Article three of my five article series on losing weight after 50 is about activities. Although activities include exercise, I hate the word “exercise” due to its image. It makes me envision the warm ups before football practice or perhaps structured workouts inside a dank gym class while growing up in the northeast. My current activities are anything but these undesirable remnants of my past. Instead, my activities are enjoyable and something I look forward too. They have to be desirable if I am to maintain a fit lifestyle. Although some of my activities require additional incentive, they are still fun and doable. It they were torturous and unappealing, there is a good chance I would not stick to my regiment. I provide more details on my activities in my book and on my website where I emphasize the mental dedication as being one of the keys to fitness much more than the physical routines.
My activities are broken down into two simple categories: workout routines and aerobic activities. Workout routines focus mainly on toning and building muscle. Aerobic activities focus mostly on keeping my lung capacity maxed out and my endurance up. Both of these are key to losing weight, maintaining weight, and/or improving definition. My workout routines include weight lifting and machines in addition to floor work.
Weight Lifting with Dumbbells (some machine work):
- Chest and Triceps
- Abdominal (abs) workout
Before we get too far into my routines, understand that these routines worked for me yet they may not work for you. Success depends on a lot of things including your health (prior injuries, physical limitations), abilities, and body style. Most books promote an agenda of specific exercises and diets (did I mention I hate those words?). My book and website focus on giving you the mental methods for determining a lifestyle change that you will implement and continue to use. Therefore, you should evaluate my routine and pay special attention to how I succeeded versus what I did to succeed. If you are looking for the “what”, I am the wrong inspiration for you. If you are looking for how to succeed, I’m your man.
My workouts started with simple equipment; a pool bench, 15 pound dumbbells, and a yoga mat. I didn’t want to spend money, I wanted to incentivize myself by saving money. This was an additional motivator for me. I was given dumbbells by a friend and used a yoga mat from another friend.
Dumbbells work well for me. They are easier to store and the control aspect seems to build muscle in a manner I preferred over the isolation provided by machines. I started with light weight and 50 repetitions per activity. This provided several advantages. Light weights built my body at a rate that minimized and/or prevented injury. High repetitions elevated my heart rate providing additional activity for losing weight. At first, I could hit all of the muscle groups with fifty repetitions per individual activity such as curls. Once I moved to one hundred reps, my sessions were too long so I spread them out to different muscle groups per day. I kept adding activities for more muscle isolation and building. When a friend was throwing away a pilates machine, I jumped on it. Although I’m not a machine or club type of person, that pilates machine added a “pull” versus “push” aspect I couldn’t get with just free weights. It really improved my bench press too since it had an incline ability.
The floor work portion of my workout routine is mainly responsible for toning my abdominals. On a good day, I hit my abdominals five hundred times over a combination of five different exercises (did I mention I hate that word?). It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes of well spent time to do my abdominals. This is the average time of commercials in a one hour TV show so don’t even think I’ll believe that your schedule doesn’t allow for it. I detail my exercises in my book and I also present that which worked and what didn’t. This information is essential if you are going to find out how to lose weight and maintain versus what to do.
My Aerobic Activities Include:
- Hiking Slopes
- Stair Climbing
- Upper Body
- Swimming (usually in hotels to avoid club membership charges)
I wish to establish some boundaries for my aerobic activities. I am already paralyzed from weight lifting so jarring my spine any further is not an option. Therefore, I do low impact activities like hiking and climbing stairs. I avoid running and touching my heels while descending stairs. Set your own boundaries based on your personal limitations and you will succeed. No excuses here, just work within your limitations. You’ll be surprised at what you can do regardless of your limitations. Again, success is more mental than physical.
Here is another very vital piece of information: elevations are the best way to lose weight and build lung capacity. They worked for me versus walking on flat surfaces. In addition to the high repetitions of light dumbbell activity, elevations increase your heart rate and breathing levels. Traversing increases in elevation in turn burns fat (your main source of energy in a low carb diet). Because my paralysis is in my right leg, I do a three to one set of two step climbs in terms of repetitions. This has amazingly improved my right leg strength thus evening me out as far as strength between my right and left legs.
Upper body is a part of my aerobic activity although it is technically a workout item. At one of my workout venues I have found places to do dips, decline pushups, and leg lifts. This supplemental training to my weight lifting has really improved the size of my arms. I perform dips for building overall size and definition in my triceps. For my biceps, I do curls by pulling myself up against a stationary object. All of the activities I do are vital to my overall success in keeping the weight off.