My Workout, by Ralph Weinstein
Posted January 28, 2022 by Matthew Romans
We only have one body and it's loaded with bones (206), muscles (640+), tissues, and cartilage, just to mention a few parts. We are responsible for maintaining our bodies. You can get help, but the responsibility is still yours and you only get one chance. There are no benefits to waiting. We age and you can't go back to the earlier years.
If you take care of yourself, as you age, you will be able to maintain your independence and mobility. The best way to do this is through strength training. I started strength training at the ripe age of 64 and 15 years later, I'm still working at it and enjoy it.
As you go through each decade your body slows down and wears out, and exercise becomes more challenging. I still do the activities that I have done in the past but with less frequency because I need more recovery time.
My strength training workout is by far the most important to me. At all costs, I will be there. There are times the night before I don't feel so good and think maybe I shouldn't go tomorrow but I go and I'm never disappointed. Doing anything is better than doing nothing at all.
When I'm ready to begin my workout, I clear my head. My wife Debby says," You shouldn't have any trouble doing that." My concerns are proper breathing and proper form. Correct breathing improves thoracic mobility and reduces shoulder impingement. Maintaining a neutral head position in alignment with your spine will help avoid neck injuries. Above all, breathe freely without forced or excessive ventilation and do not hold your breath at any time. Holding your breath (Valsalva) blocks venous return (the return of blood from the extremities back to the heart) and drives blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
Maintaining good form during strength training is important because it helps ensure correct muscular targeting. The good form ensures that the joints of the body are in the most ideal position to accept forces. Performing resistance exercise when our joints are not in proper alignment can lead to increased stress and wear and tear to the joints and other surrounding tissues that can lead to injury.
The instructor monitors your breathing and helps you maintain proper body alignment throughout the exercise. In addition, he is responsible for adjusting your weights and keeping the time for each exercise. I do not concern myself with the time for each exercise. I will explain how I evaluate it later.
I start each exercise under our slow protocol doing a 10 second positive and 10- second negative repetition. It is important to maintain a slow pace. As I progress the resistance builds. I will reach a point where I can't move the weight anymore. I hold it for six to ten seconds and then slowly lower the weight. During that time, I have created momentary muscular failure or "thorough inroad."
During those few seconds, I have created microscopic tears in the targeted muscles. It will take approximately 48 to 72 hours for those tears to heal and become stronger and possibly larger. My goal for each exercise is to reach a "thorough inroad."
I do not concern myself with the amount of weight or the time it takes to complete the exercise although both have been recorded. I regularly check my chart to see if it is necessary to raise or lower the weights based on the times. Under our protocol, we strive for one minute fifty seconds as ideal. I would adjust the weight accordingly if I was constantly over or under the preferred time.
I generally finish my work out on the abmat and say to myself "I did the best I could today." That is a statement that I have applied to myself throughout my career. Whatever happens, if I can honestly say, "I did the best I could today," then no one can be critical of my results, and I move on.
In a few weeks, I will celebrate my 79th birthday. Age is just a number. It is how you feel and what you can do every day.
I want to close with a quote from a very outstanding football coach and motivational speaker, Lou Holtz:
Ability is what you are capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
But attitude determines how well you do it.