Exercise and Longevity, Part II

In Part I of this series on exercise, I pointed out that men who can afford to pay a trainer and fail to do so are grossly misallocating their healthcare expenditures.  Nothing anywhere approaches the favorable impact that strength training can achieve in promoting longevity and secondarily, quality of life.

A suggested program is presented below.  Clifford Felarca, an ultra-fit nurse practitioner at my office in Marina del Rey, designed the program.

Before beginning, he recommends stretching and warming up.  Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy. He also cautions to build up the exercise intensity slowly. Start by doing the recommended movements below without any weights, then slowly add weight as you gain strength.

Cliff recommends that exercise be done daily. But muscles need 48 hours to recover. Therefore, he recommends alternating every other day with the “Push / Pull” exercises outlined below. Using this method, the whole body is exercised every 48 hours. 

Weight Lifting Protocol

Push Day  Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions

Pectorals  Raise your arms up in front of you while laying on your back

Pectorals  (Advanced) Wall Press. Stand arm’s length from wall and at chest level place hands flat on wall. Bend arms slowly with straight back.

Triceps  Extend the weight behind you while leaning forward over a chair or table

Shoulders  Extend arms straight parallel to the floor out by the sides and start to make circles with each outstretch arm (can add light weights to each arm)

Deltoid  Extend your arms out to each side while standing

Abdomen  Torso twists (Do 3 sets of 25 repetitions) Google: “torso twist” for details

Pull Day”  Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions

Biceps   Curl the weight up in front of you while standing

Back muscles  Sitting, pull your shoulder blades together, hold for 5-7 seconds

Back muscles  Lift a weight up while leaning forward over a chair or table

Legs    Deep knee bends

Calves    Stand on your toes then release

Abdomen   Sit ups (Do 3 sets of 25 repetitions)

The program summarized above emphasizes resistance training over aerobic exercise. The goal is to build up muscle mass.  Think of the muscles as the batteries of your body, the portion of your physique where the energy is stored.  If you increase the size of your batteries, you increase your energy. In addition, muscle tissue us energy at a fast clip.  It has a “high metabolic rate.” The faster your metabolic rate, the more you can eat without putting on fat.

Exercise is difficult, which is why most people don’t do it. Like any challenge in life, success comes by being motivated and by having a plan. What motivates you to live longer?  Do you want to avoid having your blissful retirement years cut short?

See your grandchildren get married?  Be around to support your spouse?  Without a purpose to focus our conscious thoughts, the pain of life tends to become unbearable.

For me, as was presented in Part I of this series, the only “plan” that has been successful is to hire professional help. If that option is too expensive for you, I would recommend finding human accountability through some other means. Perhaps you can join a class.  Maybe you have a friend who is an exercise nut who will take you under their arm. The bottom line is, I hope that you have enough concern about your longevity, which motivates you to develop a plan, and overcome the natural inertia that keeps us all from exercising.  You will not only will you extend your life, but you will feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

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