It’s never too late to lift some weight

 

A gym isn’t for everyone, and obviously there are a ton of ways to keep fit without going anywhere near a gym.

But I have found in my own life, almost with surprise, that not only do I really enjoy going to the gym, but it has been and is a lifesaver. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s free because of  the Silver Sneakers program.  

I started going to a gym and doing resistance training eight years ago when I was 71. I can’t remember exactly what got me started, but I can say for sure it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

JoAnn and I lived in Loveland at the time, a sweet little town 50 miles north of Denver. A wonderful, caring young woman named Robin got me started. One of life’s angels. She specializes in working with seniors, and made it very easy for me to stretch my boundaries and get comfortable in a new activity and new environment.

Why I love resistance training

I do a bit of a work on the stationary bicycle machines and treadmills, but since I love walking for its own sake I prefer to walk outside when I have the chance. My main passion at the gym is resistance training, and here are some reasons why.

 1. More balance in my life

I’m a writer, and spend a lot of my life sitting in a chair. Resistance training helps me keep a balance in my life by requiring that my body works hard physically – indeed, has to work a bit harder each time I go to the gym.

 2. My body loves working out

After 9 years, I can report my body LOVES going to the gym. When the time comes for another visit it’s like a doggie waiting eagerly in the hallway to go for a walk.

3. I am more confident

Resistance training has given me more confidence. I don’t want to imply I bulge with muscles – that would be very deceiving — I’m your basic lean, skinny Englishman, after all. I could probably go to a gym for 200 years and it wouldn’t change my outer form in any especially noticeable way.

But what I CAN say is I FEEL strong – much stronger, certainly, than before Robin took me under her wing. Every part of our being is connected, and if your body is strong, or as strong as you can reasonably make it, I can say with confidence it affects every other aspect of your experience.

 4. Helped me deal with despair

Resistance training has helped me deal with despair. In 2005, a year or two after I first joined the gym in Loveland, I suffered a nine-month bout of severe depression. It came suddenly out of the blue with no obvious external trigger that I was aware of. I lost a lot of weight and my energy disappeared down a drain.

But I never stopped going to the gym. I reduced the level I was working at a little bit at first, but that was all.

I think of the gym as my “strength room”. I truly believe that the “strength” I generated and experienced at the gym during this dark and terrifying period of my life — not just at a physical level — helped bring me through my depression. Helped me persevere until the wondrous moment came when I discovered for myself the joy that waits for each one of us on the other side of despair. 

5. An uplifting environment

I find the gym a very upbeat, positive environment. I enjoy the sense of shared purpose and shared effort. The opportunity to be with people who are also concerned to maintain or improve their fitness and health. I also enjoy the remarkable range of people who show up — all sizes, shapes, ages and backgrounds.

I go to a different gym, of course, since JoAnn and I moved to Denver. It’s a large facility, and at first I missed the more informal, intimate atmosphere in Loveland. But after a year now I’m nicely at home — as eager for another session at the gym as the dogs in our townhome complex are eager for their next walk.

6. The gym helps me follow through with my fitness goals

I do love going for walks as I said. But having a specific program set up at the gym — I do resistance training three days a week and aerobic work two days a week — definitely helps keep me on track with my fitness goals

7. Helps give more structure to my day 

As you get older, one of the challenges, I find, is developing just the right amount of structure or routine in the day. When you were younger, and had a job, that was pretty well taken care of. But in my latter years I appreciate the extra little bit of structure — routine — that going to the gym brings to my life.

8. Helps keep my brain in shape

Last — but not least by a long shot — I read the other day that working out at the gym helps keep your brain in good shape. I was kind of surprised when I read this. But the article explained the brain needs a plentiful supply of blood like any other body organ — and working out at the gym helps meet that need.

Introducing the “Age Defying System”

I was thinking about how I could add some more useful, ‘concrete’ content to my blog. I thought one way might be to make a brief mention of a product or service at the end of my posts that I think may be of interest to you and help make your life easier or better in some way.

