I’m not a health nut nor am I a gym rat, but I do believe in exercise and its beneficial results. And the results aren’t purely physical. I’ve always believed that exercise can change a negative mood into, if not a positive mood, at least a “less” negative mood. When you feel good physically, it’s reflected in feeling good mentally.
When I was young, particularly during my college years, I got into weightlifting somewhat seriously. Many of my friends were also into it back then. I worked out in an old-fashioned smelly gym with several close friends on a regular basis. This was before gyms were popular or fancy. Since the gym was the only one in
, I got to work out with professional wrestlers and pro football players. I continued to lift off and on through my younger years and came back to it later in life. San Jose
I have to say that I retained some of my former strength into my 60s when we lived here in
. I worked out with a real serious former heavy lifter, who by then was in his 70’s. He was well past his prime, but was still tough and strong. He told me that when you hit 70 you lose your strength very rapidly. Now that I’m there, I see what he meant. When I was working out with him I was in my 60s and I hadn’t yet started the big slide to “feeble city.” Quincy
I set a goal for myself to bench press 400 pounds while in my 60s and on Social Security. I wanted to brag to my grandsons. It was an ego thing, I admit, but I was very close to that goal. I think I could also have leg pressed 1,000 pounds. The machine could only hold 7 or 800 pounds, but I had no problem doing repetitions with that, so I’m sure I could have done a couple of hundred pounds more on my 60 year old legs.
I remember when I was preparing to go for a 400 pound bench. I was warming up with 350 or 375 pounds and on my fourth repetition I felt a rip in the left side of my chest. My workout partner kept yelling to “do another rep!” I barely completed the rep, but realized that I had injured myself pretty good. I was right. I ripped my left pectoral badly and I never got back lifting heavy again. I’m still mad at myself for letting my partner egg me on for one more rep, when I knew I was injured. I’m an idiot. It’s probably just as well though. It’s too easy to pop something or have a stroke at that age with that kind of strain and that’s probably where I was headed.
So now I’m just a little old man, with a bald head and big belly, staggering around the gym, using light weights like a wimp. But at 72 I guess I should be happy I’m able to even do that. Before my knee replacement, I couldn’t do outside work and any kind of exercise. Consequently the muscles began to disappear, my legs got weak, and the skin on my arms began to hang empty, when it had once been filled with muscle. It was more than I could bear to look at, so I rejoined the gym and I’m going to change that.
I have a close friend, who was my football coach in high school. This man is in his mid-eighties and is solid as a rock, with a flat belly and biceps like hardballs. He doesn’t lift, but has a machine in his home that he swears by. So it’s never too late.
This is just to encourage my buddies who are in my age group to get involved in physical activity. Yard work is great, but nothing beats weight training. The human body responds to physical resistance. That’s the only way to really gain strength. You may need a trainer if you’ve never done it before. There are right ways and wrong ways to work out. I ended my heavy lifting days by letting my ego push me too hard and injuring myself. So I speak from experience. I’m back at it, but on a less strenuous level. All it takes is about ½ hour moving from exercise to exercise and you won’t believe how good you feel.
I do believe it’s necessary to check with your doctor first, because working out can also kill you. Even if I could lift heavy now, I wouldn’t because the body changes with age and I have vulnerabilities that didn’t exist when I was young. So get a check up, then start easy, but be consistent at moving your limbs against moderate resistance.
Wow. Just thinking about working out has made me tired. I think I’ll take a nap. Old guys can do that any time they want to. It’s expected. Sleeping in front of the TV is just a way to prepare for the heavy lifting required to get up from the chair later.