Adam Lee – Crucial Exercises to Combat Aging
In his recent hit, Rob Thomas sings “I’m not afraid of getting older….” Well, I am. As I approach a milestone birthday and witness my parents and in-laws decline, I worry. I worry about their waning health and quality of life. But I also worry for me.
What can I do, as I approach my sixties and beyond, to keep my body from rolling steadily downhill?
Adam Lee assures me – with hard work and persistence – I do have some say in the deterioration cycle. A fitness and nutrition guru in Nashville, Tennessee, Adam works with many eighty-year-olds who continue to move and travel and explore.
And that’s who I want to be.
I want to ski with future grandkids, take long walks on the beach with my husband, and haul a suitcase across European cities. I hope to play golf, weed the garden, and carry my own groceries. I intend to climb into an SUV without losing my balance and reach in the backseat and not pull a muscle.
According to Adam, “the older we get the harder we have to work to keep our muscle mass and strength.” It’s like running on a hamster wheel. Or chasing a bus. There is no finish line. We have to keep fighting it – forever.
The good news? It is never too late to start.
Sites and articles overflow with information advising cardio, intervals, weights, yoga, pilates, stretching, foam rolling, walking, and much more. The constant barrage of fitness facts is overwhelming.
To simplify, I asked Adam to list the most crucial exercises to do as we age.
His list of functional training exercises mimics real-life activities. We all know an older woman who cannot twist to buckle her seatbelt. Or one who has trouble bending down to reach a skillet in the lower kitchen cupboard. Maybe a friend who avoids going up and down the stairs.
Ideally, we should strive to do each of these exercises 2-3 times per week, three sets of 12-15 repetitions.
SQUATS are at the top of Adam’s essential exercise list. Using our own body weight, squats improve lower body strength and balance. This ensures we will be able to get down on the floor to play with a toddler or plant our spring flowers – and then stand back up again. Although we may scoff now, squats sustain our ability to easily lift ourselves out of a chair or off the toilet. We will be able to climb in and out of cars without holding on to other people.
HIP HINGES come into play when lifting a grandchild, laundry basket, suitcase, or package delivery. Hinges keep our lower body strong so we don’t rely on our backs instead – and injure them.
UPPER BODY PUSHES AND PULLS provide the upper body strength we need to push a shopping cart, baby stroller, or lawnmower. Maneuvering our wheeled suitcase through the airport and into the overhead bin requires this movement. Push-ups, pull-ups, or dumbbell presses are examples of pushes and pulls.
ROWS – Ever notice the older folks with the stooped shoulders? Upright rows, inverted rows, or any rowing motion contributes to arm strength and proper posture. Elastic bands work well for this exercise.
CARRIES are straightforward and easy to execute. Grab a weight (or any heavy object) in one, or both, hands. And walk. This functional movement mirrors carrying groceries or luggage or babies. Lots of body parts are involved in this exercise – arms, shoulders, core, hips, upper back, legs.
Adam says he “must add TURKISH GET UPS as a bonus exercise to this list.” Give yourself a gold star if you can master this complicated movement – only three reps for this one. Although difficult to do, the Turkish Get Up “works absolutely everything” and helps us to continue to operate under our own power. They maintain our ability to conquer the stairs at the beach and prevent us from grabbing onto people or objects for support. And isn’t this what we all desire?
As Bette Davis famously said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”
The past few years I’ve had a front-row seat to the heart-wrenching reality of the aging demons. Watching those I love give up what they so desperately want to do on their own is agonizing.
It is also motivating. In a few short years, I hope I can still paint my toenails, fasten my own bra, lift my leg to climb into jeans, and walk through the park on a sunny morning.
Thanks to Adam, I intend to get moving.
love this post! I am not a professional like Adam, just a 60+ midlife blogger who writes about fitness and strength training regularly. I’ve never heard of the Turkish Get Up, though, will have to research that one!
The Turkish Get Up is a tough one. I had a hard time getting the hang of it! Let me know what you think!
This is a great summary! You’re right, there are so many suggestions out there about how to stay fit. I’m with you, Pam, wanting desperately to avoid what I see happening to those in my parents’ generation. Thanks for sharing Adam’s list!
This is a super article and what Adam is doing is super important for so many of us. I like how clear-cut his pointers and exercises are.