Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

The Golden Years - by Ralph Weinstein

The golden years are only golden if we are healthy enough to enjoy them. Decreased mobility as a result of an injury or illness can lead to a loss of independence. For more than 20 years my wife provided pet therapy for senior citizen with our Pug dogs. She visited residents of nursing and assisted living facilities and on occasion I accompanied her. It surprised me to see so many Seniors needing assistance to help care for themselves.

As we age change is inevitable, but these changes need not become crises. Throughout our lives, it's important to maintain focus, explore new challenges and find new meaningful activities. For example, traveling, new hobbies, joining social groups, taking classes, and of course, exercise.

An important part of your exercise routine should be a High-Intensity Strength Training Program. The benefits go beyond improving physical appearance. Strength training can improve your movement and control, giving you functional independence and improving your ability to do day-to-day tasks. The benefits extend to increased cognitive skills, confidence, walking speed, reduced blood pressure, enhanced cardiovascular health, lower body fat, and a decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Don't waste your most precious resource. You are never too old to start a strength training program. I started training at the age of 64 having never worked with weights. I had been physically active throughout my life and I assumed my being active would keep me healthy. Now I know better.

Because I've learned that strength training helps to improve the biomarkers of aging, my workouts have become a top priority. At age 66 I had back surgery. Eight months later I had a full hip replacement. Four years later I had a full hip revision. Thanks to my strength training program I suffered no major issues after these surgeries nor have I suffered the loss of independence.

In a few days, I will celebrate my 76th birthday. I ride a recumbent trike on the W&OD trail at least four times a week and I walk 18 holes of golf every day based on weather and scheduling. I'm a body in motion and that helps to retain my independence as I continue to age. I recommend strength training, mental and physical activities and good nutrition. To quote Frank Lloyd Wright "The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes." That's my goal.

Posted February 28, 2019 by Tim Rankin