By Greg Burton
Pastor, Colonial Heights Baptist Church
Editor’s Note: Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.
Far too often as we age, we back off good health practices. We are more comfortable in the recliner than we are on the walking trails or at the gym. Age brings needs to us that are more urgent than when we were younger. I encourage all of you over 50 years old to consider weight training at a gym.
Regular physical exercise at a fitness center meets several important needs. Ligaments, muscles and even bones need the gentle stress of resistance (weight) training. Putting pressure on these parts of our bodies actually helps them to strengthen. My personal preference is for free weights, particularly dumbbells. Here are some hints of good practices.
(1) Always warm up with stretching or lighter weights. An injury in older years wastes valuable time in recovery.
(2) Do not worry about how much you are lifting. Good form is the primary focus.
(3) In nearly every exercise the key is a smooth first motion, slight pause at the apex and then a slow resistance back.
(4) Allow 30 minutes for a good workout, not including your cardio.
(5) Avoid the bench press and pulls to neck. These exercises risk impingement as we get older.
(6) When lifting with the shoulder or neck muscles, keep your head still. The neck muscles can strain easily otherwise.
(7) Do not neglect the leg muscles. These are larger muscles and can ache the next day, but it is a good pain!
(8) Work out at least three days per week. Give emphasis to upper, middle or lower body, but always do some of all.
(9) Schedule your workouts. When something interferes, work out later that day or the next day. Do this without fail.
(10) Go with a friend or ask a fitness friend to guide you initially.
Jesus spent little time in His local synagogue. He was always out in the marketplace meeting people. You may be surprised to find the number of people you can minister to at the gym or on a walking trail. Use this time to listen to Christian music or podcasts. Pray as you work out. But leave your phone in the car or in your jacket pocket. Happy health. B&R — Burton is pastor of Colonial Heights Baptist Church. He writes a column, “To Your Health” for the Holston Baptist Association newsletter.