Next Step: Activity Specific Exercises & Progress

Well, I’m down a little more than 10 pounds and believe I’m right on track. Clothes are fitting better, feeling better, moving easier, but there’s still definitely room for improvement. Perhaps with time, my face will change as well. Until then I’ll take what I’m getting.  I have found that, though my mind thinks I’m still twenty and can go for a long run at a decent pace or go into a weight room and hold my own, my body thinks differently.

No doubt about it training in my fifties is completely different from training in my twenties, thirties and forties.  Not only have the systems of my body slowed down and/or lost some efficiency, the objectives have changed:  Nice looking abs are not as important as ones that work when I need them to stabilize my center, creating an anchor for all movements with needed force and control. Strong legs and feet are not as important to make me look good while going around the track in running shorts as they are to help me move from sitting to standing, moving up and down stairs with ease and providing a good foundation posture for the  demands of the day.  Though big strong arms, chests and upper backs looked good and often helped in athletic endeavors, they play a small role in my daily living activities.

Though lifting weights and executing cardio bouts are important, the program design of exercises, sets, reps and rest periods has changed for me.

So the questions arises: “How can I continue to burn the calories I need to burn to lose the weight I want to lose, while starting to add exercises that meeting the demands of my changing physiology?” It seems I need to work fast twitch fibers more than slow and anaerobic more than aerobic in order to address my changing physiology and day-to-day activity challenges. With this in mind, I have added the following exercises to my walking program. Let me know what you think of what is already there, what is missing, and what should be deleted.

Warm-up — I spend five minutes or so on the Magnum Recumbent Stepper, the NexStep, just to increase core temperature and add a little oil to the squeaky joints. On a warm day, a brisk half hour walk with my two year old Boarder Collie will also do the trick.

I have also started to use the new Exertools Fluid Motion Training Tube for a good warm up:  When used with a fluid, flowing motion, this unit can help loosen up the entire upper body, give a little cardio demand and increase core temperature.

Lower Body — With my program finishing with the Magnum NexStep for anaerobics and aerobics, a large part of the Lower Body training demand is met without any additions. As I mentioned, I believe most lower body exercises for a guy my age needs high speed exercises, first with little to no ballistics, and when strong enough, with the addition of low level of Plyometrics.

Step Ups –(I use a folding panel mat)  step onto and off of a mat performing mini, single leg squats, To adjust intensity, simply change the height of the mat, change your cadence, add a movement to the ball of your feet (hold for two seconds) and / or add a little knee drive and hop. This exercise is excellent for strengthening the muscle and power neuro-patterning for the: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings and Gastrocs.

Sit to stand – mini squats.- you can use two panel mats (one on top of the other), PlyoBoxes or the new Ten-in-One Adjustable Platform unit. The objective of this exercise is to move from a seated position to a standing position and back to a seated position as quickly as possible. To adjust the intensity you can: adjust the height of the “chair”, add a weight (dumbbells, Kettlebells or a medicine ball), add a movement to the balls of your feet and/or add a little hop. This exercise is great for building the muscle and power neuro-patterning for the: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrngs and Gastrocs.

Mid / Center Body – I believe all movement starts with an anchoring of the abdominals. Fixed tibia or no fixed tibia, to me this is a basic law. The mid-section demand is both static and dynamic stabilization. The exercises I perform presently are using the DynaDisc® Balance Cushion:

Round the Clock
Sit up straight on one disc, keeping the best posture you are able to maintain
• keeping your torso (trunk, upper body) in position, shift your pelvis forward (anterior) to twelve o’clock
• keeping your torso (trunk, upper body) in position, shift your pelvis to the right (lateral) to three o’clock
•keeping your torso (trunk, upper body) in position, shift your pelvis backwards (posterior) to six o’clock

Engaging the Abs
Sit up straight on one disc, keeping the best posture you are able to maintain
• Keeping your torso (trunk, upper body) and pelvis (hips) in correct alignment, lift one of your legs (knee) towards the ceiling. If you find that you shift your weight in any direction and/or need to compensate with movement of your body, put your foot down and try again. This exercise is designed to promote dynamic stabilization of the center of your body. To do it correctly one must tighten the abdominals, and lift the knee only as far as comfortable while maintaining good posture. To increase difficulty, straighten (extend) the leg before lifting and/or increase the movement (range of motion) of the leg
• Keeping your torso (trunk, upper body) and pelvis (hips) in correct alignment, lift one of your legs (knee) and opposite arm (fully extended) to the ceiling
•You can move the middle disc closer to your feet to increase the level of difficulty or move it closer to your head to make the exercise easier

The Bridge
• Position disc under upper back/shoulder blade region with arms down by the sides.
• Bend the right knee so that the knee to ankle region is close to vertical. Position the left leg so that the hip and knee are bent at 90 degrees.
• Pull the navel inward and roll the pelvis back towards the head until the lower back flattens. Next, apply downward force through the heel of the right foot to elevate the hips off the floor.
• Tighten the right buttock and hold the top position for one second, then return to the starting position.

The Crunch
• Position the disc under the curve of the lower back.
• Bend the knees to a 45-degree angle, position the feet outside of shoulder width, and place the fingertips lightly behind the ears with the elbows and shoulders relaxed down.
• Initiate upward movement by pulling the navel inward, then curl up from the head one vertebrae at a time until the abdominals are fully contracted.
• Pause for one second in the top position, then slowly return to the beginning position.
• You can move the middle disc closer to your feet to increase the level of difficulty or move it closer to your head to make the exercise easier.

The Twist
• Position the disc under the curve of the lower back.
• Bend the knees to a 45-degree angle, position the feet outside of shoulder width, and place the fingertips lightly behind the ears with the elbows and shoulders relaxed down.
• Initiate upward movement by pulling the navel inward, then curl up from the head one vertebrae at a time while simultaneously rotating the waist so that the right elbow travels towards the left knee.
• Pause for one second, then slowly return to the beginning position.
• Repeat steps on the left side.
• You can move the middle disc closer to your feet to increase the level of difficulty or move it closer to your head to make the exercise easier.

 

So generally, with the additional focus on eating and exercise, I’m having some success.  How are things going for you? What is working and what isn’t?  Have you incorporated your dog (or your kids) into you exercise routine?  How have you changed your eating habits?  Look forward to hearing how things are going for all of you!  Until next time…

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