Unrealistic Expectations

Disclaimer: This article is focused on individuals the author’s age (62) and older.

First the bad news. Well, let’s call it the harsh reality. The time when you looked in the mirror and decided that you needed to workout and went to the gym and resurrected the old high school exercise and strength training routine is past. What?

The truth is, if you’re my age that was 45 years ago. First, it probably wasn’t the best workout even then because it was a one-size fits all. But 45 years ago you probably had a Gumby body that could withstand a lot of abuse. Second you’ve aged, but I like to say that it’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Not including preexisting medical conditions, gravity, wrong foods and, a lot of inactivity have taken their toll. Even if you could remember all the exercises Coach Bobby ran you through, they wouldn’t have the same effect, and you’d probably limp out of the gym with an injury while trying to figure out how to locate Coach Bobby so you could ring his neck.

It’s time to throw out those unrealistic expectations. Your body has changed over the past four decades and therefore so must the exercises you’ll do to get in shape. Now the good news, or as some television guy from your youth used to say, “Just the facts ma’am.”

Injury from the wrong exercise or excessive weight, that would be, torn or hyper-extended muscles or connective tissue, take months not weeks to recover. So to avoid injury add the word condition to your vocabulary. Start with a lightweight and increase it as you get stronger. Just as it takes longer to recover from injury it takes longer to gain strength. Yes you can tighten up the underside of your arms. You know of what I speak. Triceps exercises will do that. To protect the back work the shoulder girdle, and arms. What? That way when you forget your age and pick up something that wouldn’t have been heavy thirty years ago instead of your back being the default you have the strength in your arms and shoulders to do the work.

You can get strong again just in a different manner, and that would be slow and easy, again think conditioning. The big difference now is that working the correct muscles will protect while improving bone density and circulation. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know these things forty years ago? Remember. Maybe if you workout everything else will too.