We are youthful, we are active … and we are prisoners of our bodies. Translation? We can’t just take it for granted that we’re going to stay fit, the way we might have done half-a-lifetime ago. That’s why we like what Houston, Texas, professional trainer Bob Merz has to offer: “Your Boomer Fitness Plan.”
Its New Year’s resolution time, and for many Boomers that means losing weight and getting fit. I have some friends who haven’t seen the inside of a gym or fitness club in decades. Actually, some haven’t exercised for so many decades that I don’t even think gyms were yet called fitness centers or fitness clubs when they last did. But now, finally they realize that they have to get some real exercise if they want to live a good, full Boomer life.
And for some of them this is indeed a daunting, if not somewhat intimidating task. They don’t know where to begin, so they ask me. They know that I’ve been practicing this 50plusPlusFit thing for about a decade-and-a-half, so I’m their go-to-guy, even for my female friends.
I first tell them to do three basic things:
- Start out slowly; this is not a race. Though some think this is a “race against time,” I tell them that it is just amazing how their bodies will respond positively to getting some regular exercise, and that they’ll not only feel better, they’ll feel younger too, aka turning back the clock.
- Clean up the diet. Hey, we’ve all earned a good piece of red meat like a steak, just don’t eat it every day, and even it out a bit with other nutritious foods that are part of a balanced diet. Oh, and they’ve earned that evening cocktail too, if they like to so imbibe. We are adults here, after all, but if they don’t already know, they’ll find out that over-indulging in the grape, the suds, or the booze is not good for your newly-found fitness motivation.
- Get some expert advice. I did when I started to exercise on a regular, routine basis. I had no clue what I was doing or needed to do, so I signed up with a personal trainer. Information is power, they say, and the guy knew his stuff, even some about diet. Learning what to do and how to do it helped get me on the right track to improving my health, my appearance, and my self-esteem. It does take some scheduling and it can get a little pricey, but if you can fit it into your hectic life and you can afford it, why not?
Back in the day, we didn’t have much online info — heck, we didn’t have much online period. But over the past decade the information world has developed, and there’s lots of it available. We have it loaded with exercise routines to lose weight and gain muscle, from beginner to advanced, plus diets and tracking (or journaling) too.
Now on to the gym, a.k.a., fitness center …
We applaud anyone who decides to begin an exercise program – the decision is a huge first step in the right direction. But let’s not step into something unpleasant, like exercising hard and either not seeing results or, even worse, sustaining an injury!
Stepping into a gym for the first time in years or maybe ever is very intimidating. There’s a sea of steel and all those people running around who look like they know what they’re doing. This moment is the turning point – do you engage yourself and find your way around or just do a 180 and leave. Sadly, there are many who have taken the second option.
But, as you join a gym the membership guy or gal should give you a brief tour and explain what the amenities are and where they are located. You should be given an opportunity to schedule several sessions with a trainer, and a group class schedule should be made available to you. So, entering the club for the first time really should not be like jumping into the sea – you should have some resources to help you understand how to use equipment and what to do with the equipment to reach your goals.
You should be very careful to start out slowly, listening toyour body. When you feel like you’ve had enough, it’s time to call it a day. Just because you are on a treadmill and the person next to you has already done an hour to your 20 minutes, that doesn’t mean you have to match or surpass them. This isn’t a competition with anyone but Father Time and Mother Nature. You’re there to get and stay healthy and reverse the effects of time.
Set a schedule and stick to it. Be protective about your workout schedule and don’t let other “obligations” get in the way. Your first obligation is to your health.
Get professional advice on nutrition -– there are so many different opinions as to what you should eat, from fat-free to carb-free and so many more “diet” plans. You need real, sensible advice on meal planning.
Now, I ask you to reconsider imbibing if you are serious about losing weight or getting healthy. There are so many empty, hidden calories in an alcoholic beverage and, when you have been drinking, you lose the ability to feel full, so you continue to eat even though you’re not hungry. Also, alcoholic drinks alter your glucose levels and cause your body to process calories inefficiently. The result is weight gain (especially the stomach) and greater risk of developing diabetes.
All that said, the American Heart Association has found that there is a positive aspect to 1-2 drinks per day for men, 1 drink a day for women. It seems that the cardiovascular system might benefit from light drinking. So, if you can limit yourself, and your weight is under control, then you might be able to enjoy an occasional adult beverage.
Finally, get help designing your workout from a trainer, take group classes, or try our Online Personal Trainer which has hundreds of exercises and workouts with videos to get you going in the right direction. But wherever you receive help, guidance, and encouragement, just keep moving forward in your Boomer journey!