To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

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Canopus
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To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Canopus »

I am in my 70's and have noticed a loss of lower-body-muscle-mass/lower-body-strength over time. Climbing stairs nowadays is a chore.

As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?

I am considering joining a gym. In doing so, should I focus on a facility that employs free weights or, alternatively, a facility that features Nautilus/Cybex equipment?

Can someone suggest a weight training routine appropriate for my circumstances?

What is a reasonable monthly cost?

Is this worth doing at my age?

Canopus
Last edited by Canopus on Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
bloom2708
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by bloom2708 »

Perhaps start with a home routine. See if you stick with it.

I have a set of adjustable dumbbell weights. I do some light yoga stretches as a warmup.

1. Pushups
2. Arm curls
3. Shoulder shrugs
4. Squats with dumbbells
5. Ab crunches
6. Glute presses (I do 2 leg and 1 leg)
7. Overhead press with dumbells (seated)
8. Tricep curls
9. Lunges
10. <insert any other exercises you like>

Repeat for 2 or 3 sets depending on time. I usually do 12 reps except for pushups where I do 15 reps.

You don't really need much weight for most of these. A set of 8 or 10 or 12 lb dumbbells would likely be just fine.

I don't know if covid time is the optimal time to hit the gym.

Good luck.
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livesoft
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by livesoft »

Canopus wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:42 am As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?
I do not believe this is true, but one does not increase muscle mass instantaneously nor even in a few weeks.

If you are self-motivated, then I don't believe a gym is worth any amount of money. At least not until you achieve some goals by doing your own body weight exercises in your home or outside nearby. That is, I think you should focus on "no weights" excercises for at least 8 weeks before adding any weights. For instance, how many real push-ups can you do right now?

As for lower body strength, then cycling and running will do your legs wonders if you can do those. It might take a few months or more though to build strength. While I do these outside, one can use machines at home if they are available which I understand is a question nowadays. I do these outside even though I am closer to age 70 than I am to 55.

As for core muscles related to lower body strength, how many straight leg lifts can you do right now? Zero? 10? 30? Remember, you have to start somewhere and that somewhere could be zero.
Last edited by livesoft on Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rich126
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by rich126 »

Due to a back injury, moving and the virus I haven't been in a gym in a while but when I was going regularly there were a ton of over 60 folks going. Both cardio and weights. Unless your doctor tells you to avoid certain exercises, I think it is always beneficial. Obviously your body reacts to exercise differently than it does when you are younger but it is a good thing.

I've never been good with exercising at home, others are. I need a gym very close by (otherwise I'll make up excuses not to make the drive) and then go there 3 times a week doing cardio and at most, moderate weights (usually machines although not always).

Right now with the virus I wish I had a house better suited for working out at home. Unfortunately I have stone floors, no basement and it is way too hot to workout in the garage or outside (other than a walk or a swim).

Sit down with a certified trainer and discuss your goals after checking with your doctor. I can't recall the proper certs but I'm sure others can post ones you should be looking for. You don't need a trainer on a regular basis but it might help to set up a program to start with. Take it easy. I left myself get terribly out of shape due to a move and a bad job experience and when I finally got myself going back to the gym I started slowly on cardio and over the year built up the time and intensity and it made a huge difference in my health.

Good luck. (And while it isn't my thing, some people really like the social aspect of going to the gym, in my case I was there to work out and rarely spoke to anyone)
alfaspider
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by alfaspider »

Canopus wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:42 am I am in my 70's and have noticed a loss of lower-body-muscle-mass/lower-body-strength over time. Climbing stairs nowadays is a chore.

As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?

I am considering joining a gym. In doing so, should I focus on a facility that employs free weights or, alternatively, a facility that features Nautilus/Cybex equipment?

Can someone suggest a weight training routine appropriate for my circumstances?

What is a reasonable monthly cost?

Is this worth doing at my age?

Canopus
This is wrong (unless you have some sort of muscle wasting disease). It's never too late to build muscle. Charles Eugster famously started lifting weights at the age of 85. Here he is in his early 90s:

Image

As far as recommending a strength program: I'd recommend finding a strength coach- not a "personal trainer" at a globo gym, but an actual strength coach who trains body builders and/or power lifters. At your fitness level, almost any regimen will yield gains as long as it is undertaken regularly, but you are also at higher risk for injury if exercises are not performed correctly or if you ramp up more quickly than your body will handle. Even if you are conscientious to try and learn and do things correctly, it's valuable to have a third party watching you. 20 year olds can afford to make mistakes that you can't.

Do not rely on nautilus/cybex types machines. The problem with machines is they force your body into an unnatural range of motion and excessively isolate muscle groups. They have their uses for injured people or bodybuilders looking to build a very specific muscle for aesthetic purposes, but they are not a foundation for a strength regime.

