AGING VS THRIVING

AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, I like intense intermittent exercise. I can get much of the value of longer exercise episodes in fifteen minutes. Since the body likes habit and routine, High Intensity Interval Training is a way to keep throwing change at the body. It may resent the change, but it does improve. Change is good.  

This morning I had a 9:00 AM patient, so I needed to leave the house by around 8:15. When was I going to exercise? Not a problem! I have an app on my phone, 7 MWC, which gives me 12 different exercises in seven minutes. It is equal, the research claims, to a twenty or thirty minute exercise routine.

The key, of course, is thirty seconds of intense, as-close-to-one-hundred-percent as possible. The rest periods are only ten seconds, to this is basically a Tabata design. Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. It allows very short rest periods. It is pretty intense but I am done in seven minutes. Good deal.

Last summer I ran a 5K local race. I haven’t run for many years and frankly I was never a fast runner. At my best I could clock eight minute miles, but I could do that for five or ten miles, so I got good aerobic training. Now I run intervals a couple of times a week, thirty seconds intense and one minute recovery. Eight of those takes me about twelve minutes. Then I get back to serving my readers and seeing patients.

Well, I finished the race in pretty lousy time, about thirteen minute miles. The time was a bit under thirty eight minutes. I did finish second in my age group. I also finished last in my age group. Ha! I had a good laugh about that. I thought if I could knock a minute per mile off, I could beat the old geezer that beat me last year. Race of the geezers. What a sight!

So I decided I would lengthen my intervals. I would move out to forty-five seconds.

I went out with great hope. I started my first interval. At forty seconds, I was pretty much done! I think I did six, not eight intervals, and each time I was hitting the wall at forty seconds. 

It gets more and more difficult to improve fitness the older I get. My body fights me each step. 

Learn from me.

During the years I had arthritic knees, I let up on exercise. Even going down stairs was very painful. With my new knees, I have lost fifteen pounds and feel great. I look better too. Don’t do that. Start doing even daily brisk walks. Your body like to be active. 

Get fit now, and start varying your workouts from short and intense to longer and lower intensity. You owe it to your family, you owe it to your community. We don’t need a bunch of shuffling geezers who aren’t contributing. We need geezers who can run a 5K, who can go to work every day, who can volunteer and make their town a better place. You have a patriotic duty to be like me, use little or no medical services, keep paying taxes to help the people who do need medical services. Exercise and other lifestyle changes open that future to you. Retirement is not good for us. Activity enhances mental health and physical health. Where’s the down side? 

The human body loves routine, but the human mind like variety and change. So my body and my mind are pretty much at war with each others. Tomorrow I will do an eight-repetition interval run. I will try to run at 100% for forty-five seconds. Well, we will see. The body won’t like it, but if I can make the brain be in charge, I’ll have that stretch. I will push up my interval times to a minute or more. It is secret I didn’t know in my thirties and forties. Intervals raise your speed over distance. I may not get back to eight minutes but I can definitely speed up. 

This summer, I’ll be the first place geezer!

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13 Comments

  1. Natalie February 17, 2015 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Go for it Lynn!

  2. Carol Fechter February 17, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for a good laugh this morning Lynn! I too am a geezer who loves to exercise, although it’s always a challenge getting started. I agree that retirement is bad for your health and to get up everyday feeling like you have a purpose is a beautiful way to live.
    Keep up the good work, I enjoy your contributions!

    • Dr.J February 26, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

      If I am still working, I am making something good happen, that gives my life meaning and significance.

  3. Jean brugger February 17, 2015 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Very good ideas on excerises. I have a golden doodle, 3/4 Standard Poodle. He is agreat excerise machine, since city requires someone to be with dogs when they are outside. Interval training is good, would have been nice to know about it when we were younger.

    • Dr.J February 26, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

      My dog died last year after a long and loving life. I do miss her!

  4. Larry J. Talley February 17, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Thanks for the fitness tip! I’m right there with you, brother! I’m 65 & fighting to stay in shape….

    • Dr.J February 26, 2015 at 7:33 am - Reply

      It is a fight!

  5. Forrest February 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Lynn,

    Just turned 60 so I empathize with your sentiments. Of course spending a lot of time jumping out of air planes as a paratrooper isn’t great for the knees (the jumping part is fine, it’s the landing that catches up with you). But when you’re 19 or 20 who thinks of the impact on the 60 year old you will become?

    For your next 5K you might want to take a look at changing your training. Here is a link to a good website (and a great book) developed by a couple of researchers who have studied thousands of runners. If you want to run faster, and spend less time preparing, this is something to look at (a tabatas for sneakers).

    All the best,

    Forrest

    http://www.furman.edu/sites/first/pages/rlrf.aspx

    • Dr.J February 26, 2015 at 7:33 am - Reply

      Loved your comment. My fear was jumping, but only the landings were hard on me!

      I deeply appreciate your hint. Will look at it now!
      Lynn

  6. Rob McNeilly February 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Go, geezer, go!

    • Dr.J February 26, 2015 at 7:32 am - Reply

      Thanks, and right back at you, Rob!

  7. Alison May 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Love it! I’m a “baby geezer” who just completed her first marathon at age 50, with a 13-minute mile overall. I too use an interval training, and do all my races that way too. I hope to be active until the day I leave this planet (like my grandma, who passed away naturally, happy, healthy and active, 6 days short of her 100th birthday). I have been reminding all my patients to move, cheering for them when they go from hermit to walking to the mailbox daily, to walking down the street, to around the block, to walking 5K… baby steps and one step at a time!

    • Dr.J May 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      What an inspiring report! Many thanks.

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