Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

This Old Man's Workout

I know I was getting weaker, but chalked it up to also getting older. (I just began my 75th year two weeks ago as I write this.) I couldn't lift what I once could, nor do such things as pushups and chin ups and a lot of other such stuff. My weight had settled into a steady 195, which I considered perfectly fine. No one was calling my fat or pudgy; in fact, most people told me I was skinny.  I'm six foot tall and lanky. I've got long hands, long legs, long arms, everything about me is long and I think that distorts the appearance of girth.

I didn't consider doing anything about this until I went to physical therapy for the curvature of my back. Sudden;y I began to gain some strength under their tutelage and exercise. After my sessions ended, I decided to continue with an exercise program kind of based on what I learned at NovaCare (the physical therapy place I went), as well as some alternations to my diet in order to avoid any cholestrilol medication being added to my daily routine. My doctor, she say, "cut down on sugar and eat more fruit." So I did, no longer having a stash of cakes, tasty pies and candy here in my office and not putting sugar on my cereal and such, as well as ingesting a lot of fresh fruit each day.

I continued my morning walks, making at least four and a half miles every day and often more and up
to nine or ten. All these things conspired since spring in bringing my weight down to 170 pounds and increasing my strength at the same time.  I have gotten rid of most of my belly fat, although there is a stubborn ridge that has stuck it out, but I hope to eventually chase it away as well.

So here is my workout routine that supplements my walking every morning. I do the workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Besides the workout and the walking, I also bought a hand/foot bike, because I was on a hand bike at PT and wanted to keep at it. I often do this while watching TV. That is me using it in the first photo of this post.


These first exercises came from the PT sessions. I begin with this stretch in a doorway. Hands and forearms flat against a door jam, I take a step forward with my right leg until I feel the pull in my shoulder area and hold this for 30 seconds. I do this 5 times, alternating my leg.

These two look similar, but are different. On the left is the chin tuck, pulling back to form a double chin. I do this tuck 20 times, holding each one for 3 seconds.

The other exercise is one to strength the back muscles along the shoulder blades. I compress those muscles for 3 seconds and 20 reps.

Another designed to strength the neck, the head tilt. I turn my head sideways and hold it there for 20 seconds, alternating to the left and to the right or 5 reps in each direction.

Now we come to some exercises they gave me at Physical Therapy to strength my core and abdomen.

First I raise my legs and press my hands against the knees, forcing each to fight the other and hold for 10 seconds. I repeat this 20 times. In fact, I do 20 reps for 10 seconds each on all these four.

The second I lie with my legs drawn up, then I raise my left leg and hold it the ten seconds, drop and repeat 20 times, I do the same with the right leg.

I follow this with a bridge, raising my rear off the floor, pressing with my abdomen muscles and holding each of the 20 reps for 10 seconds.

Finally of the four I do what looks like nothing, but I am actually forcing the small of my back flat against the floor while tensing the muscles. Again, 20 of these for 10 seconds each.

After finishing those PT four, I do 50 scissor kicks. I will slowly increase the reps on this every two or three days.

Then I do ten pushups. I couldn't manage one of these a week ago, but now I manage 10. I can't do a proper pushup, though, because of the damage arthritis has done to me. I can't bend or support much with the left wrist and several figures of my right hand are paralyzed. This prevents me going fully down to the floor with my upper body.

Now it is time to set out for my daily long walk, and I always go to Bellevue on workout day because I have added the exercise stations the park has a t intervals along the track. I can't do some of these very well yet, and a couple not at all, but I try and someday I will conquer them. The hardest part of doing these is it is out in public where others can watch you make a fool of yourself and sometimes fail. You have to get over that fear. I have.

I begin with the balance beams. A couple of weeks ago I simply fell off constantly, but now I am getting the length without slipping off. I walk it about four times and I plan to try doing it backward soon.

I admit I have failed on this one every time so far. The object is to step off a post and then go the length of this devise using you hands. I step off, hang there for a bit and drop. The last time I did get a swing going and almost grabbed the next bar. Eventually I will.