I’ll do my best to choose items that complement the theme of a particular post. This week my eye fell on a program called “The age defying system” developed by certified personal trainers Grant and Diane Hernden.

Designed by Boomers for Boomers, this comprehensive exercise, eating and life balance system for men and women over 50 includes bonus workouts, meal plans and recipes, coaching and more.

 I can’t personally vouch for this program because I’ve never tried it, but I listened to the Herndens’ video and was impressed with their vision and the way they presented themselves. It looks reputable, and has the convenience of being an “at home” system. Please click here to learn more about “The Age Defying System.” 

As always, I’d love to share any thoughts or experiences you may have on this post. Blessings and every good wish.

Picture credit:

Picture from newsusacontent

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4083/5189431469_e5440ab81d.jpg

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara July 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am a Silver Sneaker person also, but with out the gym experience right now. I know I need it. Those first steps back into that world, make all the difference. I say I am tired, but that can be turned around once one starts to exercise. Maybe reading this is what I needed. Thanks Christopher

Reply

Christopher Foster July 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Barbara, I’m very happy to hear from you. Please keep me in touch how things go for you. Yesx, it’s funny how feelings of being tired can hold us back, and sometimes rest is just the right thing for us — and sometimes actually putting out some exertion increases our energy. It’s strange how it works. Another one of life’s paradoxes. With you in spirit.

Reply

Phil D. Malmstrom July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

Wonderful post Christopher.

I don’t have a gym membership, and even if I did I’m afraid I wouldn’t take adequate advantage of it. I’ve gone through bouts of working on weights and resistance equipment (we have some at the house), but it always seems to be moved aside for other “more pressing” activities.

I do however, exercise reasonably regularly. I try to spend time each week walking in one of the nearby forests with the kids, or along the shorelines. I do yardwork (although I don’t enjoy it… lol), and quite a bit around the house that requires physical activity. While it isn’t a regimented workout schedule, I do try to stay in good general shape. And you’re right, I also find that some good physical exertion is wonderful for helping with clarity and focus.

Have a Blessed Day!

Reply

Christopher Foster July 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Oh Phil, you’re making me a tad envious when you speak of nearby forests and shorelines. Who would bother with a gym? Well, I might still go to a gym, but in any event, many thanks for commenting and sharing. We do the best we can, don’t we, in the circumstances where we are — and keep our heart as open as possible to the wisdom that is always present with us.

Reply

Sandra / Always Well Within July 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

I loved the title of this post, Christopher! I’m glad the gym works so well for you. Personally, I can’t stand the music and or televisions that play in gyms. I probably could use the resistance training though. You’ve got me thinking! There aren’t any gyms near me, but lots of yoga classes.

Reply

Christopher Foster July 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

Sandra, thank you so much for taking the time to visit here. I’m so happy to re-connect with you. Life has been busy the last few days, got myself rearended among other things. But look. I would like to think that when you touch something genuine with another person — it’s like the sun, it’s always there.

So in this moment I feel the pleasure of that reconnection with you. Couldn’t go wrong with a bit of yoga could you?

Reply

winsomebella July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Valuable inspiration. I found the “Younger Next Year” books to be helpful as well. Thanks for your continuing positive energy.

Reply

Christopher Foster July 21, 2011 at 9:07 am

Always a pleasure to hear from you winsomebella. Thanks for the tip on the “younger Next Year” books, I’ll check it out. Stay well.

Reply

Tina M Pickle July 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Have you tried a Zumba Gold class. Get inspired……Get fit!!! Ditch the workout and join the party it’s a BLAST!!!!!!! Look around you do not have to belong to a Curves to do Zumba, but with Zumba + Curves = celebrating being alive and loving life!!!!!
Tina M. Pickle
Zumba Gold Instructor

Reply

Geoff Tisch July 22, 2011 at 5:23 am

Hi Chris,
Hearing you speak about your wonderful world full of inner and outer exercise has been a real pleasure.

Here in Auckland I added Qigong to my repertoire of morning exercises. Mostly in the winter I do these at home on a balcony which overlooks a beautiful forest reserve, but when the spring comes I like to walk down to the beach early in the morning and enjoy exercising with others of like mind and heart.

