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

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Brianmcg321
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Brianmcg321 »

If you live in a bigger city, try to find a Starting Strength gym.
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Seasonal
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Seasonal »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:32 am 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.
Surprisingly, the evidence for benefits from stretching is scant. For example, here's a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that found no beneficial effect on injury prevention: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24100287/ Nonetheless, stretching makes many people feel better and has many fans, so if it feels good, go for it.
dandinsac
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by dandinsac »

I recommend you read the Body by Science book by McGuff. I am in my mid-fifties and have been doing this program for 2 years. I am very satisfied with my strength gains with the minimal time.

McGuff outlines a program of 5 exercises done once per week. He recommends slow movements with machines, although there are also exercises with free weights. Since the movements are done slowly, I believe it has a lower risk of injury. I started out with lower weights and gradually moved up.It has really helped me and now I am much stronger.

Good luck!
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VictoriaF
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by VictoriaF »

Three suggestions:

1. Exercising is not the same as joining a gym.
- Exercising is a must.
- Joining a gym in order to exercise depends on what works for you.
For example, I prefer to exercise at home to going to a gym, because it is easier to find blocks of time, easier to squeeze short exercise between other activities, and I don't feel pressured to do more than I am comfortable doing.

2. The order of priorities:
- Form
- Consistency
- Intensity

3. You can learn good form from books. There are many good books on different types of exercise including yoga, Pilates, resistance, balance, etc. You can read a paragraph in a book, put it aside, practice, and reread to check if you are doing it properly. Good books discuss when and where you should feel tension, what level of tension is appropriate, how to breath, and other details. A video can't get into too many details, or it would be too slow. And when you want to check yourself, it's easier to reread the relevant part of a book than to rewind a video.

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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 »

Seasonal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:19 am
BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:32 am 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.
Surprisingly, the evidence for benefits from stretching is scant. For example, here's a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that found no beneficial effect on injury prevention: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24100287/ Nonetheless, stretching makes many people feel better and has many fans, so if it feels good, go for it.
I may have missed something important, but this 2013 study link seems relatively small and doesn't specify if women were equally tested. In most medical and fitness research - especially older research - testing is heavily skewed towards males and the results are extrapolated to women as if they are identically built - with not-so-good results sometimes.

Although OP is male, the thread may be reviewed by women as well and I BELIEVE (qualifier - not a medical professional but have a PT in the family) that stretching is especially important for women. Because of the differences in the way women's pelvis knee and other parts align and move, they tend to be especially vulnerable to ACL and other similar injury when hamstrings, quads and other major muscle groups are not limber and are used in fast or turning motions.

If that's changed and there are new insights that disagree with above, feel free to correct me - for my own knowledge as weel. But I believe correct stretching is important. Incorrect stretching will do more harm than good.
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
carolinaman
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by carolinaman »

I comment you for asking about personal fitness. It is not too late by any means. I encourage you to get involved in some form of regular exercise with the goal of improving and maintaining your overall fitness: cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance. You should check with your doctor for advice and approval before beginning a program.

In many parts of the country, gyms are risky right now due to Covid. Your best bet might be some form of personal fitness trainer who can assess your current fitness and develop a fitness program for you. It would be great to have access to all the equipment in gyms but you can do a lot on your own with a limited amount of equipment. Once gyms are safer, you can consider joining one. Some people are fine exercising on their own whereas some prefer to exercise with a buddy or a group.

One word of caution. Starting an exercise program in your 70s is a lot different than starting one in your 20s. Be careful not to go too fast too soon. It is easy to sprain muscles or ligaments that have not been heavily used and recovery time is much longer in the 70s. That said, if you stick with it, you will be rewarded with good health and be able to do things many of your contemporaries cannot do

I am 75 and in pretty good shape for my age (I hate that qualifier!). I have always been active but when I retired 10 years ago I joined a local Y. They have a weil equipped gym with all sorts of exercise machines, weights, treadmills, ellipticals, etc. They also have a swimming pool and conduct classes in Yoga and similar programs. I went 3 times a week until Covid erupted in March. I suspended my membership and am unsure if I will return after Covid is over. IMO, even the best gyms are somewhat of a petri dish for contagious diseases.

The Y has been good for me because it helped me maintain range of motion in my joints, maintain and build strength and improve my cardiovascular system. I did yoga for 8 months until I hurt my back. I still do some yoga at home but it is not the same as an instructor led class. I used the swimming pool for a while but I am not a good swimmer and it was hard to get free lanes to swim in without being crowded out by the expert swimmers.