The good news is that you will likely get a pretty good increase in strength fairly quickly. After 2-3 months of regular strength training (3-4 times a week, as recovery needs allow), you should notice a significant increase in capabilities (though it might not be obvious in the mirror). A few years of it would be transformational.

Finally, don't ignore cardiovascular fitness either. The good news is cardio is easy! No equipment or special skills required. You can start by going on walks, and slowly ramp up distance/pace.
zimmer0
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by zimmer0 »

a simple google search should yield several routines for your age group and experience level. Take it slow to avoid injury. Full body workouts may be most beneficial. Kudos to you for taking the initiative and prioritizing your health. [Medical advice removed by admin LadyGeek]
JBTX
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by JBTX »

My dad has been going to gym regularly for several decades and is in great shape and is high 80s. He recently suffered serious injury (not workout related) but given his health he is recovering much better than most his age.

One upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
Jeff Albertson
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Jeff Albertson »

If your area has got COVID-19 well under control, then go for it. Otherwise, unless the gym is very, very diligent, you are taking a big risk.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nc ... dults.html
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=covid-19+is+i ... gym&ia=web
livesoft
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by livesoft »

JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 amOne upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
While I do not believe in No Pain, No Gain, I do not think we need tell the OP that something isn't going to hurt. It just turns out that something will hurt anyways and probably hurt more than not exercising in the long run. Shoot, at this age even changing to a new pair of shoes is probably gonna hurt.
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Frugalbear
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Frugalbear »

Swimming...walking.... and just some yard work.

Im not in my 70's, but thats what my 77 year old uncle does and he looks like a brick [expletive removed by admin LadyGeek] house!
tibbitts
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by tibbitts »

Under the Covid circumstances I wouldn't go to a gym. You can do well enough on your own - maybe not optimal but well enough.
TN_Boy
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by TN_Boy »

livesoft wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:04 am
Canopus wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:42 am As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?
I do not believe this is true, but one does not increase muscle mass instantaneously nor even in a few weeks.

If you are self-motivated, then I don't believe a gym is worth any amount of money. At least not until you achieve some goals by doing your own body weight exercises in your home or outside nearby. That is, I think you should focus on "no weights" excercises for at least 8 weeks before adding any weights. For instance, how many real push-ups can you do right now?

As for lower body strength, then cycling and running will do your legs wonders if you can do those. It might take a few months or more though to build strength. While I do these outside, one can use machines at home if they are available which I understand is a question nowadays. I do these outside even though I am closer to age 70 than I am to 55.

As for core muscles related to lower body strength, how many straight leg lifts can you do right now? Zero? 10? 30? Remember, you have to start somewhere and that somewhere could be zero.
I completely agree that the statement "lost muscle mass cannot be regained" is false. Almost anyone can gain strength through the proper exercises. And should.

However, I think the comment that the gym is useless if you are self-motivated is wrong, at least for a lot of people. I'm reasonably self-motivated -- been jogging and lifting weights consistently for decades -- but find that exercising at home (pushups, limited free weights, etc) is a LOT more boring than a good gym, with its wide variety of exercise options. And I find it motivating to see other people working out. (A gym doesn't just provide me a way to do harder exercises than I can get using bodyweight .... it has options that are hard to achieve using only such exercises).

I think cycling and running are complementary to strength exercises (leg presses, etc) but do not replace them. A competitive cyclist might get a lot of quad strengthening in, but the average person biking .... probably not. Same with running. Good for the hamstrings to a point ....

I think a sedentary person in their 70s should get an evaluation from someone with training (physical therapist or trainer) to evaluate weak points and define appropriate exercises. Suggesting an exercise routine for someone in their 70s borders on medical advice ..... we have no idea what your physical status really is, though if you truly find going up steps is hard, well, it's time to get going on the exercise program.

Not I'm personally comfortable going to a gym yet ......
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by TN_Boy »

JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 am My dad has been going to gym regularly for several decades and is in great shape and is high 80s. He recently suffered serious injury (not workout related) but given his health he is recovering much better than most his age.

One upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
Free weights are only bad for the joints if you do the exercise wrong or use too much weight. I'm not saying a given person *should* use free weights, but there is no reason not to use them at any age.
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UpsetRaptor
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by UpsetRaptor »

It’s more important than ever to exercise as you age. If a 30 year old increases their bench or decreases their mile time, it’s not going to affect their quality of life much, if at all. For the elderly, exercise can do things like keep their mind, driving ability, and ambulatory ability last longer.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I'm near your age, a long time gym goer. Going to the gym properly is a good thing. Flexibility will improve and while you aren't going to transform like the younger folks, you will help yourself keep what you have in muscle and perhaps add a bit. From what I have observed, its important to have a trainer to show you all the equipment and how to use it so you can decide what works for you at your pace. Most trainers I have seen don't know how to work with older clients, but some do - don't be shy if you don't like a trainer to try a new one.

