In this issue of
"Fitness News & Views" you will find answers to the
is better - free weights or machines?
is the most important thing you can do if you want to live to
100? What's the next most important?
Thompson of Charlotte, NC, finished the San Diego Marathon in 7
hours, 24 minutes, and 36 seconds. What's so special about that?
what age should you stop lifting weights?
one daily practice may be as beneficial to your health as
- healthy or not?
workout designed by a Navy Seal that requires no special
equipment. Great for when you're on vacation.
Now where else can you get all that info packed into two pages you
can read in less than 10 minutes? So read it and pass it on. Thanks!
As we age, strength training becomes more important, not less. So why
do I see so many people who are 50, 60, 70 years old and more walking
on a treadmill or pedaling a recumbent bicycle, but not lifting
weights? Of the two - cardio or lifting weights - I would say that
weight lifting is the most important, especially as we get older.
Strength training affects muscle size and strength, and bone density.
Stronger and larger muscles help us stand up straight, get out of
chairs easily, get on the floor when necessary, and get up off the
floor once down there for whatever reason. Stronger muscles aid in
good balance. Stronger muscles allow us to go up and down stairs
without fear, do the laundry, pick up the grandchildren, load and
unload groceries, and just about every other task that comes up
during the course of a day.
As for the bones, strength and resistance exercise actually increases
bone density, as well as strengthening ligaments and tendons. Tendons
connect muscles to bones. Ligaments connect bones to other bones. By
lifting weights on a regular basis, it is entirely possible to
prevent osteoporosis. The entire aging process is slowed
significantly by strength and resistance exercise.
In order to work the muscles and make them stronger, a demand must be
made on them. That means you have to lift enough weight to force them
to work harder than they are used to working. I see too many elderly
gym goers going through the motions with weights that are way too
light to do any good.
A good workout involves working the core (the abs, the obliques, and
lower back muscles), as well as the legs (both quads and hamstrings),
and the upper body including the upper back, the chest, the biceps
and triceps in the arms, and the shoulders.
You need to do two or three sets of each exercise, with each set
consisting of eight to twelve reps. If you can do more than 12 reps
on the final set, it's time to increase the weight. You can use
machines or free weights, but don't get locked in doing the same
exercises every day. Mix 'em up. Doing the same workout everyday
loses its effectiveness over time. Once you learn several different
exercises for each muscle group, you can do a different workout
everyday for maximum benefits. If you don't know where to start,
contact me and I'll help you set up a program.
It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be over 1 million
people living in the U.S. who are over 100 years old. (Currently
there are about 60,000 centenarians in America.) If you'd like to
make it to 100, you'll be pleased to know that you have a lot of
control in the matter. In an effort to help you make it, I now offer
this "how to" list which is a consensus from various
sources from the internet and
Eat healthy foods in moderation. Amazingly, that just happens to be
the credo for my business, and it is great advice. Eat a healthy
blend of fruits, vegetables, low fat meat and poultry, and low fat
dairy, but keep the portions small. People who are normal weight to
20% below normal tend to live the longest. There aren't many
overweight or obese centenarians.
Don't smoke. This is probably the most
important rule to obey if you want to make the century mark. Nothing
contributes more to an early grave than smoking.
De-stress your life. Learn how to relax. In spite of having
had to deal with most of what life can toss their way, the majority
of people who make it to 100 have learned how to take life in stride.
Get enough sleep, but not too much. Sleeping fewer than 7 hours a
night or more than 8 hours a night both have negative effects on
longevity. Napping seems to be okay if we're talking about short naps
of 15 or 20 minutes duration.
Second only to not smoking in importance is exercising. It is
important to incorporate aerobics, resistance work, and balancing in
your exercise regimen. Exercise not only helps you reach old age, it
helps you reach it while looking and feeling years younger.
Pick your parents well. Okay, so you don't have control over this
one. How long your parents and grandparents live is a good indicator
of how long you can expect to live. About 50% of centenarians have
close relatives who also achieved very old age.
Here are a few other honorable mentions: Challenge your mind so that
you don't get stale in your old age. Have lots of friends and keep
socializing all your life. Serve others and think less about
yourself. This allows you to feel useful and needed, an important
factor in achieving healthy old age. And finally, go to church. Over
1,000 studies have shown that people who attend church or synagogue
regularly are healthier and live longer than their non-attending
peers.(See Proverbs 10:27 for biblical confirmation of these
Speaking of aging well, on May 31, Harriette Thompson of Charlotte,
NC, completed the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon at age 92.
Thompson, a former cancer survivor, finished in a time of 7 hours, 24
minutes, and 36 seconds. That computes to just under 17 minutes per
mile. Harriette was born in 1923 and didn't run her first marathon
until she was in her 70's. This was her 16th.
Which is better: free weights or machines? That's a question I get
asked about once a week, and of course, the answer depends on what
you mean by better. Each has its own advantages.
I think the most versatile tools in the weight room are dumbbells.