There were a lot of seniors in our Y so you will likely find many if you can join a gym.

Best wishes.
Katietsu
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Katietsu »

RobLyons wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:32 am Long time gym enthusiast here.

Make sure you get the OK to start working out.
?Need for physical therapy or occupational therapy first
I agree with this.

Most respondents just went with your “should I join a gym?”

You expressed an increasing difficulty with a basic living activity of doing stairs. You may well be able to have an occupational therapist come to your home who is used to working with older people. They will be able to give you appropriate exercises to start with. For both my grandfather and my FIL, this was covered under Medicare. Each was able to have several visits. An added advantage is that occupational and physical therapists are used to working in the home of vulnerable individuals and should be a safer alternative in a Covid troubled world. Start with this request with your family doctor. Express to him the activities that are challenging you and ask if an OT consult is possible.

Just walking is really a great way to start if you are not already doing so. As you progress, you can slowly increase distance and slowly add inclines and hills.

Lots of great simple strengthening and flexibility exercises can be done just in your living room with “videos” aimed at seniors. Have you looked at any of these? PBS used to air some, not sure if they still do.

Best of luck.
stoptothink
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by stoptothink »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:27 am
Seasonal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:19 am
BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:32 am 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.
Surprisingly, the evidence for benefits from stretching is scant. For example, here's a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that found no beneficial effect on injury prevention: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24100287/ Nonetheless, stretching makes many people feel better and has many fans, so if it feels good, go for it.
I may have missed something important, but this 2013 study link seems relatively small and doesn't specify if women were equally tested. In most medical and fitness research - especially older research - testing is heavily skewed towards males and the results are extrapolated to women as if they are identically built - with not-so-good results sometimes.

Although OP is male, the thread may be reviewed by women as well and I BELIEVE (qualifier - not a medical professional but have a PT in the family) that stretching is especially important for women. Because of the differences in the way women's pelvis knee and other parts align and move, they tend to be especially vulnerable to ACL and other similar injury when hamstrings, quads and other major muscle groups are not limber and are used in fast or turning motions.

If that's changed and there are new insights that disagree with above, feel free to correct me - for my own knowledge as weel. But I believe correct stretching is important. Incorrect stretching will do more harm than good.
It's also important to qualify what you mean by "stretching". If you mean warm-up and dynamic movement prep, then we agree. If you are referring to static stretching (especially pre-movement), then seasonal is absolutely right: the evidence is scant, at best.
Mitchell777
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Mitchell777 »

I have a couple health issues that prevent me from lifting weights, other than extremely light weight. I wish I could, as I have really lost upper body strength. Last year at the Penn Relays, the 82 year old man that won the 100 meter dash in the 80 and over category ran it in less than 16 seconds. When they asked how much he ran, he said he runs on his driveway at home sometimes but he lifts weights. His running form was that of a young athlete.
The Stone Wall
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by The Stone Wall »

Do you have a Senior Citizens Center in your community? Before Covid, ours offered numerous (more than two dozen) fitness classes. These included a wide range of activities. Since they focus on the over 60 group, they understand and develop programs to increase skills. Look up the Fullerton Functional Fitness test for seniors.
boomergeneration
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by boomergeneration »

Lots of great advice here. Just a few things to add. It isn't muscle mass that can't be regained, it is bone density that can not be regained once you get to the state of osteoporosis. At least that is what my doctor told me.

Also, there are a lot of good, short free videos on the AARP site demonstrating good technique for many weight training exercises, using bands or weights. Ruth Bader Ginsberg's trainer is featured in many of them, Denise Austin in others. They run from a minute to 10 minutes.

One other suggestion is be careful in picking out your weight for shoulder exercises. I have known many people that picked a weight too heavy and ended up hurting their rotator cuff, and then couldn't do any upper exercises for months.
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Canopus
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Canopus »

OP here.

I want to thank the many people who responded to my queries. You have given me so much to consider.

The collective wisdom of the Bogleheads community on so many topics amazes me every time I log onto this site.

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

Post by Seasonal »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:27 am
Seasonal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:19 am
BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:32 am 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.
Surprisingly, the evidence for benefits from stretching is scant. For example, here's a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that found no beneficial effect on injury prevention: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24100287/ Nonetheless, stretching makes many people feel better and has many fans, so if it feels good, go for it.
I may have missed something important, but this 2013 study link seems relatively small and doesn't specify if women were equally tested. In most medical and fitness research - especially older research - testing is heavily skewed towards males and the results are extrapolated to women as if they are identically built - with not-so-good results sometimes.