It will take a while, months perhaps to come up with a routine. Form rather than the amount of weight lifted or how long you can stay on an elliptical machine (I prefer rowing) is most important. A good trainer will help you with the routine for the number of days at the gym, the number off and a week off to totally recuperate - I take every 7th week off.

I have cervical stenosis, lower spine stenosis, arthritis and peripheral neuropathy. The gym has helped me manage these diseases and I believe saved me $. Many friends my age can't even clean their house; I don't like to do it, but it saves me the money on a housekeeper.

Right now is difficult since until Covid is somewhat more controlled, I "exercise" at home with yoga, some weight lifting, but a lot of heavy yard work. I miss the gym.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
alfaspider
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by alfaspider »

TN_Boy wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:37 pm
JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 am My dad has been going to gym regularly for several decades and is in great shape and is high 80s. He recently suffered serious injury (not workout related) but given his health he is recovering much better than most his age.

One upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
Free weights are only bad for the joints if you do the exercise wrong or use too much weight. I'm not saying a given person *should* use free weights, but there is no reason not to use them at any age.
To the contrary, free weights are some of the best things you can do for your bones and joints. Personally, I'd argue just about everyone can benefit from them in some capacity.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by jimmy2040 »

Scooby is 60 and this is his workshop.

https://scoobysworkshop.com/

my friend is 62 and she just started building muscles a little and her biceps are huge.
alfaspider
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by alfaspider »

jimmy2040 wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:51 pm Scooby is 60 and this is his workshop.

https://scoobysworkshop.com/

my friend is 62 and she just started building muscles a little and her biceps are huge.
Great website with some good home workout advice in the COVID era.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic comment regarding medical advice. As a reminder, see: Medical Issues
Questions on medical issues are beyond the scope of the forum. If you are looking for medical information online, I suggest you start with the Medical Library Association's User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web which, in addition to providing guidance on evaluating health information, includes a list of their top recommended sites.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish »

YES it is worth doing! Fitness is vital at any age. Gyms typically run from $40-$80/month depending on the amenities. Expect to pay an initiation fee or sign a long contract to waive the fee.

If you're new to resistance training, I'd stick with machines over free weights. People will argue this point, but machines seem safer and less likely to cause injury than free weights where stabilizing muscles and good form are paramount.

You might consider resistance bands as well:
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straws46
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by straws46 »

Weight training is very important to combat loss of bone density. I would go to a good personal trainer to get started. Improper weight training is worse than no weights.
adamthesmythe
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Right NOW is a particularly bad time for an older person to join a gym. I belong to one and I won't go until I feel safe.
lws
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by lws »

Yes. Join one.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Steelersfan »

I've belonged to gyms on and off ever since I turned 65. When the pandemic hit I dropped my membership and don't know if I'll join again. I use dumb bells at home now and they work just fine for me. I do lots of reps and not too much weight to preserve my joints and tendons. I also walk 2 - 3 miles a day at a fast pace for cardio and to keep my legs in shape.

I've definitely added muscle mass over that time frame on my biceps, back, shoulders and chest.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by gorow »

If you are on Medicare, and have a supplemental or advantage plan, it may include Silver Sneakers. Some gyms have free memberships for Silver Sneakers members. My coverage began in April, but I have not gone to the gyms due to Covid. I did look into local gyms in February, and LA Fitness and Anytime Fitness both would allow be to join for free under my plan.
In the meantime, I have been doing bodyweight exercises in the basement and walking.
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quantAndHold
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by quantAndHold »

Joining a gym or not is irrelevant. I would argue that right now, in COVID times, going to a gym is probably foolhardy.

That said, as we mature, strength training can be life changing. I have a good friend who is a personal trainer who specializes in older adults. She regularly has clients who are using a cane or walker when she first meets with them, who are walking without assistance within a few weeks.

If you’ve done strength training before and know what you’re doing you might be able to buy some dumbbells, design your own program and have at it, but I think for most of us mere mortals who’ve been mostly sedentary our whole lives, it’s important to get some coaching. Find a trainer who works regularly with older people, have them help design a program that works for you, and work with them to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly. Once you’re up and running, you can probably work on your own and just check in with the trainer for corrections and program updates a couple of times per year.

