A while back, my wife talked me into doing regular strength training. The basic principle is that aging muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle: older adults need to work out regularly to ensure that our muscles do not atrophy.
I’ve been reasonably good about working out about once a week – it should be more often, of course, but I’ve been able to maintain strength with a weekly workout. It fits into my running schedule: I run on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I work out on Thursday, and I rest and/or ache on the other days of the week. (If I get more comfortable running longer distances, I can add cycling and/or hiking into the mix, but I’m not there yet.)
Here’s my current workout routine, which takes a little under an hour:
- A five-minute warmup on the elliptical (low setting)
- Step ups: 3×10 stepping on and off a raised step
- Glute raises: 3×10
- Hamstring stretch on machine at gym: 3×10
- Bench press: 3×6 (I’m currently at 95 pounds; I did 100 once!)
- Lat pulldowns: 3×10
- Shoulder raises: 3×10 (20 pounds)
- Captain’s chair leg: 2×20 (strengthens stomach muscles)
- Plank: 100 seconds (I’m very glad when this is over)
- A bit of stretching to end it
I sometimes hate doing this, but it’s been very beneficial: I have about the same energy level that I did when I was in my early 30s (except for wanting to nap a bit more, and wanting to go to bed earlier!).