Although OP is male, the thread may be reviewed by women as well and I BELIEVE (qualifier - not a medical professional but have a PT in the family) that stretching is especially important for women. Because of the differences in the way women's pelvis knee and other parts align and move, they tend to be especially vulnerable to ACL and other similar injury when hamstrings, quads and other major muscle groups are not limber and are used in fast or turning motions.

If that's changed and there are new insights that disagree with above, feel free to correct me - for my own knowledge as weel. But I believe correct stretching is important. Incorrect stretching will do more harm than good.
There's more research in the stretching part of this article: https://www.barbellmedicine.com/blog/mo ... explained/ (info on the author https://www.barbellmedicine.com/the-team/michael-ray/)

The general philosophy of the site on which this article appears is that there are no special populations (men v. women, older v younger, etc.) - individual variations are at least as important. They attempt to find what is best for the individual, taking everything slowly and relying on how the individual reacts rather than strict prescriptions based on demographics. The site is run by two doctors who do a lot of coaching and report on a lot of research, so they have the argument from authority thing going.

Here's an article on static and dynamic stretching with many citations https://www.strongerbyscience.com/benef ... roportion/
mptfan
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by mptfan »

quantAndHold wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:01 pm Joining a gym or not is irrelevant. I would argue that right now, in COVID times, going to a gym is probably foolhardy.
I would argue the opposite... going to the gym (and regular exercise in general) is beneficial because physical fitness is your best defense against Covid.
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by whodidntante »

At 70, frailty, longevity and quality of life are major considerations. Your risk of developing cancer is 1,000 times that of a 30 year old. Regular and sufficiently intense exercise improves all of those risks.

I exercise rather intensely and I do not go to the gym due to the elevated risk of infection with COVID-19.
jlw35
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by jlw35 »

Haven't read through all of this thread, so if it's been previously mentioned, I apologize.
If you have a Medicare Supplement, many of the plans offer the Silver Sneakers program. That would get you a free membership at a YMCA, Gold's or some other gym in your area (check the Silver Sneakers website for you area).

My neurologist (same issue as others at this advanced age with neck/spine problems) insists that overhead lifting (think triceps curls etc.) is to be avoided. Just a recommendation from her, therefore, I avoid those exercises.

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

Post by TN_Boy »

mptfan wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:59 am
quantAndHold wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:01 pm Joining a gym or not is irrelevant. I would argue that right now, in COVID times, going to a gym is probably foolhardy.
I would argue the opposite... going to the gym (and regular exercise in general) is beneficial because physical fitness is your best defense against Covid.
Given that prolonged exposure to other people in an enclosed space who are breathing deeply is one of the highest risk things you can do, I vote yes for exercise, but no for gyms. Even gyms that try hard to be safe.

I realize other people may not agree with the gym risk assessment, but based on what I read, I'll pass on gyms for a while. And I really miss going to the gym.
Iorek
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Iorek »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:32 am 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.
I agree, especially if you expand “stretching” to include flexibility, then I think you really are talking about three different aspects of fitness all of which are important for feeling fit in daily life (not that I am good about incorporating all three, esp post-Covid-19).
tibbitts
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by tibbitts »

mptfan wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:59 am
quantAndHold wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:01 pm Joining a gym or not is irrelevant. I would argue that right now, in COVID times, going to a gym is probably foolhardy.
I would argue the opposite... going to the gym (and regular exercise in general) is beneficial because physical fitness is your best defense against Covid.
And you would have about as much success as arguing for investing your entire portfolio in a single stock.
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Tejfyy
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by Tejfyy »

I haven't read most of the posts, I'm sure you've received plenty of opinions and ideas. I'll just add that goals are achievable and fitness doesn't have to be a complicated scientific endeavor. One can set one's own goals like simply feeling better, stronger, more energetic. You can climb the stairs faster, take that hill on a bike, etc.

I don't believe a gym is necessary although many people find they're unable to be disciplined without it. The world is full of opportunities to get fit. The internet is full of get fit videos. You just have to want to feel better and commit to doing the work to feel it. :) :sharebeer
UpperNwGuy
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Re: To Join a Gym or Not After 70? Type of Gym? Are Fitness Goals Achievable?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

In early 2019 I started meeting twice a week with a personal trainer. We met in a gym until COVID closed the gyms. We switched our meetings to an outdoor park. The gyms have now reopened, but we decided to stay at the park. I don’t know what we’ll do when winter weather arrives.
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