Next we hold a post with one hand and then raise out leg straight out forward, then to the rear and then the side. I am currently doing 14 reps for each leg or 28 reps total.

Now comes the log lift. There are three logs, each heavier as you go from right to left. I can raise the right log with one arm. I do 14 lifts with each arm.

The middle log I can lift my 14 times using both hands and arms.

The far left log is much heavier. I couldn't budge it more than a few inches a couple weeks ago, but now I can push it above my head five tines using both arms.  Progress.

This may appear as if I am leaning against a board. Actually I am about to push my body up so I am on my straight arms atop the board and hold that position for 5 seconds. I am currently up to six such holds.

 I'm not trying to escape a snake under my feet. I am jumping back and forth the length of a log, repeating my journey four times down and back its length.

The step ups. I do a step up with each leg in turn first on the smaller pillar, then the next highest, doing 10 step ups each leg.

The classic sit-ups. I am doing 12, but I can do more. I use to be good at these. I won the setup contest in high school, outlasting every one else in gym.

Whee! Object here is to grasp the rings and raise your feet off the ground and hold this for 3 seconds. I do 12.

Similar to the last, but a different set of look-a-like rings. You grasp these ring, plant your feet firmly on the ground and swing your hips around first 12 times to the right, then 12 to the left and then you do the hooky-poky and shake yourself about. Well, not really that last part.

Finally, before doing  serious four or five mile walk, I attempt the chin ups. A week ago I could manage a half a lift, but now, although it isn't pretty nor proper form, f am managing to get my chin above the bar four times. I'll improve.

After I am back home I can finish my routine, most of which involves light weights. These came from my Physical Therapy sessions for the most part.

The weight for the first three exercises is 5 pounds. I am holding a 2 and a 3 pound dumbbell to make this. Laying on my chest, I am raising these straight up and out from the side and holding them there for 10 seconds. (In my video I kept changing this to 5 seconds, but it is 10.) I am doing 15 reps.

The second exercise (not pictured) looks pretty much like the first, except my thumbs are out and pointed upward. This changes the muscle use and is actually a bit more difficult. It is still holding for 10 seconds for 15 reps.

The third is the same grip as the first, but I am raising the dumbbells out to the front, like Superman flying, holding each rep 10 seconds and doing 15.

This exercise is only using a 2 pound weight, but originally used no weight at all. I hold the dumbbells against my chest, then trow my arms out and back, putting pressure on the shoulder muscles. I hold them there for 5 seconds then release and repeat. I do 30 reps.

Now I will use these 65 pound bungees. In this exercise I am pulling the bungees tight in a downward moving, then holding 5 seconds before releasing and repeating 30 times.
The difference here is I am pulling straight back toward my chest, again holding it taut for 5 seconds and repeating 30 times.
 I am using two resistance bands together and doing 30 reps. I keep my upper arms pressing against my body and I stretch the bands using just the forearms. I hold each stretch 5 seconds before release.

Using the same two resistance bands I begin with my hands together before my face. Then I stretch them straight across] until taut, where I hold them for 5 seconds each rep. I do 30 reps.

Last, but not least, I spend 40 minutes on the rowing machine.

After that I can go about what ever else I care to do on those days.

Maybe it doesn't impress, but you gotta remember I am in my 75th year and was very out of shape.

I have attached a 5 minute video of my workout the other day. Obviously when I do takes longer than 5 minutes, but the video is spread up 8 times normal. Anyway, here is this old man's workout.


Jon said...

Your exercise routine is extremely important and it's an inspiration for others (like myself). I used to be very active long ago, but lately I've become lazy and seem to be falling apart. I plan to start walking again and incorporating some exercises into my daily activities.

It's alarming how quickly we deteriorate when we're inactive.

Ron said...

Quite impressive Lar! You are one the right track. You've probably extended your lifespan by at least ten years.