The advantage of a gym is that the gym has equipment that you either can’t afford to buy or don’t have enough room to keep at home. Also, you won’t get distracted and start doing the laundry in between sets and forget to finish your workout. Some people prefer going to the gym, some prefer working out at home. I think even those of us who prefer the gym are spending most of our time working out at home right now. But the point is the workout, not where we’re doing it or what specific equipment we’re using.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by stan1 »

If financially able I would prioritize a personal trainer ahead of a gym membership. Not just any trainer. I would select one with a background in working with older clients in a home setting with a background in physical therapy as an additional plus. That way you will learn a routine appropriate for your needs. Coaching can be done safely in a socially distanced manner.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by JBTX »

livesoft wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:09 pm
JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 amOne upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
While I do not believe in No Pain, No Gain, I do not think we need tell the OP that something isn't going to hurt. It just turns out that something will hurt anyways and probably hurt more than not exercising in the long run. Shoot, at this age even changing to a new pair of shoes is probably gonna hurt.
Sure everything may hurt to a degree, but with cardio machines you can minimize or get rid of impact, and while I did free weights when I was younger, I now find them strenuous on the joints, whereas weight machines typically don't hurt joints as much, even though they aren't as good for building muscle.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by LilyFleur »

jimmy2040 wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:51 pm Scooby is 60 and this is his workshop.

https://scoobysworkshop.com/

my friend is 62 and she just started building muscles a little and her biceps are huge.
Wow! I am going to read up on Scooby's website. I used to go to the gym faithfully but who knows when that will be available for me? I have three at-risk conditions, so doing something at home, in addition to hikes by the ocean, is what I'm going to need to do.

My boyfriend is 65 and he looks just as good as Scooby. Eating the right diet--and not too much--is just as important as working out.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by jerryk68 »

I am in my mid 70's. I have belonged to a lot of different gyms over the years. Prices ranged from $30 to $60 a month. For the last 4 years I have a Planet Fitness membership which is $10 a month and I think a yearly fee of about $29. I lift weights, bike and use the treadmill and usually spend an hour or two daily. My gym has a lot of different machines and I am sure any gym will give you a tour if you are looking for certain machines. Medicare does not support a gym membership but if you have another policy maybe it offers a gym membership.

My gym was closed from March to July this year and did not charge anything during those months. I have not been to the gym since it reopened but will continue my membership to support the business. I now get my exercise by walking a couple hours a day around a local lake starting just prior to dawn.

Keep in mind the first million in the bank is your health so keep moving as you get older.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by djeayzonne »

I agree with getting a proper strength coach.

There are a couple of guys who are actual doctors who happen to also be really into powerlifting, and they have formed a business I educating the public and providing coaching.

I actually stated a private coaching program with them a few months ago because I have some old injuries and want to be careful about getting back into strength training.

Highly recommended!!!

www.barbellmedicine.com
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by ginstwin »

I would highly recommend getting a Peloton .i am in my mid 60s and I have had mine 6 years and use it almost daily. The community is very motivating and there are groups for different age groups . Also its not just a bike, there are great strength , stretching, running classes . Thousands on demand. The cost compared to a decent gym membership is cheap. Worth checking out.
Last edited by ginstwin on Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TN_Boy
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by TN_Boy »

JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:48 pm
livesoft wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:09 pm
JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 amOne upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
While I do not believe in No Pain, No Gain, I do not think we need tell the OP that something isn't going to hurt. It just turns out that something will hurt anyways and probably hurt more than not exercising in the long run. Shoot, at this age even changing to a new pair of shoes is probably gonna hurt.
Sure everything may hurt to a degree, but with cardio machines you can minimize or get rid of impact, and while I did free weights when I was younger, I now find them strenuous on the joints, whereas weight machines typically don't hurt joints as much, even though they aren't as good for building muscle.
I think we are getting far afield, but I must disagree that free weights are inherently more strenuous on the joints than weight machines. I think that is completely dependent upon the weight machine, and whether you use good form and the proper amount of weight with either the machine or free weights. That said, there are certain exercises like squats that I think are easy to do wrong, and if a lot of weight is involved, more likely to cause injury that something like a leg press machine (which is also not working as many muscles as a squat) might.

But if I do a push-up versus a bench press versus a bench press machine, my muscles and shoulders, lacking little cameras, don't know which I'm doing. They just know there is a load over a given range of motion.

In fact, many of us have found machines harder on the joints because they force you into a particular position. There are some shoulder machines I just can't use. Or, the standard Nautilus bicep curl machine puts my hand/elbow/arm in an alignment that hurts the inside of my elbow when I do the motion. But I can do dumbell curls, or use machines that let me align my hand and arm a little differently without pain.

