Most older adults and baby boomers never pick up a set of weights. Perhaps they feel too old to exercise, or they just don’t think about strength training. But keeping muscles strong as we age is critical for a quality, independent life…and there’s at least one busy 85-year old who gets it!
Welcome to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work out. The oldest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ginsburg reportedly works out twice a week for an hour with her personal trainer. And she kicks booty!
Ginsburg’s workout is available in book form, and online in many videos. What impresses me is that:
- Ginsburg is 85 and goes to the gym regularly.
- She incorporates a 5-minute warm-up in her program.
- She uses a variety of strength training modalities to stay strong: dumbbells, weight machines, balls, body weight; on the floor as well as in seated and standing positions.
- She uses proper technique, with her personal trainer close at hand at all times supervising three sets of 10 to 13 reps of exercise.
- She exercises all parts of her body, upper and lower, as well as core. And she works on balance as well as strength.
Ginsburg, a two-time cancer survivor, knows she needs to stay fit.
If you need convincing to start pumping iron, consider the following:
- By the time you reach age 70 or 80, you’ll lose a significant amount of muscle mass and strength.
- Loss of muscle leads to a decreased ability to live independently. And the relative percent of body fat increases, bringing with it increased risk of chronic diseases.
- Weak muscles and bones lead to falls. Every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Studies confirm it is possible to maintain and gain muscle strength well into your 80s.
- Strength or weight training, along with a proper diet, is the only way to halt the loss of muscle size and strength.
While I don’t recommend you jump right into Ginsburg’s challenging workout, here are some tips to start you on your own strength training journey:
- Pick up a set of light weights (2 lb. or 3 lb.) or cans (15 oz.) and simply carry them throughout the house several times per day.
- Perform push ups against a wall or sturdy counter top. If using a wall, place hands at shoulder height and feet hip-width apart and about 12″ from wall. When dropping in to the wall, visualize a board that rests on the back of your head, in between your shoulder blade and sits on your tailbone. Don’t let your head jut forward; drop into the wall straight like a board.
- Stand up from a chair or sofa without pushing with your arms. That is, just use your leg muscles to get up.
- Sit at the edge of a chair with feet about 12″ apart and close to the legs of the chair. Place arms out in front of you. Using your leg muscles, lift your bottom off the chair one or two inches only, then sit back down. Repeat 10 times.
For your personalized super workout, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.
Lisa Teresi Harris is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and author of the book Building Your Enduring Fitness. A certified Geri-Fit Instructor, she helps Boomers and seniors to regain and keep muscle strength, mobility, and energy.
Contact Lisa to inquire about a customized, in-home fitness program for you or a loved one.