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Cheap and Good: No Excuses Weightlifting

Today, Aunt Toby wants you to think of our little meeting place here as Kitchen Counter Gymnasium. We’re going to talk today about getting more strength into our lives … at home.

So, you say you don’t have the money for a gym membership. Okay – Aunt Toby is good with that.
And you say you have never lifted weights and are just a little bit scared of hurting yourself. Yep – I’m with you there too. And you say that it’s not something you worry about really.

Just hold it right there, bucko.

No one WANTS to choose to not be strong, especially where it counts: in the legs and the back. No one WANTS to choose to hurt themselves, to not be able to pick up their own child or their toddler grandchild. No one WANTS to choose to end up with a broken hip or wrist when they are older.

We just sort of … allow it to happen.

I’m not that Jack La-whatever-his-name-is who is really ‘long in the tooth’ and who swam in the Pacific and dragged a bunch of boats with his teeth (or whatever it was he did that showed what great shape he’s in). Frankly, your Aunty here is like a lot of you: I sit at a desk all damn day at a computer. I’ve got family cardiac history up the wazoo. My mom broke her wrist in her 80s (and never knew how it happened because she did not fall) and then later on broke her hip. She ended up having to have surgery to install something called a ‘Greenfield Filter’ into her femoral artery so that she wouldn’t end up being killed by a blood clot.

So, what I’m here to talk about today is how to prevent that.

Weightlifting for the Not-Young

“The American College of Sports Medicine now recommends weight training for all people over 50, and even people well into their 90s can benefit. A group of nursing home residents ranging in age from 87 to 96 recently improved their muscle strength by almost 180 percent after just eight weeks of weightlifting, also known as strength training. Adding that much strength is almost like rolling back the clock. Even frail elderly people find their balance improves, their walking pace quickens, and stairs become less of a challenge.

Among these elders is Sara, 91, who had a lot of trouble walking after healing from a serious hip fracture. But after starting a weight-lifting program in which she practiced either leg presses or leg curls three times a week, she was able to walk a quarter of a mile without assistance and pedal a stationary bike.

“I feel better physically and mentally; I feel wonderful inside and out,” Sara told the authors of the book Successful Aging (Dell, 1999). “I must go for that exercise three times a week, I must. You have to push yourself.”

But let’s say you don’t have the money to have a gym membership and you know yourself well enough to know that you spend a whole lot of time at your computer…and that’s fine with you. Aunt Toby is here to tell you that – you’ve got no excuses — check out the photograph above. All of those things (or something like them) can be found on your kitchen cupboard shelves. The DH did me the favor of pulling all sorts of stuff out and weighing it for me. These are great weights to get started with. You want to blog in your jammies? Great – just put a couple of these items under the computer table and haul them out and lift them a bunch of times while you are doing it. Here’s what you get — the order (one of these days Aunt Toby is going to figure out how to do charts in html) is: Item….Weight as Stated on the Outside of the package…Weight on the scale

Can of Cream of chicken soup….10.75 oz…………….12 oz.
Can of Black Beans……………….15.5 oz……………..1 lb., 1 oz.
Can of Tuna………………………..5 oz…………………6 oz.
Can of Mushrooms…………………6.5 oz………………8 oz.
Can of Tomatoes………………….28 oz………………..2 lbs.
Gallon Jug of Water……………………………………….8 lbs., 9 oz.

So, you haven’t done any weightlifting since college…maybe you have not lifted weights ever. Start small – start with the tunafish and build up. Don’t know HOW to do resistence exercises? Here’s a good site with videos: Free Weight Exercises Just substitute the cans for the barbells. Work up slowly. If it hurts, don’t do that again. Do a little bit every time you sit down at the computer. I keep a gallon jug of water next to my computer table and make it my business to do three or four upper body exercises on both sides. Yes, we have a whole free weights set up in the basement — but I spend far more time at the computer than I ever do downstairs working out.

But what about the lower body? OK — You’re sitting down. Take a thick book out and put it on the floor. Rest the front of one foot on that dictionary and that gallon jug of water on the knee of that leg. Lower your heel over the side of the book and then lift it up. Do that a bunch of times and then switch legs. Another exercise while you are computing there at the desk: Lower your desk chair (if you can – if not, get a lower chair) and sit with your feet together. One leg at a time, alternating, lift your knee until you hit the bottom of the desk. Do that 10-15 times on each leg.

This is not the be all and end all of exercise; frankly, I’m going to take a stand here and remind everyone that the more exercise you get, the more you can do, the healthier you are and the lower your chance of ending up with hip fractures and other problems of aging. But for those of us who are avoiding a lot of this, here is a way to get some good resistence training in WHILE we are blogging in our jammies…

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  1. […] Chris Turner created an interesting post today on Cheap and Good: No Excuses WeightliftingHere’s a short outlineToday, Aunt Toby wants you to think of our little meeting place here as Kitchen Counter Gymnasium. We’re going to talk today about getting more strength into our lives … at home. So, you say you don’t have the money for a gym membership. Okay – Aunt Toby is good with that. And you say you… […]

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