The Eleven Commandments for Aging and Exercise

After passing the half century mark a few years ago, I find myself in a quandary over exercise.  Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.  That’s because the aging process brings on arthritis, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other conditions.  The natural inclination at this stage is to start taking it easy, but what’s really needed is to maintain an active physical fitness regime.

The problem is activities learned in youth do more harm than good during the middle years.  For example the fifty-something’s heavy bench presses will surely tear a rotator cuff in their shoulder.  The resulting injury exacerbates the natural aging condition, further prolonging and encouraging inactivity, which induces declining function of the body.

Exercise when done correctly, has the opposite effect, prolonging vigorous activity beyond the middle years into old age.  But in so doing, its focus needs to be on using increased repetitions and lighter weights to reduce the strain placed on tendons.  This will enable muscle growth which improves skeletal stability while preventing overuse injuries.  With that in mind, here are eleven commandments for keeping fit into 2017 and beyond.

  1. I will not not use barbells.
  2. I will not use heavy weights during strength training exercises.
  3. I will work my legs at least once per week.
  4. I will superset between opposing muscle groups, to keep my heart rate elevated.
  5. I will work a different type of core exercise on every strength training day.
  6. I will keep my strength training workouts short, less than 30 minutes per day.
  7. I will perform strength training exercises often, between 3 and 5 times per week.
  8. I will perform cardio exercises, preferably outside, at least 3 times per week, and a duration of 60 minutes or more.
  9. I will eat more than 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
  10. I will sleep at least 7 hours per night.
  11. I will take at least one rest day per week.

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