I have spent much of my life learning as much as possible about staying healthy and fit. I am now 62+ years old and still moving pretty well, even if I have more aches and pains than I used to. When I was a teenager I remember an older man running through our neighborhood most every morning. I remember hoping that I would be that healthy when I was his age. Running and biking have been a part of my life as long as I can remember and are still a major part. I do not run as much as I used to, but biking still offers a good choice of places to go. In the last few years I have improved my swimming to the point that I am a pretty good at it. Even though swimming is not as fun as biking or running, it is a tremendous health benefit for skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular fitness. All that said, I think I have earned the right to speak a little bit on staying healthy as we age, and so here we go!
Like most people who stay in shape, I was taught that it is essential that I spend as much time as possible running or biking long distances. Recently I have been reading and hearing new evidence that this may not be totally true. In fact, over-training may not be that good for you. A recent article stated that marathon runners may be damaging their hearts from the extensive training and competing. This leads to a whole new train of thought which I will now address. There is new evidence that interval training may be more beneficial than distance training. Remember those horrible wind sprints we did in high school? Well, they may have been better for you than the five-mile runs. Current research is revealing that the human body experiences more benefits from interval training then long slow workouts. There also seems to be increased weight loss!
Let explain more thoroughly why I think that interval workouts are better for you. It has long been thought that as we get older, we should modify our workouts to suit the age of our body. It is becoming clear that this is only partly true. Yes, we do slow down over time, and yes, we do experience more aches and pains, but never the less we have been told since the beginning of time to USE IT OR LOSE IT! The of two biggest culprits in aging are inflammation as well as reduced blood flow due to heart weakness or restricted veins and arteries. Repetitive exercises over long periods of time tend to increase inflammation and do little to stretch the blood vessels or max out the heart. Remember when they used to tell us that one needed to take his car out to the interstate once in a while to clean it out? Maybe our bodies are similar to that car. Maybe we need to push them to the max every couple of days just to keep them working properly. Said another way, when one does interval training and raises the heart rate to its max, and expands blood vessels to their max, it only make sense that one increases blood flow to all parts of the body. By stretching the vessels you are making them more pliable, which in turn should lower blood pressure.
This is my new workout plan which is geared to increasing my quick flex muscles so that I can run, swim and bike faster this coming spring. My workout is a little more extreme than most normal people need. In fact, according to some exercise gurus, three workouts a week of only 16 minutes of intervals which entails 90 seconds of doing almost nothing (walking or pedaling very slowly) followed by 30 seconds of VERY intense exercise may be all you need to feel younger and be healthier! It was also suggested that if you eat properly, this exercise routine would lead to increased weight loss! So, I hope everybody (the three of you) who is reading this is ready to try this new fitness program. Find an exercise bike, treadmill, pool or anything that can make you winded in 30 seconds and get to work! You only need 16 minutes a day!
Now if you are really serious about losing weight, you can read my articles about eating sugar and wheat. Losing weight is easy if you:
1. Do not eat processed sugar
2. Do not eat processed grains and, if possible, remove grains from your diet completely
3. Do my new exercise regimen 3 times a week.
GOOD LUCK and may the scales be with you.