Redefining the aging process!
Babyboomers, as we continue our weekly column and newsletter it is our goal to remind you of the importance of a fit and healthy lifestyle. All too often our generation is faced with far too many stress factors. We struggle to find balance in family and peer relationships, while meeting the demands of heavy work schedules, contemplating financing college tuition for our children in a down economic market and finding ourselves caring for aging parents. No wonder, it's so difficult for us babyboomers to find time to schedule workouts into our weekly routines.
But, these demanding times in our lives are exactly the reason why workouts are so critical. Let's face it, we're getting older. Cardiovascular exercise and progressive resistance training helps ward off many age-related and obesity related health disorders such as osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, stroke and memory loss. It's no longer just about creating legendary physiques, but also quality of life.
Several studies have indicated that exercise improves mental functioning, but new research out of New York University shows that sound nutrition and exercise protects the brain from memory loss that's associated with aging.
The research is showing that a pre-diabetic condition where blood sugar is processed abnormally is leading to memory loss and even shrinkage of the brain region.
Benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle of sound nutrition, cardiovascular exercise and progressive resistance training.
- Reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart disease
- Improve self esteem
- Increase energy levels through the release of endorphins
- Mood enhancer
- Ability to engage in vigorous activities
- Look years younger than your biological age
- Avoid memory loss
- Longer and more frequent orgasms! (Just in case you forgot this nice little benefit of working out, check out our column, Less Fat/More Sex for review. And remember, the Baldwin/Fields team at Legendary Fitness advocates testing this theory on a regular basis.)
Now, since we're talking about how to avoid memory loss, let's take a proactive stance and review several pointers about exercise programs for Babyboomers.
- More recovery time is needed. Sometime between the ages of 40-and-50, you'll need to allow for extra recovery time. Try reducing your training split from five to four days per week. Then be efficient in the gym, using supersets to keep the volume high on your workout days.
- Sleep is critical. Try to get eight hours of sleep per night, as it helps with recovery and that will help to reduce injuries. Remember, muscles grow during the recovery process, so get your sleep and grow!
- Always include a warm-up. Preparing your body for intense training with a mild warm-up and gentle stretching is one of the best things you can do to prevent an injury from occurring. Warm-up first, then gentle stretching. Don't stretch cold muscles that are 40, 50, 60 or more years old or you are setting yourself up for a tear. - View Common Stretches!
- Start hydrated and end hydrated. Though recent research questions the necessity of the huge amounts of water that many in the fitness field advocate, it's a different story during actual periods of exercise. Dehydration is always a danger with intense exercise.
- Understand a little about biomechanics. We often see people doing exercises incorrectly because they do not know anything about biomechanics, the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure. Misdirected forces resulting from incorrect execution of an exercise can have grave consequences on the tendons, ligaments and bones.
- Injuries happen. Unfortunately they are happening so frequently for our baby boomer generation that the term, Boomeritis was coined to describe sports related injuries that we suffer. Use the wisdom gained with age and train smart. Listen to your doctor and set realistic goals for recuperation. Social support, friends and family, are important as well as goal setting in achieving and maintaining a positive attitude that will produce the maximum recovery in minimum time.
- Train smart. Remember, the key is not to sacrifice everything now for the maximum mass. Yes, we want mass, we want it bad. But, we want to be working out next year and in the decades to come. Find the balance between efficiently gaining mass and injury avoidance.
Heavy weights/low reps week after week, month after month will destroy your joints. Check back with us next week for a discussion on periodization training the ISSA way to help gain mass and maintain physical well being through the creation of training cycles that vary the rep ranges and weight to allow the maximum gains while minimizing injuries.
- Change is good. Use a variety of exercises to keep interest levels high and avoid the negative aspects of adaptive responses to training. Change helps muscles to grow.
Diane: How appropriate that this week's column is about memory loss! It seems there's a certain HISTORY professor (now, remember boomers. I said History professor, as in historical dates) that caught my attention by telling me his birthday was on February 14th. Turns out, Dr. Baldwin's birthday is NOT on Valentine's Day, but rather the following week. OK, Dr. B. I'll excuse you, as your workouts were not up to par at that time because of your torn quadriceps muscle. Do you see just how important those workouts are to keeping our Babyboomer memories?
Richard: Yeah, I can't remember my own birthday, but I got TWO birthday presents out of Diane! Unfortunately, I don't think this will work a second time!
The problem with competitive sports at any age, but especially after 40, is that in order to win any competition today, particularly on the international level, you must push your body to its utmost limits! In doing so, most of us will inevitably injure ourselves from over training, sloppy form or failure to warm up adequately.
Now, while it was an overly aggressive competitive spirit that led to Richard's torn quadriceps muscle, pushing the envelope is necessary for babyboomers to make progress. So we are not advocating minimal or mild exercise, but we are saying push the envelope, not break it.
Push the envelope with competitive spirit to fight slowing metabolisms that easily pack pounds of fat on physiques we so desperately try to keep lean. Push it to put on mass while the natural aging process has the tendency to eat away at that precious lean muscle mass we worked so hard to put on. Push it, to get up, go to the gym while peers and family members ask, "When are you going to be done with this lifting nonsense?" And push it, while peers get bigger from fat and more sedentary with each passing day.
We need to light that competitive spirit that lies within. For some, it's right below the surface, always ready to fire you through a grueling training session. For others, the competitive spirit lies deep within. It's time to unleash that spirit. Dig deep, find it and lead a fit and healthy lifestyle where you are engaged in sports with your children, are energized and efficient in your job, and are mentally strong to develop deep and intimate relationships with your partner that only come with age related wisdom.
Remember boomers, train hard, but train smart. Find the balance.
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.