Comments to a fellow older exerciser

An incomplete and abandoned post to a fellow SparkPeople member. Stored here so that I don’t lose it. Feel free to comment, but don’t feel compelled. Also, this isn’t orders or valid for anyone but me, unless you want it to be.

Vore, I’m 57 — MWM, as they say on the “personals” boards. My motivation is fear for my life.

I have several risk factors for heart attack and stroke — overweight, sedentary job, high cholesterol (treated with statins, and that’s working), borderline high blood pressure, and diabetes.

For me, I looked at my lifestyle (see above) a few months ago and said, “If you don’t get fit and stay fit and beat some of these things, particularly the weight and the blood sugar, you won’t be around to HAVE an old age, let alone enjoy it.”

That got me started. I’d worked out at several times in the past, but had always dropped out, sometimes after an injury, sometimes because I failed to make time… there was always something. I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen this time… but I know that if I let it happen, I’ll be one step closer to that bad outcome. So there’s that.

Also, I’ve frequently had trouble getting a good night’s sleep over the past several years. One thing I’ve discovered, just in the past month or two, is that after a really good workout at the gym, my muscles are all a bit sore and a lot tired, and my mental (psychic?) stress levels are a _lot_ lower. If I work out in the evening after getting home from the office, I can take a shower and fall into bed and go to sleep right way… and I don’t wake up nearly as often in the night (0-1 times instead of 3-4 times). So that positive motivator exists.

What I’d recommend for motivation, and I don’t know you so I don’t know if this is going to speak to you at all, is that you

1) Focus on wanting to look and feel better because of exercise, or focus on the weight loss, or whatever your goal is, and not lose track of your goal when it doesn’t happen as fast as you wanted or is harder than you thought. (It’s always harder and it almost never comes as fast as you want it to.)

2) Set a long term goal as well as a short term one. Remember, fitness and health are not just destinations; they are journeys, and if you’re lucky, a very long one.

3) Remember, no matter how often you fall or don’t meet your own expectations, that you will only fail if you give up. If you’re injured, if you’re sick, if you don’t have time for a week… all you have to do is show up at the gym or track or your downstairs room or whatever, drop the weights and reps a bit, and start doing it again. If you come back, you’re winning again.

4) Spend some time figuring out how to exercise using correct form (i.e. where to put your hands, how fast to do a lift, what the right motions are if you’re using free weights, and things like that). Running and swimming and most other sports/fitness disciplines also have technical secrets which maximize your benefit and minimize risk of injury. If you don’t know about this stuff, find a trainer who can show you, maybe more than once. Or a website with good video, if that works for you.

5) Be very diligent about avoiding injury — don’t push the weights beyond a mild ache, know when your muscles are getting exhausted, have good shoes for anything involving standing/running/walking. Know your physical limits. Within those limits, work hard enough that you’re tired afterward, and maybe a little sore the next day, but _not_ a _lot_ sore. When things start getting easy, increase the repetitions or weights (resistance), or the time (aerobic). Do it a little bit at a time.


Author: Philip Sevetson

Husband, father, uncle, grandfather. Old married white guy. Mainframe Database geek. Mid-level martial artist (1 Dan, Cheezic Tang Soo Do Federation), recovering desk jockey (working out with some regularity). Agnostic Christian (United Church of Christ or Evangelical Church of the U.S.A., depending on my mood). Democrat. Liberal, with strong prejudices in favor of freedom of speech, privacy of electronic communications, strong encryption without backdoors, a level economic / employment / educational / and legal playing field, feminism, full civil rights for minorities and LGBTQIA+, 1st/4th/5th/14th amendments.

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