It just depends. Different things work better for different people. I use a mix of free weights and machines, and that's pretty common. One person might love machine X and another hate it. Or hate bench presses and love some of the chest machines. The big advantage of a gym to me is that you have lots of choices.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by John88 »

Early 60s here. Not a trainer just been working out most of my life. Currently use a pull up bar, straps, and adjustable dumbbells in my garage and I can work all the compound exercises.

Number 1 cause of death in older Americans is heart disease so would highly recommend any exercise routine includes cardio along with stretching/mobility work. Including hills will also help strengthen your lower body.

Workouts: ditto to skip the machines and stick with functional body movements (squats, push, pull, hinge, carry).

Frequency: three days a week full body workouts (Mon, Wed, Fri) with walking every day and more so on days between workouts. Form is critical so consider hiring someone for help there. There are also tutorials on the web. Check out FitnessFaqs on youtube

Movements:

-Squats can start with bodyweight alone. For example can you sit in a chair and stand up without using your arms? If no that’s where you can start. Over time remove and/or lower the chair. You can use your stairs as squat target, progressing to the bottom step. To also progress you can hold a weighed object such as a gallon or two of liquid and/or try it with one leg only. You can also train legs with box Step Ups or walking those stairs purposely skipping a stair on the way up.

-Pushes can start with wall pushups and progressing to counter top to bench and finally to the floor.

-Overhead presses can start with any weighted object

-Pulls can start with rowing with bands or a single arm rows with a weighted object and/or progressing to assisted pull ups

-Hinges can start with body weight deadlifts progressing to single leg deadlifts and/or adding weight

-Carry-just carrying something heavy in one arm and walking around

You don't need a whole lot more than the basics above and they can be progressed to harder variations.
alfaspider
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by alfaspider »

JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:48 pm
livesoft wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:09 pm
JBTX wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:32 amOne upside of a gym is if you are like most people when you get 50+ things start to hurt. I'm upper 50s and I dont run or do free weights due to stresses and strains on joints. Inside a gym there are lots of options that can get you exercising while minimizing pain.
While I do not believe in No Pain, No Gain, I do not think we need tell the OP that something isn't going to hurt. It just turns out that something will hurt anyways and probably hurt more than not exercising in the long run. Shoot, at this age even changing to a new pair of shoes is probably gonna hurt.
Sure everything may hurt to a degree, but with cardio machines you can minimize or get rid of impact, and while I did free weights when I was younger, I now find them strenuous on the joints, whereas weight machines typically don't hurt joints as much, even though they aren't as good for building muscle.
I submit that if free weights are hurting your joints, there is something wrong with your form or you are not using an appropriate weight range. Machines are more likely to cause long term joint problems because they tend to force unnatural ranges of motions and tend not to engage support muscles, leading to strength imbalances.
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Sandtrap
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Sandtrap »

Canopus wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:42 am I am in my 70's and have noticed a loss of lower-body-muscle-mass/lower-body-strength over time. Climbing stairs nowadays is a chore.

As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?

I am considering joining a gym. In doing so, should I focus on a facility that employs free weights or, alternatively, a facility that features Nautilus/Cybex equipment?

Can someone suggest a weight training routine appropriate for my circumstances?

What is a reasonable monthly cost?

Is this worth doing at my age?

Canopus
1 seek medical consult first. Endocrinologist, etc. (pm me for further info)
2 seek medical consult to be sure you dont injure wht you have, then create anlong term step by step fitness strategy.
(much like a financial strategy, or shoes, or underwear, what fits others id not your perfect fit) IE: weight training. (load bearing)
3 review lifestyle and daily routines, activity vs inactivity. Seek balance. Much of fitness is not on a machine but in our lifestyle, diet, etc.
4 look at things that naturally develop and maintain fitness and cardio and are fun vs routine. Something on a schedule with others. IE: walking, tai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, etc.
5 physiology is not so simple and generic when it is taylored to your specific needs and capabilities. IE: 150 pound squats and squash a 70 year old spinal disc, or tear a knee, etc.

Much like a financial portfolio review, more detail needed besides age, and far beyond scope of a forum thread.
Seek professional consult. (not a gym salsesman, or trainer or pt without diagnostics first.

At certin ages and conditions, the axiom, "no pain no gain" no longer applies.

j :happy
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Breezy
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Breezy »

My mom, who is in her 80s, believes that if you don't use it you lose it, and as such goes for walks every day and has resisted moving to a one-level house so has to do the stairs several times per day. I think there's something to this.

I'm not sure joining a gym is a good idea right now, but going for walks is a great idea! And if stairs are hard for cardio reasons, maybe start using 1-2 flights a couple of times per day as mini workouts.

I think Pilates is the solution to everything age-related. I love reformer Pilates, which has the springs, but mat Pilates is great, too. If money is no object, find a Pilates instructor for a few individual sessions and then think about joining a class. Club Pilates is a franchise that's in a lot of cities, and many, many people are older. You can also find mat workouts for older people on YouTube. I have several friends who suffered from back pain and had to get adjustments or massages to deal, but after trying reformer Pilates found they no longer needed them.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Beehave »

I'dadvise starting this way:

Get comfortable shoes and find a nice place to walk. Build up to a number of times a week and a number of minutes per walk that make you feel (really) good.

Get a yoga mat. Look up physical therapy exercises for the back and core on the internet and/or talk to friends who have previously injured their back and been trained in a physical therpy program. Pick and choose several exercises from different websites or acquaintences that you are comfortable doing that include your front (lying or on all fours facing the mat),your back, and your sides that involve lifting or stretching arms and/or legs and crunches.

Do not injure yourself. Do not overdo it. When you start to get stronger, don't give in to the temptation to double the number of reps. Increase the number of reps or difficulty of any exercise in baby steps and stop when it feels like enough. IF YOU INJURE YOURSELF AFTER AGE 70 IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE A LONG TIME TO FEEL BETTER ENOUGH TO EXERCISE WELL AGAIN AND YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR GAINS. Job 1 is do no harm. Liste to what your body is telling you.

Once you are gaining strength, find some way of adding specific strength exercises with weights, straps, bands, bars, or machines. I use a True Fitness Stretch Station in my community gym in addition to walking outdoors and physical-therapy=type exercises that suit me on a thick yoga mat at home.

My community gym is open 24 hours a day. I go there very early in the morning every other day when there is one or at most two others and I wipe down the parts of the cage I touch with Clorox disinfectant. I do weight bearing pull up exercises there on the monkey bars at various angles that use my legs and arms and chest but place no stress on my back. My own experience says - - - do core exercises in concert with any other exercises. In my own experience, if you strengthen your upper and lower muscles and leave the core untended, the weakness of the core becomes exaggerated relative to the rest of your body and will be prone to injury. Before retiring I vigorously exercycled, treadmilled, and Concept-2 rowed daily with no situps or other specific core exercises. My back went out ferociously. I do most of the physical therapy core exercises I was assigned every day and I walk every day and have been well since. I would not do any chest/arm/leg muscle building exercises without also exercising my core in greater or at least equal proportion.

Not everyone is the same - so build your own exercise regime that makes sense for you. I hope my experience will be helpful to you and others.
Seasonal
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Seasonal »

Both weight training and cardio are important. The key is to build up slowly.

There's lots of good information at https://www.barbellmedicine.com/ and their forums https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/forums. It's run mainly by two doctors who coach all ages and who write extensively.
rgs92
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by rgs92 »

There were many people in their 80s at the various gyms I went to over the last 20+ years. Any regular gym or YMCA will do. There are people of all ages, shapes and sizes. You will have no problem in standard gyms. You can just ask the staff to show you how to use the machines and demo them; they do this constantly. That's their main job. You can ask them to help with weights and other equipment, too, no problem.

YMCAs would be my first choice, although they are usually more expensive. But they are friendlier with a lot more staff if you want help, and IME the equipment is better. And Y's have lots of advanced age members.

I recommend the machines rather than weights. The machines are easier to get used to and develop a routine. And they do the job, too. (And since you are paying for these elaborate specialized multi-thousand-dollar contraptions, you might as well take advantage of them.)

But wait until everything is back to normal; much of everything is shut down or barely usable for the time being in the crisis.
Last edited by rgs92 on Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.
J295
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by J295 »

Join a gym, choosing one that has a good senior population. In our area, the hospitals have stand alone fitness centers, and they are clean and cater to a more mature crowd.

Get a trainer with experience working with people your age and condition.

Is it too late for you to start? Absolutely not

And remember … Best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. Second best time to plant a tree? Today
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Sandtrap »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:45 pm I'm near your age, a long time gym goer. Going to the gym properly is a good thing. Flexibility will improve and while you aren't going to transform like the younger folks, you will help yourself keep what you have in muscle and perhaps add a bit. From what I have observed, its important to have a trainer to show you all the equipment and how to use it so you can decide what works for you at your pace. Most trainers I have seen don't know how to work with older clients, but some do - don't be shy if you don't like a trainer to try a new one.

It will take a while, months perhaps to come up with a routine. Form rather than the amount of weight lifted or how long you can stay on an elliptical machine (I prefer rowing) is most important. A good trainer will help you with the routine for the number of days at the gym, the number off and a week off to totally recuperate - I take every 7th week off.

