A generation of baby boomers is now entering their 60’s with high expectations of themselves when it comes to how they will spend their retirement years. The boomer generation has always thought of lifestyle as a key factor in determining how successful they are at living and the key to that living is health. Many boomers plan to travel the world and see all of the things that they have read about over the years, but without good health and a reasonable level of fitness, those dreams are often shattered.
Most of us dread the thought of spending long tedious hours in a gym grunting and groaning on machines that are dripping with someone else’s sweat and germs in order to restart some sort of muscle activity. This process is usually spurred on by looking in a mirror and realizing that it will be difficult to view all of the sight seeing locations, let alone getting on and off the bus, without some minimum level of strength and agility. What is the easiest and most effective way to approach better health through fitness? We need to concentrate on three main body areas, mainly upper body, core and lower body. There is no point in trying to work on minor muscles when what we really need to do is make sure that the major groups are strong enough to do the job. The smaller ones will follow along as we become more active. Let’s look at 3 specific calisthenics you can do at home in about 10 minutes per day:
UPPER BODY push ups are the obvious choice to make the most difference in the least amount of time. If you can’t use your toes to sustain the full body push up, then use your knees and keep your back straight as you lower your upper body to the floor and raise back up. It is very important to maintain correct form but just as important to do as many push ups as possible in 90 seconds. I realize that might be only one, but to get the most benefit requires pushing yourself slightly beyond what you thought you could do. Spend an honest minute and a half working at your pushups and record the number so that you can do an extra one next time. When finished, rest for 2 minutes.
CORE you know what’s coming, situps, of course. Two ways to do this, first crunches. Lie on your back, raise your knees to a 45 degree angle with your feet firmly on the ground and cross your hands over your chest – never place your hands behind yur neck. Now, spend 90 seconds lifting your upper body as high as possible (this might be only a few inches) and lowering back to the floor. Try to move your head up and down vertically as opposed to bending it forward and straining your neck. Count again and add more each day to increase your core strentgth. The second method requires bending your knees in the same way but hooking your feet under a chair or something sturdy so that they won’t lift off the ground. Now, keeping your hands crossed on your chest, lift your entire upper body to a sitting position and return to the floor slowly. Count again and record the total number you do in 90 seconds. You will do fewer of these but they are much more effective. Rest for another full two minutes.
LOWER BODY squats are a great choice and once again 90 seconds and do as many as possible. Standing with your arms stretched straight out in front of you, palms down, move your arms back and keep them at shoulder height then lower them to your sides while you lower your body to squat position keeping your back straight. Lift your self back up, using your legs, thighs and hips in a smooth motion to your original position.
The key to the success of this program is the natural process of your own body which continues to benefit from this brief activity for hours afterward. Dr. Al Sears, in his program called PACE, shows how our bodies increase the capacity of our heart and lungs without creating more fat stores by the use of a short duration but high intensity workout. This is especially important for a boomer generation trying to become healthy and fit in the most efficient way possible.
Bob Bannon writes the http://healthfullboomer.blogspot.com/2009/05/welcome.html blog series and is constantly searching for information and research to help us live the lives we were meant to. Lives full of health on every level including physical health, spiritual health, mental health and financial health.