Fitness

dumbbells for gym

Am I too old to go to the gym?

Sadly, it seems that many people feel that they are too old to go to the gym. The evidence is that as you get older you need to go to the gym more.  After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% muscle per decade, if you don’t do weight-bearing exercises. Less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility, both of which may increase your risk of falls and fractures.

Read more »

dead lifting

The magic moment in dead lifting

I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about the physical and mental benefits of weight lifting, so just a quick recap. If you lift weights regularly, you will see progress. Like me, you’ll probably become curious about just how much weight you can lift. If you lift weights regularly, you’ll find all sorts of everyday tasks so much easier to do. Opening jars becomes easier. Moving furniture becomes easier. Carrying shopping becomes easier. Even walking becomes easier. If you lift weights regularly, you’ll become stronger and more confident. Your posture will be better. You’ll become more toned. Your bones will be stronger. You’ll be less likely to fall. If you do fall, you’ll be less likely to break bones. You’ll have more joy in life. These are well known benefits that lots of people talk about and experience. Yet one of the big benefits for me is not often mentioned, so I want to write about it here. Sometimes I can lift weights and talk at the same time, but often I need to concentrate hard. …

Read more »

gym sign

When are you going to go to the gym?

People tell me all the time that they are going to get fit. They will start going to the gym next week. They know they need to go to the gym and will start soon. None of this makes the slightest bit of difference to your physical body. It also doesn’t really work for your mental state. Saying these things may make you feel better temporarily. It doesn’t change anything really, and at heart you know that. Some people even tell me that they’ve bought a gym membership. When I ask them, if they’re using it, they will often admit they are not. I usually tell then that it doesn’t work like that. They nod or laugh – they already know that. Waiting for the time to be right to go to the gym Many people never go or hardly ever go, because they are waiting for the time to be right. When the evenings are less dark. When I’m less tired. When my children are a bit older. Ask yourself honestly: are these reasons …

Read more »

smiling man

How does exercise improve mental health?

It’s amazing what a casual conversation can do. I recently received this from a business colleague: “following on from one of our chats 4 years ago I started jogging/running every 3 days for 3-4 miles and re-commenced 5-a side football once a week. You had said that exercise was positive for the mind and after a bit of initial reluctance of the body, I now enjoy the runs and have benefited from better mental well-being and physical well-being.” I don’t remember our actual conversation, but he clearly does. I definitely didn’t know he was struggling in any way with mental health issues. Like many, particularly men, he was always cheerful when we spoke. He gave no indication that he was struggling in any way at all. But I obviously must have said the right thing to him. Benefits of exercise for mental well being The Australian government explains one of the benefits of exercise for your mental health like this: “Exercise pumps blood to the brain, which can help you to think more clearly.” Being …

Read more »

dumbbells for gym

How to prevent shame stopping you from going to the gym

Recently I got talking to an overweight lady in our gym. She hadn’t been coming for long, so I asked her how she was enjoying it. She told me she found it very hard work. I told her that if she wanted to make progress, it was always going to be hard work. She then started to talk about “body shaming” and how difficult it had been to start coming to the gym. I told her that most people were so engrossed in what they were doing, they weren’t paying her any intention. I also said that many people seem to feel they must have a gym body BEFORE they go to the gym. Of course, the way you get a gym body is by going to the gym and working out. But many people have a fear of being ridiculed at the gym. They have a sort of fantasy that they will lose weight and get toned or strong in the secrecy of their own home. Then they will already look amazing when they …

Read more »

weight plates

Getting fitter getting older

Can you get fitter as you get older? I’m 71 now (April 2019) and there’s lots of things I can do now that I couldn’t do as a child or even as a young adult. For example, I can touch my toes. I can stand on one leg for quite a while. I can run for 20 minutes without getting puffed out. These are things I couldn’t do when I was small. I was a child who thought and read, not a child who ran. Enjoying weight lifting In my sixties I started going to the gym. I started to enjoy lifting weights and getting strong. As part of that I can now touch my toes and stand on one leg. As a child I was often frightened of slipping or falling on uneven surfaces. Now I’m usually not. What’s changed? Again it’s that gym, getting stronger legs and a stronger core. So if you’re in your fifties or even your sixties, or even like me in your 70’s, don’t believe it’s all downhill. Don’t …

Read more »