Fitness Extremes or Fitness For the Finer Things?

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(photo of my training partner/coach, Hector)

Athletes who drive themselves to extremes inspire and enlighten; they challenge us to dream and show us what can happen when we do!

Fitness can be defined by raw numbers describing VO2 max, repetitions per minute, single rep maximums, and/or a mass of other scientific data.

Let’s make it simple; Let’s make it functional!

Fitness, as I am foreseeing the future, becomes the capability of enjoying the things that mean the most to me –not (necessarily) as an end in itself, but as an indispensable component of enjoying what life offers in all of its adventures. I will continue to enjoy training as something intrinsically rewarding, of course. To me, movement is life, and a side benefit is the contribution it makes to health. As Ralph Waldo Emerson penned a century and a half ago, “It is good health and appetite that impart the sweetness to the sugar…”

When your body is in a state of ill health and disease it’s difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy even the most basic of pleasures.

Allow me to take the liberty, then, of framing the concept of fitness in this most unscientific perspective: having the level of physical ability, including cardiovascular fitness, strength, and ability of movement, to enjoy what means the most to you!

Am I missing anything?

For the rest of my days, this becomes my training mantra, with sporadic episodes of peak performance along the way. It’s my journey, and of course, yours shall be yours and, happily, both are correct and true!

Individualism is part of the fitness trail, and a welcome and significant part, indeed.

I admire the strongest, the fastest, and the biggest. But the road I travel need not be theirs. It’s only important that I train for the strength and stamina to travel my own path–the one that brings me fulfillment and joy.

Fitness is photographed and marketed heavily. It has a beautiful face, a sculpted body, and the look of victory and determination.

Do not be discouraged about who you are and the road you are traveling. Give yourself the health and wellness you need that a fitness lifestyle will bring to you.

Take reasonable care of yourself and enjoy the finer things along the way!

The Secret Is…
there’s no secret,

Steven

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

“What Should I Do In My Fifties to Prepare For My Sixties?”

Notable changes are ahead and you need to anticipate (not fear) them and prepare for them. Of course you knew that already, but let’s get to some details that might be news to you.

Aging demands courage. As the physical changes become more noticeable, your resolve must respond accordingly.

I made up my mind when I started receiving the mailers from AARP years ago that transitioning into seniorhood (no, this is not in the dictionary) would be made with a positive attitude and effort.

What’s Happening to My Body?

Even though I have trained diligently throughout my entire life, my ability to gain and maintain muscle mass is clearly different now than in my Fifties. Genetics, as in all things, definitely influences these types of responses. I train with others my age who have maintained a ‘rock hard chiseled’ look that would be characteristic of someone decades younger. That’s simply not my genetic tendency. You must come to grips with your own.

Remembering that the vanity issue is no longer my main concern or primary mission, I don’t let it bother me. Benefit: less time looking in mirror.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

I received an email from a gentleman who, after reading my post about tendinosis, told me that he had the exact same experience. About two years ago I was doing a set of chin-ups, reaching my limit, and then decided to keep going with a spotter’s assistance– pushing myself to failure.

When I felt the sharp burning pain in my elbow, I knew immediately it was a mistake.

I have been living with chronic tenderness and soreness in the elbow ever since. The gentleman who had contacted me mentioned that his MRI showed tendon and ligament damage. He was advised to have surgery. I’ve requested his help in sharing his experience with me. Surgery is the last option for me.

What should you learn from my mistake?

If you are a training veteran and have the ‘max out’ attitude, you can get away with it in your Fifties. But I recommend that you go with lighter weight and higher reps moving into your Sixties. Of course you can see pictures on the Internet of lifters in their Seventies busting big weights.

Do so at your own risk.

There’s no way to undo tendon and ligament damage. My training routine, out of necessity, looks entirely different now.

The wonderful thing is that there are so many ways to enjoy the fitness lifestyle. I’ve shifted away (not entirely) from my weight training towards my Shotokan roots.

Most importantly, you must include the basic and necessary types of exercise in your routine now to prepare for your Sixties: cardio, resistance, and neuromotor training!

Thank you for sharing this post..

Guiding you through your fitness journey,

Steven

Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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,

Steven

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

Exercise: The Irreplaceable Tool You Need To Use Now, Boomers!

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As a young boy I was fascinated by the enormous amount and variety of tools that filled my Grandfather’s workshop. He was an expert craftsman; his tools were his life and livelihood. Without the proper one, the job couldn’t get done.

There is nothing that can replace the positive effects that exercise has on your body and your mind.

Your body will not let you forget to sleep. Sleep is, of course, vitally important to your existence and wellness. Your appetite and hunger mechanism will not allow you to doubt the relevance of nourishment… even if your choices are poor, your body responds in amazing ways to keep you going.

The signals sent by the body lacking the physical challenges of exercise are very real, but much more subtle. There’s no urgency like hunger, but the need is just as substantial.