I have cervical stenosis, lower spine stenosis, arthritis and peripheral neuropathy. The gym has helped me manage these diseases and I believe saved me $. Many friends my age can't even clean their house; I don't like to do it, but it saves me the money on a housekeeper.

Right now is difficult since until Covid is somewhat more controlled, I "exercise" at home with yoga, some weight lifting, but a lot of heavy yard work. I miss the gym.
+1
My routines and schedule were strategized by a "rehab and post op center" that is part of the local regional medical center. Medical records plus input from an RN and a PT (MS) and a consult with me put the program together. Then, it's evaluated occasionally according to logs that I fill out when there, then adjusted and sometimes new goals are made.

The rehab/fitness center is an adjunct to the hospital. Lot's of seniors, highly supervised, lot's of encouragement from staff.

My cost: $ 26/month.

Like investment finance, every person and every body is different, and the better and more skilled the consulting, the better the results. . .in general.

Good input.
Thanks.
j :happy
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legio XX
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by legio XX »

Beehave wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:28 pm I'd advise starting this way: ... IF YOU INJURE YOURSELF AFTER AGE 70 IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE A LONG TIME TO FEEL BETTER ENOUGH TO EXERCISE WELL AGAIN AND YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR GAINS. Job 1 is do no harm... Not everyone is the same - so build your own exercise regime that makes sense for you. I hope my experience will be helpful to you and others.
+1 and +! more on this one. Recovery time from an injury probably correlates precisely with age.

You’ve already gotten some very good advice – so feel free to ignore this. It’s just the opinion of another mid-70s who has some experience of gyms and has never reconciled to age related sarcopenia. Not a credential to my name.

Your questions:
Should you exercise? yes

Why? the alternative is <self-censored>.

Will it help restore some of the muscle you’ve surrendered to time? Do a web search on “will strength training increase muscle mass in seniors” and decide. You may want to add a gender specific tag, or not.

Should you join a gym? Probably.

Here’s my reasoning:
- you’re concerned with getting up and down stairs, not getting out of a chair, so you’re at worst a couch potato, not an invalid
- but you need to ease into it; gyms have the potential to give you feedback, and encouragement, also -
- a gym can give you a chance to find out what floats the boat; you may be able to get instruction using the equipment; classes that will let you try out t’ai chi, yoga, ballet, free weights, Pilates, stationary bike, swimming, water exercises for arthritics, basketball, stuff you never heard of…
- OK, this depends on where you are located and what is available there; what I gave is a tasting menu from a YMCA in Manhattan.
- It’s individual. Some people love shake-the-walls music in cardio and spinning - <self-censored>.
- again, depending on what is available in your location and your means, it may be a great investment to hire a trainer to get you calibrated.
- while you’re doing your research, consider -

The 800 lb. gorilla – Covid:
I haven’t been to a workout/class since March, and do not intend to return any time soon. The novelty of online classes wore off really fast. Seriously deconditioned. (OK – I know better…) All I do is walk a couple of miles a day and do some split squats and pushups and stretch not enough. Also go up/down five flights at least once a day, no hands and quick-step. Coming back up sucks wind, and I only do two or three flights when carrying groceries. With my bum knees this feels pretty good, but the belt tells a different story, no notches left. OTOH, have barely touched the NSAIDS in all that time; the kidneys are grateful.

So, the answer depends on what is available where you are, the quality of the support available, but getcherbuttmovin!
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by alfaspider »

Sandtrap wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:07 pm
Canopus wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:42 am I am in my 70's and have noticed a loss of lower-body-muscle-mass/lower-body-strength over time. Climbing stairs nowadays is a chore.

As I understand human physiology, lost muscle mass cannot be regained, but weight training will slow down further muscle mass loss. Is this correct?

I am considering joining a gym. In doing so, should I focus on a facility that employs free weights or, alternatively, a facility that features Nautilus/Cybex equipment?

Can someone suggest a weight training routine appropriate for my circumstances?

What is a reasonable monthly cost?

Is this worth doing at my age?

Canopus
1 seek medical consult first. Endocrinologist, etc. (pm me for further info)
2 seek medical consult to be sure you dont injure wht you have, then create anlong term step by step fitness strategy.
(much like a financial strategy, or shoes, or underwear, what fits others id not your perfect fit) IE: weight training. (load bearing)
3 review lifestyle and daily routines, activity vs inactivity. Seek balance. Much of fitness is not on a machine but in our lifestyle, diet, etc.
4 look at things that naturally develop and maintain fitness and cardio and are fun vs routine. Something on a schedule with others. IE: walking, tai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, etc.
5 physiology is not so simple and generic when it is taylored to your specific needs and capabilities. IE: 150 pound squats and squash a 70 year old spinal disc, or tear a knee, etc.

