a group that will finally help you take the important first fitness step!

Please Do It Now,


The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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