You can’t feel your bones losing the intricate array of internal structures that give them strength. The heart that’s pumping less efficiently gives, often, only one unmistakable warning that can’t be ignored… after years of neglect and mistreatment. A certain lack of vitality permeates your daily routine and you assume that there’s something you can buy to change things, figuring that aging is supposed to feel that way.

The list of symptoms of inactivity is ridiculously longer, but you get the picture.

There is no better way to maintain critical bone mass and mobility than progressive resistance exercise

In 2010, 258,000 Seniors 65 and older were hospitalized for hip fractures. 20% died within one year. More than 30% were in an extended care facility a year or longer.

There is no better way to maintain your ability to breathe than aerobic exercise.

Aging brings with it the diminishing capacity of the lungs to process oxygen at the cellular level.

There is no substitute for the benefits exercise offers in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

30% of Seniors fear Alzheimer’s more than death or cancer.

No Excuses

In case you missed it, let me highlight the three basic foundational truths of The Senior Health and Fitness Blog:

1. If you can move it, you can improve it.
2. You can get going with what you’ve got.
3. Your fitness lifestyle journey begins with the first rep.

You have a lot of tools but you don’t have a lot of time.

Share This With Someone You Care About,

Steven

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

What Should Senior Fitness Be?

No matter how it is portrayed or perceived, there are definitely things that Senior fitness needs to be. There are goals it should strive to meet. There are new horizons it must see.

These are certainly bold imperatives; but they lose their forcefulness as we survey our journey ahead.

With approximately ten thousand baby boomers daily entering seniorhood, the major economic, healthcare, and logistics issues engulf us massively.

Doing nothing is equivalent to doing the wrong thing. Waiting too long to move forward will inevitably involve future regret.

Let’s get these major issues on the table:

The World Health Organization, more than a decade ago, issued a bulletin speaking of Osteoporosis as a “global impending disaster.”

Alzheimer’s is quickly gaining on heart disease as a blockbuster killer.

Depression is, understandably, an ever present issue with our seniors, and this will continue, as well, to demand an increasing amount of our resources.

Much of the burden could be addressed by healthy lifestyle choices. The disregard for healthy lifestyles regarding smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise will put an added strain, in addition to the above, that is astronomical and probably incalculable.

Senior Fitness needs to be the tip of the spear in dealing with these issues.

Yes, it is that important!

We are a pharmaceutical oriented society. While we look to these companies to continue to provide us with the medicines we need for our wellbeing, we should not depend on them to do what we should be doing for ourselves. Bold statement, I know, and in all probability, not achievable, given our sad state of fitness as a nation, thus far.

Nevertheless, looking back to the time before a human foot had left an impression on lunar soil, we took on the challenge of putting a man on the moon. It sounded like a fairy tale dream when President Kennedy spoke the words. But through dedicated belief and purposeful action, that fairy tale became reality.

Each of these major issues which carry catastrophic consequences if ignored, can be significantly diminished with basic changes that involve our dedicated belief and purposeful action once again.

It amazes me: the complexity of simplicity.

Steven

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 Joy of Fitness Training With My Mother-In-Law

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The Gold’s Gym in central Florida where I was training at the time was one of my favorites. It became special to me, as well, because it was my first time training with a lady of seventy six years… my Mother-In-Law.

She is a spirited and adventurous soul. She speaks a little English, I speak a little Spanish. Of course, before we decided to embark on this exercise/linguistic experiment, I confirmed her state of overall good health. She, in fact, amazed me with her ability to begin a journey to the United States from Sweden, travel for twenty four hours on trains, planes and automobiles, and look beautiful and be positive until retiring for the night in her bed in our home.

I was not worried about her being intimidated by what might be encountered at the gym, and neither was she. What happened in the days and weeks that followed amazed me… and her.

The main focus she shared with me (through the interpreted discussion before we started) was concerning the use of her shoulders and arms. Her diminishing strength and ability to reach overhead saddened her. She was somewhat depressed, as well, because she had been diagnosed with osteoporosis and, of course, felt intimidated by it.

The first day was simply getting a feel for what was there. She watched, I demonstrated. She learned quickly and joyfully. After seeing me do seated close-grip pull-downs, she was anxious to try.

Cuidate (be careful)… Suavemente (smoothly)… Ay dolor? (is there any pain?)

These are the words I spoke most frequently. But always upon hearing “muy bien” (very good), Mom got the biggest smile on her face! At that point, I knew she was hooked.

My normal routine was three days a week, one day resting between workouts. After three weeks of gradual but noticeable increases in strength and range of motion, Mom insisted on going every day that she didn’t have something special happening!

Mom is in her eighties now and no longer has the stamina and confidence to do battle at the airports. We no longer are able to train together. During my years of working out, I’ve had the opportunity to train together with some accomplished athletes.

It all pales in comparison to the joy of saying, “Muy Muy Bien, Mamita.”

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

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