Much like a financial portfolio review, more detail needed besides age, and far beyond scope of a forum thread.
Seek professional consult. (not a gym salsesman, or trainer or pt without diagnostics first.

At certin ages and conditions, the axiom, "no pain no gain" no longer applies.

j :happy
Putting an untrained 20 year old under 150 squat bar would be malpractice on the part of a trainer. The issue with OP squatting 150lbs isn’t that they are 70 years old, it’s that they are untrained. Masters power lifters that age squat considerably more than 150lbs, but they have trained up to those weights.
Retired1809
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Retired1809 »

Before COVID19 I worked out at Planet Fitness three or four days a week and enjoyed it. I am 75 y/o.

Since March, I have not gone near any gym because of the risk of being indoors with other people breathing heavily and sweating. My Planet Fitness has reopened but at 75, I am in a high risk group.

I have increased my outdoor walking program substantially since I quit going to my gym. For four months, I averaged 20,000 steps a day and also did a lot of stretching and exercises like pushups. I was devoting between two and three hours a day exercising. And I was pleased that my weight dropped from 180 to 160. At 6' tall, I now have a healthy body mass index. In August weather, I've cut back to 10,000 steps a day.

My point is that there are alternatives to going to a gym. You are smart to increase your exercise. The benefits are incalculable.
3of10
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by 3of10 »

FeesR-BullNotBullish wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:10 pm You might consider resistance bands as well:
Buying guide: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/revi ... nce-bands/
Videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... ds+seniors
+1. I'm looking at this question as to what can be done now, as opposed to what should be done in an idea situation. With covid, the gym is out of the question. Also, the Op is not going to be in position to create a home gym. There is nothing available out there for sale (dumbbbells, benchs,...). And, anyone new to strength training will not know what to buy that is a quality item.

For seniors who want to gain muscle at this time period, it would be best to include resistance bands as part of a weight training strategy. This might be looked down on by serious lifters, but is a good strategy for a senior person for 2020. There are youtube videos on how to use them, and are recommended for seniors (along with everyone else).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006O ... UTF8&psc=1
Enzo IX
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Enzo IX »

When I was training Brazilian jiujitsu a young man complemented me by saying, "You're strong".

I said, "For my size?'

He said, "For any size."

Old man muscle rules.
RobLyons
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by RobLyons »

Long time gym enthusiast here.

First, consult your PCP. Get labs. Check your test levels, etc. Make sure you get the OK to start working out.
?Need for physical therapy or occupational therapy first.

As for the gym, with your primary concern being lower body strength/mobility, the search for free weights at a gym is not necessary. I can't see you doing barbell squats or lunges safely at this point and there's not a ton of data proving superiority of free weights over machines anyways.

Lost muscle mass is not gone forever. Join a gym that has some basic equipment and if they have a trainer that's a bonus. A simple, easy to follow routine should include but not limited to:

some easy stretching
light warmup (walking)
2-3 exercises per muscle group, per week..
-->day 1. leg day: leg press machine, leg curls, light extensions
-->day 2. pull day: back and biceps - rows, pull downs, biceps curls
-->day 3. push day: chest press, shoulder press, shoulder raises, triceps pushdown and extensions

Alternatively...
Full body workout 2 days a week with 2 rest days in between (Monday, Thursday or Tuesday, Friday) where you pick 1 exercise per muscle group, your second day pick a different exercise per muscle group


Other important topics
Increase lean protein in your diet and calories and you're on your way to success.
Don't train too hard your first few weeks. Gradually increase your exertion.
Pick some exercises you don't mind doing. If you're miserable, you won't keep up the routine for long.

Best of luck!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"
riots_rus
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by riots_rus »

I think you'd be better off building strength than focusing on cardio. Lots of people in nursing homes because they can't get off the toilet or out of bed. Look in to Starting Strength, lots of vids on youtube where they talk about this stuff.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by BogleFanGal »

lots of answers, so I'll keep mine short. As someone very familiar with the workout routines of pro athetes, competitive bodybuilders and LOTS of ordinary seniors seeking to maintain health and independence, one vital aspect is often shortchanged - even by experienced fitness or strength coaches.

Fitness is a 3-legged stool:

1. Muscle strength: your weights - whether machine, free, including critical core strength work.
2. Heart health: your cardio - walking, swimming, cycling, etc.
3. Proper stretching: this is the one many people skip or skimp on in their zeal to burn calories and get stronger. They may throw a minute or two in - but few do it long enough or correctly.

Whatever you do and especially if you hire a pro to help, keep that 3-legged stool in mind. It makes a huge difference from a safety and results standpoint.
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
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