Aerobics and Strength Training are what most people think of when they hear exercise. There is no question that these are both critical to attaining a long health span. That is what we all really want, not to just live long, but live well. To live feeling good, having energy. Not to live in sickness and decay, plugged into a tv. All seven categories of the PS Based system are important to seniors, but especially these two, muscle and heart exercises.
Aerobics is heart training for healthy blood flow and endurance. A little bit of aerobics every day helps a lot, even if just fast walking. There should also be periodic longer, harder, endurance type runs to keep your cardiac system strong. It is great to be able to run when you want to at any age, to run until you are out of breath, even if just a little. Movement keeps the heart strong and all body systems flowing.
We would all like to be like the 103 year old great-granny from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Julia Hawkins. She was a competitive bicycle rider, but when switching gears on hills became too challenging as she approached 100, she switched to running. A complete outsider to U.S. Track and Field, she enters her first competitive event at age 100 and starts breaking records. They call her the Hurricane. I am glad to report that she is still alive and well today at age 105 and still walks everyday during the pandemic. Her sage advice for us today is to pay attention to “magic moments … Rainbows, hummingbirds, nature in general, music — these are the magic moments we should all notice and appreciate.”
Strength training is also important for seniors. You must continue to work and build muscle in order to counter sarcopenia. The loss of muscle without activity intensifies after sixty. You must keep your muscles strong and that can only happen by use. Everyone needs adequate muscle mass for good health. The goal is to attain and maintain full functionality as a centenarian. This should include all your normal daily activities and occasional extreme days of heavy physical demands.
Look for more research and recommendations in these areas soon. In the meantime, check out our “proof of concept” videos on bottom right of seniors who have become super fit. There are thousands more. You can join them. This is not about competition, winning or losing. It is about having the body-mind fitness to enjoy life.
Featured next are three videos on super fit seniors who specialize in Aerobics or Strength. The first is on Ida Keeling, late-life track star who holds many world records by age. What an inspiration and life story. The second is about Lew Hollander. He is an amazing acoustic physicist who retired and became a triathlon star. Lew plans to live to 120 and is a strong believer of the power of getting out of breath every day. In his words:
The secret is, and nobody likes the answer, is to go anaerobic every day. What does that mean? It means you can’t breathe. Most people are uncomfortable when they’re there. Nobody wants to run until they can’t breathe. I like that.
The third video is a compilation of several senior body builders. Some of these demonstrably Super Fit Seniors have been athletic their whole life, and it is easier that way, but many started late. (I did not start get serious about exercise until sixty-five.) It is never too late to start.