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Roger L. Simon

Fitness for Seniors (Me)

November 22nd, 2013 - 12:02 am

On days I don’t play tennis I do a variety of things, but my primary activity, which I highly recommend, is the Scientific 7-Minute Exercise program that was popularized in the New York Times last May. Based on the theory that short-burst high-intensity exercise is better even than the longer aerobic exercises like running, it is a series of twelve exercises done for thirty seconds with ten second intervals (jumping jacks, wall sit, push ups, sit ups, step ups, squats, front plank, tricep dips, running in place with high knees, lunges, push ups with a rotation, left and right planks). These are done without the use of weights, only a sturdy chair for the step ups and tricep dips, which means you can do them just about anywhere (hotel rooms while traveling).

People who are seriously out of shape will find even seven minutes of this extremely difficult. When I first did it I was in so-so shape and pushed myself through, but I felt it. Since then I have built it up a lot. Some people repeat the series two or three times in a row. I have expanded the length of each exercise so that now I am doing three minutes of jacks, sets of fifty pushups, a hundred squats, etc. When I’m on my game, the whole regime takes me 23-24 minutes with almost no rest between exercises. At the end I am drenched and desperately need a sports drink. (Gatorade may taste like motor fluid but it really works. I never play a serious tennis match without it.)

I am working up to doing this series for thirty minutes five times a week or so. I also keep a set of hand weights and an ab cruncher in my office, so I can do a few minutes of exercise at random moments doing the day. And I walk any time I can. Unfortunately in L.A., that’s not much. Basically it means taking the stairs instead of the escalator in the mall parking structure.

So exercise is the key. In fact it’s almost everything, especially if you’re like me and have little self=discipline about food. The only advice I have in that regard is try to skip dinner once or twice a week. Also, If you’re near a Costco, go buy their economy-size packs of frozen blueberries. They’re supposed to be some kind of anti-carcinogenic miracle. Put them on everything or eat them straight and you’ll live forever — or at least until next week.

My other piece of advice is never retire. Don’t even think about it. Of course, these days most people can’t for economic reasons. So that’s easy.

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Cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (38)
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Great piece and keep it up. Likewise as I approach 62 in 9 days my cycling is the best ever all due to a power meter and a coach proving that "That which is measured, improves."
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many of us who are 60+ and unemployed ARE "retired" for economic reasons!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"No, you’re not going to see a selfie." Ah there still are tender mercies to be had. I shall reciprocate with no selfie of moi.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hell, ya, I'm retiring. My job is killing me with stress. I have so many other things I want to do in life. I newly energized with the thought of doing what I want and not what someone else wants. Will give me more time to continue with my weight lifting training, also. ETA: I'm 58 Y and 8 M old. Last work day is in 62 calendar days. F'm. :)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was probably in the best shape of my life in my middle to late forties, but then one thing and another started breaking down, making vigorous exercise difficult to impossible. I suppose some aggressive medical care might fix some or all of them, or not. Overall I'm probably in better shape at age 60-something than I anticipated forty years ago, but maybe not quite as good shape as my father was in at the same age.

Seems like a lot of people make it to around 80 these days in much better shape than people made 60 when I was a kid. It's after 80 that it starts getting difficult, physically, mentally, and I suppose financially. Not to mention culturally.

Wish I could burn off more calories so I could eat more calories, amazing how few calories it takes to keep an old body moving and NOT losing the ten pounds I could do without.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The way to stay young and healthy is....well, stay young and healthy. I am 58, 32 inch waist, no health problems, can swim 2 kilometers in an hour, and have no regular program at all- I just walk around a lot (in Mexico City it's easy and necessary). At church I play instruments - drums, guitar, bass harmonica, and jump around and dance. If I am writing I write for 20 minutes then jump up and do something physical, like weed my urban rooftop garden of 150 veggie and fruit plants. Always RUN up stairs, never walk. Drink water. Laugh. Act goofy. Have good sex. What's so hard?

Best to you Roger. Un abrazo desde Mexico.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I swing dance. One of the few exercised that you can do holding on to a woman.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Happy birthday Mr. Simon and many happy returns.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Inspiring piece, Mr. Simon, and Congratulations! You're right about blueberries, or as the kid in the ad said, "Blueberries are our friends!"
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent, inspiring and impressive. Thanks, and happy birthday. Mine was yesterday..
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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