I am in my seventies too and find as I age my sense of participating in such a vibrant world all around brings tears to my eyes and chokes me up a bit even. Afterward, whatever the season, I like to go sit in a cafe for a “natter” (is that a word?) and to enjoy warm human affection.
Geoff.

Reply

Christopher Foster July 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hi Geoff,

Gosh, it’s good to hear from you. I loved hearing about your life and activities, you’ve got a litle bit of heaven all around you don’t you?

I’m hooked on a daily visit to a coffee shop too. We don’t have an ocean nearby, alas, here in Denver. But we do have a vigorous and very clear stream that flows just at the rear of our townhouse complex. So I get to listen to the sweet sound of running water and ponder the mystery of constantly flowing water, and hey, that’s not something to sneeze at. Water’s water isn’t it?

Gets pretty hot here in the summer but the smart people go for their morning walk early. Lots of friendly people and friendly dogs on the trail — makes it easy to get my dog fix. Love and blessings to you Geoff.

Reply

Geoff Tisch July 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Hello again friend of the mile high uphill water. Here I am at the lower end of that stream and the sound is much the same!

While I don’t have a regular dog fix, I do have a daily chook (hen) fix. With our neighbours, Darren and Megan, Linda and I have built an edible garden with chooks and bees included (rare for an inner city location). The bees are too busy to talk, but the chooks are exceptionally good company, being great conversationalists they also egg us on. Life is so lusciously lucid!
It is good to be with you on the journey, love and blessings to you too Chris.

Yes, I am blessed.

The Vizier July 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Christopher,

I will be the first to admit that I am not fond of going to the gym. But ever since I started at the age of 17, I have not stopped. This is not because I love it, but because it is a vital necessity to healthy living. It is a conscious choice and effort on my part to exercise now while I am young to reduce the complications I will face when I am older.

Like you I spend a lot of time sitting around. This in itself is an extreme and extremes only cause problems. Thus I bring more balance into my life by going to the gym and doing resistance training. At the same time, it is also a good way to train my discipline which in turn builds character.

I usually spend 2 hours in the gym twice a week. During this time I try to get as much done as I can. Given that this is the only form of exercise I get, I made sure to use my time there well.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

Irving the Vizier

Reply

Christopher Foster July 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm

This is a terrific comment Irving.

Thanks for sharing these touching words. The discipline and character that you mention shines thru in every line. Thank you for your genuineness and I’ll be thinking of you next time you visit your gym okay?…:-)

Reply

Carolyn August 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

I just found your site. It has made my morning. I too love going to the gym. Some days I am tired and it’s a forced trip, but once I start working out it is an instant pick me up. Thanks for the great post.
Carolyn
boomersfitnessconnection

Reply

Christopher Foster August 6, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks Carolyn, very happy to connect with you. Yep, I find exactly the same thing. Body just likes to move, and exert itself, and know it’s alive:-)

Reply

Geoff Tisch August 8, 2011 at 4:37 am

Hi Chris. Kiwi males often answer each other with the term “mate” . As in – “G’day mate!”or – ” ‘ow’s it go’in mate!” or – “Cheers’ mate” or- “gotcha mate!”. Mostly it’s used in like – good chum greetings. But sometimes “mate! can be used menacingly with extra hard intonation as in – facing off for a “row” – pronounced “rour”, ( Donnybrook if you’re Irish).

So in this instance it is
Cheer’s mate!

Reply

Christopher Foster August 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Back atcha Geoff. Cheers and G’day mate. Here there’s a big bunch of miles between us but in a sense it doesn’t seem so to me right now. Say cheers to Linda too will you please?

Reply

Christopher Foster July 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Hi Geoff. So am I learning a bit of New Zealand speak here then mate? (Is it just Aussies say mate or NZ does too?)
So a chook is a hen? Every good wish for happy healthy chooks. Congratulations on what sounds like a terrific project you’ve got going there with Darren and Megan. So happy to have reconnected Geoff.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: