One of the main causes of falling is that we do not keep our aging bodies fit or strong enough to carry our weight and maintain our balance. Everything seemed fine in our 40s and 50s but then the 60s rolled in along with the weaker muscles, aching joints and painful backs.
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tufts University created a book called, Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults to help you become stronger and maintain your health and independence.
It helps you decide whether their exercises are safe for you or whether you need to consult with your doctor first. It offers a program tailored to your needs, with step-by-step instructions on getting started, staying on track, and growing stronger and healthier as you age. At the end of the book is a 12-week workbook in which you can record and gauge your progress and celebrate your success.
The book’s activities will help you:
One of the hardest parts of exercising is finding the motivation to do it. Excuses, procrastination, and self-doubt (maybe even poor self-esteem) seem to crop up for most of us and prevent us from helping ourselves. One of the best aspects of this book is that it understands that most people (including yours truly) often ignore their physical health and condition. The book counters this with addressing the mental blocks that often prevent us from exercising. Check out the title of three of the first four chapters:
CHAPTER 2 Making Change
CHAPTER 3 Getting Motivated
CHAPTER 4 Starting Your Journey: 6 Simple Steps
The book’s approach understands how we think. It anticipates the obstructions that we may have in getting started and continuing an exercise program and offers a variety of solutions and tools.
For example, from CHAPTER 2:
Here’s a timetable for moving through the first three stages of change:
Days 1—5: Read this book and set goals (contemplation)
Days 6—10: Buy equipment and set an exercise schedule (preparation)
Days 11—12: Start the program (action)
For some people, one stage flows easily and naturally into the next in a short period of time with few major problems. But many of us get hung up at one stage or another. Keep in mind that it often takes several tries to change one’s daily routine. Stay with it—you’ll find that the effort pays off in ways you never imagined!
You probably already have most of the equipment needed for the program: sturdy chair, exercise space, rubber sole shoes, loose, comfortable clothing, stairs or raised platform, storage container, and mirror. You may have to purchase these two items, but they can be found used or on sale: dumbbells (hand-held weights) and adjustable ankle weights.
The book is free! You can print a copy from: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/growing_stronger.pdf
The book states and we repeat: If you are under a physician’s care for a medical condition, discuss this program with him or her before you start. Remember that regular medical checkups are essential for your health and well-being. While this book can serve as your guide to growing stronger and becoming more physically active, it cannot replace the advice of a health care professional who knows you personally.
Source: Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults by Rebecca A. Seguin, B.S., CSCS, Jacqueline N. Epping, M.Ed., David M. Buchner, M.D., M.P.H., Rina Bloch, M.D., Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. 126 pp.
John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention