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I am finally back home after spending the last week at the CFLPA’s AGM (that is Canadian Football;), being surrounded by some of most fit and largest human specimens on the planet – not to mention being great people. Below is the wonderful Enoc Muamba of the Toronto Argonauts, MVP of last year’s Grey Cup. It drove home my desire to share with you the importance of upgrading our fitness routines as we age.
I know – you may not naturally be drawn to fitness. I get it. I spent ½ an hour talking to a great friend this week discussing the health and financial benefits of having a robust exercise routine. My premise is each of us eats every day, we sleep each day, we breath each day, and we should get vigorous exercise each day. I believe it is a life essential for all of us, and I am not alone.

An umbrella review involving 97 other scientific reviews, including 1,039 trials with 128,119 total participants found exercise had a measurably positive impact across so many studies which ‘supports the idea that exercise should be considered seriously as a therapeutic intervention prescribed to patients.’ So if the winter blues are still hanging around, getting your body moving is worth a shot. Here is the link to the full article.
And beyond improving your mental health, regular exercise provides protection from another nasty aging reality. Falls are the #1 cause of death in those over 65. Not heart disease, not cancer – falling. And from personal insight with a bad hip (that I am actively strengthening:) I can see how easily a fall can do serious damage. We lose about 10% of our muscle mass each decade after 40 and in rises to 30% when we reach eighty, unless we engage in regular weight lifting.

An article in this months Harvard Health Beat recommends a minimum of two workouts per week with moderate to heavy weight bearing exercises. Further support is provided by PJ of PJ’s Fitness (for those over 40). In my recent interview with her, she takes muscle strengthening further by encouraging the use of free weights rather than machines, as free weights activate more lateral controlling muscles. It is the weakening of these muscles that give us poor balance.

While in Disneyland two weeks ago, I met this incredible woman in the parking lot at 11 at night. Suspicious, right?;) After walking 20 km that day, here is her approach.

So my retiring/retired friend, it is time to bulk up! Through consulting a qualified trainer or going with what you know works for you, embark on a muscle and fitness quest that will have the younger generation quaking in their boots.