WELCOME TO GENERATION FIT!
July 17, 2017
Hi! I’m Warren Cook and this is Generation Fit, the senior fitness blog. I’m writing this blog to help myself—and you—find the best ways to live well and to avoid most of the afflictions associated with aging. I’m just an average older guy, neither a natural athlete, nor a star at any sport. But I’ve seen the changes in my life that being on the road to fitness can make. You can read more about me in the sidebar to the right.
I’m certain you’ve heard about all the studies that point to regular exercise (and some diet changes) as the only sure-fire way to help prevent many of the major conditions—strokes, diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis, even dementia—that most expect to come with aging. Which is terrific! But physical activity also reduces stress, lifts your mood, improves sleeping patterns, improves muscle strength, improves balance, improves your body image, increases longevity, boosts creative thinking and MORE.
So, we’re starting with the presumption that physical activity is good for us. Now, I’d like to take that assumption and develop this site into a senior fitness discussion center. I’d like it to be a wide-ranging forum where we can trade ideas and views on fitness as it relates to seniors—from boomers to older adults.
THE FITNESS LIFESTYLE
I look at fitness as a lifestyle—a healthy way of living for the rest of your life. It’s a path you’ve enthusiastically chosen (or will soon choose) because it beats the heck out of the alternative. I believe a fitness program needs to be
- meaningful in that you’re getting real workouts,
- energizing to your other daily activities,
- sustainable over the coming years, and
- enjoyable enough to go about it every day* for the rest of your life.
*This isn’t as strict as it sounds, because you’ll have numerous days “off” during vacations, holidays, party days, (days after party days!), etc.
Back to enthusiasm, it’s going to take a ton of it to stay FIT (Forever In Training)!
You could be the richest person in the world and you wouldn’t be able to buy fitness. You can’t get a prescription drug, can’t take a pill or supplement, can’t eat or drink a magic elixir to gain fitness. You have to work for it. But who says that this work can’t be fun!
You know that as you age you need both strength training and aerobic activities. If you’re like me you prefer one over the other. I like to bike, run and participate in triathlons, but lifting weights, not so much. You though, might enjoy lifting a few times a week but the idea of running sounds like pure punishment. I’m guessing you’re doing some form of exercise on a regular basis or you’re ready to start getting active.
You may get in your training at a gym—using machines, weights, the pool, joining in yoga, Zumba or martial arts classes. Or you may do most of your training outdoors—walking, running, biking, surfing, skiing or name your sport. Or you may combine the two depending on the season or activity. That’s what I do.
We can discuss the benefits (and fun!) of particular activities. We can look at using machines vs. using free weights or our own bodies or a combination of these. Of taking classes or getting guidance from personal trainers—or both. Of going solo or joining a running, biking or triathlon club.
Let’s trade ideas on the best ways for us seniors to lose weight and then how to maintain that new level of pounds. Transforming what we eat and how we do it isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Although it seems ever changing, we can discuss the scientific evidence behind nutrition and behavior change. And how to prevent diseases or chronic conditions or, if we have them, how to gain and maintain fitness in spite of them.
We can look at what best to wear for different activities, which shoes, swim gear, bike gear, etc. We can trade our experiences with fitness trackers (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Misfit, etc). Are they worth the splurge? Are they worth adding in a heart monitor or GPS? And look and compare the new fitness apps and online programs.
I’ll share my personal experiences and research with you. For instance, for the past month I’ve been attending a class at my local YMCA called BodyPump® From Les Mills. The Y gives this description: “Sculpt your entire body in 60 minutes using a barbell, hand weights, and your own body weight.” I’m finding it a great way to get in my regular strength training. I’ll review the class in more detail in coming blogs.
In the next months I’m going to look at Cross Fit (let’s see if I can actually perform their routines or if I’ll just be an observer!). I’ll try different HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. I’ll join in Tai Chi, Spinning, Pilates and Zumba classes. I’ll give you my opinions on these and you can tell me YOUR experiences with them and other fitness programs.
I’m also pursuing more in-depth information to share with you. For instance, I attended the 35th Annual IDEA® World Fitness & Nutrition Convention in Las Vegas for five days, July 19-23. The first day was a 9am-6pm session called Functional Aging Specialist Certification Course. I also attended these sessions: Inspired Teaching Strategies for Motivating Boomers and Older Adults (given by Silver Sneakers); Guiding Others to Create Their Healthiest, Most Delicious Life (a nutrition & behavior change course); a RealRyder® Cycling Class; and quite a few others. I’ll share the info I collected with you in coming blogs.
In the future, I’d like Generation Fit to evolve into a robust senior fitness program that’s both worthwhile and enjoyable and that participants can stick with over the long haul. But for now, let’s trade our ideas on the best way for us seniors to stay fit day to day for the rest of our lives.