Stress And The No Pain, Slow Gain Approach.
We were caregivers for my Mother the last ten years of her life. Both my wife’s and my real ages stumbled along and took a swing back toward our chronological ages. The last two years were especially difficult. We were able to maintain until the last month when my Mother went into a nursing home. We visited almost every day and both of us almost died from the flu we contracted during our the hospital visits. That was in 1999 and neither of us have had the flu or anything more than a day or two of colds since, with the exception of a bout of Valley Fever I suffered a few years back.
Was there an age reversing no gym exercise program? I hadn’t seen one but felt there was a place for one and began developing it by applying the same basic regimen I’d been using. One of the basic truths about fitness is: in order to get and stay fit and healthy, you can’t continually be plagued by overuse injuries. The program is based on a “no pain, slow gain” concept, the barest minimum of equipment plus, since we’ve become fulltimers living in our motorhome, maximum benefits from minimum space.
One of the formulas I use can be stated as follows: “Do the math.” Usually, trainers will tell you if you want to make gains, and those gains are almost always designed for twenty something’s, heavily weighted (pun intended) toward bulky muscles and instant gratification. The theory is it’s necessary to discover your maximum weigh lifting potential and, using eighty percent of that figure, do three repetitions. For instance: using 100 pounds as your maximum because it’s an easy figure to work with, the normal theory is to use eighty pounds as your benchmark and do three repetitions using that weight. Using those figures and philosophy, we find three times eighty equals 240 pounds, more chance to realize instant gratification in bulk muscle mass and a very high possibility for injury. The more repetitions used at that weight, geometrically the higher the percentage of injuries. On the other hand, if we use eight pounds and do fifty repetitions, we realize 400 pounds total weight lifted, slower gains in bulking muscle mass and almost no chance of injury. It all boils down to: is your objective short-term gains or long-term health and fitness?
I was explaining the theory to some others not long ago after they both said they’d reach a point and then something would happen and they’d have to start over again after recovering from the injury. I could see by the looks on their faces, and by reading their body language, they knew my program wasn’t something that would work for them, where they are at this time in their lives, or maybe ever, even though years of the other program obviously hadn’t work. I also noticed by watching how they moved they weren’t very flexible. Which reminds me of when I was in boot camp.
There was another recruit by the name of Schroeder, I don’t remember his first name or if I even ever knew it. He was a body builder and most of us gave him a lot of room, until we went to the obstacle course. One of the first tests was pull ups. Schroeder couldn’t get his arms far enough over his head to grasp the bar. When we got to the rope ladders, he couldn’t get his leg up high enough to go from one row to the next. After seeing how restricted he was in his movements, the rest of us figured if there was a confrontation all we had to do was move outside of his range of motion and we’d be able to settle the matter in our favor with little or no problem.
I saw a quote from a body builder not long ago that went something like, “If you want it, you have to go after it.” I believe he was on the right track but I’d add, “We have to first know what it is we want, spend enough thought to find out if it’s something we want or if we’re trying to live by some else’s standards, decide how long we want it and then go after it.”
Back on the original subject, Am I Seventy Or Is It 1990? When I took the age tests recently, my chronological age of seventy in one test was calculated at 58.6 years, another was 42.2 and the third was 50.4. Adding the three together and dividing by three, I came up with 50.4 and some change. On one of the test were some suggestions for an even younger age. Take a daily aspirin, get vaccinated, eat more grains and take higher doses of supplements were the main ones. I factored those in and on that test my age was shown at 52.8 years. But, from my point of view, there were some problems with those recommendations.
What are those problems? We’ll look in my next article.