With a weight bench and a set of dumbbells, you can get a complete
workout. Dumbbells bring the most peripheral muscles into play no
matter what primary muscles you are working. Because you're working
in a free plane, several secondary muscles are recruited to provide
Barbells provide some of the same advantages as dumbbells, but with
the bar, your stronger side can overcompensate for your weaker side,
and since the bar offers some stability of its own, secondary muscles
are not called into play to the extent they are with dumbbells.
Machines that offer a free range of movement like the lats pulldown
or triceps pushdown machines are very good at enlisting stabilizing
muscles. Machines that provide a rigid range of motion are great at
isolating muscles, but not at bringing secondary muscles into play.
These include the leg extensions machine, the chest press, and the
Smith bench press. These machines do have a few advantages however.
They are safer. You rarely need a spotter, and because they are so
structured, it is more difficult to use them incorrectly and as a
result, injure yourself.
With all that said, here's the bottom line. They all work better than
nothing. The best thing is to use a combination of free weights and
machines, and keep changing your workout at least every 4 to 6 weeks.
Mix it up. Keep those muscles guessing.
I saw this headline on a health news site recently: "The Daily
Practice That May Be As Vital to Your Health As Exercise." I
clicked on the article because my curiosity was piqued. Turns out,
this daily practice is taking 30 minutes a day for quiet and
I do this, but I call it bible study. I won't dispute the beneficial
effects of taking some time to slow down and renew your spirit. Seems
to me, we spend an awful lot of time exercising our body which after
all is temporary and not enough time reviving our spirit which is
summer vacations just around the corner, it might be a good time to
review working out while traveling. Exercising on the road is not
only easy, it's actually fun, because it offers a change from your
I have been fortunate enough to travel a good bit, and I cannot
remember a place where I was unable to exercise. My most memorable
runs have come while traveling. I remember early morning runs down
the quaint streets of Cooperstown, NY, around Roman ruins in Spain,
and on the dirt streets of Williamsburg, VA, among dozens of others.
If you're a walker, the same opportunities await you. Of course, if
you'd rather run on a treadmill, most hotels and motels now have
workout rooms complete with treadmills and other aerobic equipment.
As for strength workouts, here's one you can do in a public park, or
even in your hotel room. It uses only your body weight - no extra
equipment - and consists of nine exercises that you do in a circuit.
Three circuits and about 30 minutes and you're done. And because this
workout was designed by a Navy Seal, I guarantee you won't feel
cheated when you're finished.
First do pushups. I suggest 20 or 25, but that number depends on your
ability. Follow that with squats. Do 25 of these. Then do about 15 to
20 dips. Again the exact number depends on you. You can use a chair
or a park bench. After dips do 24 walking lunges and follow that up
by holding a plank for 30, 45, or 60 seconds. Then do about 30
bicycle crunches. I suggest 10 regular crunches followed immediately
by 20 bicycles. Next hold an air bench for 30 to 60 seconds. Any wall
or flat surface works great for this. You finish the circuit with one
minute of steps. You can use the stairs in a hotel or you can step up
and down on a park bench.
Don't use traveling as an excuse to not exercise. I'm guessing you'll
enjoy your vacation (or business trip) even more if you take a little
time to workout while you're gone.
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The science of nutrition is inexact at best. For example, for years
we were told that eggs are unhealthy, that they contain a lot of
cholesterol and as a result were bad for the heart. Now we know - or
at least think we know - that this isn't the case at all. In fact,
new studies have shown that eggs increase your HDL, that's the good
cholesterol in your blood, and they are actually good for the heart.
In addition, another study proved that eating eggs for breakfast
actually helps you lose weight when compared to eating bagels.
Finally, eggs are a great source of high quality protein. So if you
like your eggs, you can have one or two for breakfast without feeling
Overheard at the gym: I signed up for an exercise class and was told
to wear loose fitting clothing. If I had any loose fitting clothing I
wouldn't have signed up in the first place.
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Harbison Recreation Center
106 Hillpine Road
Columbia, SC 29212
The Harbison Rec
Center offers more facilities for less money than anywhere else in
town These are just some of the features: a new weight room with
all new machines, free weights, treadmills, ellipticals, and
stationary bikes; a 25 meter junior Olympic size indoor heated
swimming pool; sauna; whirlpool; racquet ball and tennis courts; a
basketball gym; and miles of traffic-free trails for walking or
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Wolf's Fitness Center
5432 August Road
Lexington, SC 29072
Wolf's is a total
fitness facility offering some great amenities. There's a huge weight room
featuring free weights and machines. There is a cardio area with
treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, stair steppers, and the
cardio theater. Other
amenities include an indoor walking/running track, sauna, child care
facilities with an attendant, tanning beds, clean locker rooms and
showers, and sports supplements. Prices are very
reasonable and there are no
enrollment fees ever. Wolf's also offers a full slate
of fitness classes including kickboxing and pilates, as well as spinning classes.
Check out their website, www.wolfsfitness.com
for rates and specials.