Keeping a good body shape when old

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    Jan 31, 2016 3:01 PM GMT

    I guess I ought to know the answers -but would really value some advice. Yes, I am 74 and know all about the physiological and anatomical changes which are happening. So I know I have to have realistic expectations. But I struggle now to keep reasonably well defined and beginning to feel anxious about taking my top off in public.

    I do 2 high intensity cadio interval sessions a week for 50' and 2 or 3 resistance sessions.

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.
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    Jan 31, 2016 7:46 PM GMT
    I should hope that people realize that I'm old and have reduced expectations about how my body should look.

    You can do everything possible to stay lean and have nice muscles but in the end it's the sagging and wrinkled skin that tells the tale of your age. Not much you can do about that except get cosmetic surgery.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Jan 31, 2016 7:58 PM GMT
    Your profile says you were both a doctor and a trainer so I'm sure I don't know anything you don't know. But I think the key is keeping your testosterone levels on the high end of the normal range while watching all the related markers. That, sufficient protein intake with balanced carbs and fats, and strength exercises. You mention cardio a lot and I'm sure up to a point that is great for heart and vascular health but I also think some stored fat is a good thing as we age. I know HGH is considered evil but I see no negatives other than easily monitored liver functions though I have no experience with it and it is awfully expensive.

    Keep up the good fight!
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    Jan 31, 2016 9:37 PM GMT
    Your query makes me wonder who these people are that you feel anxious about seeing you with your shirt off. Surely it can't be other 74 year olds?

    If it's young guys, if they're interested in you at your age they're much more likely to be interested in the size of your bank account rather than the size of your muscles.
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    Feb 01, 2016 3:14 AM GMT
    At that age, you need to make sure twice as hard that you don't perform any exercises that overly stress muscles or joints, which includes perfect form. Your recovery times if an accident happens are much longer than for a 20-year-old!

    I would definitely use a calorie counter like MyFitnessPal to check consumption. Since your caloric demands go down, you need to make sure you don't keep eating like you used to.

    Also, you should check any supplements you take to see if they overly tax the kidneys. The cheaper ones tend to be unbalanced, adding way too much of the cheaper minerals and vitamins, which your kidneys have to get rid of.

    When I used to train, I had several clients your age and older, and they did just fine - some even marvelously. You have to work harder to get the same results, and you may end up being dissatisfied with the look of your age peers. But you would certainly be able to walk around proud of yourself and the way you look.

    Not everybody is freaked out by wrinkles and sagging skin. I don't know a lot of people that find them a turn-on, but I do know a lot that don't mind and don't care.
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    Feb 01, 2016 3:20 AM GMT
    fitolderguy said
    I guess I ought to know the answers -but would really value some advice. Yes, I am 74 and know all about the physiological and anatomical changes which are happening. So I know I have to have realistic expectations. But I struggle now to keep reasonably well defined and beginning to feel anxious about taking my top off in public.

    I do 2 high intensity cadio interval sessions a week for 50' and 2 or 3 resistance sessions.

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.

    What's your goal? I can't tell by your pic, but you look reasonably lean/healthy.

    At your age, you should also consider hormone replacement therapy.
  • badbug

    Posts: 800

    Feb 01, 2016 4:50 AM GMT

    For sure get on some TRT or HGH if you can afford it. Don't let anyone talk you out of it either unless there is a real and immediate medical concern.

    You're 74 and it sounds like you are thoughtful about your health but you might want to consider what your goals and expectations of your final years are. As i am sure you know 74 isn't far away enough from 84 and time flies for all of us.

    I would urge you to take whatever action or actions you feel are needed to live the life you want to live or as close to it as possible. 74 years is a good run and if you want to take a little more risk trying to make the next 5-20 as rewarding as possible i don't see what is wrong with that, assuming you aren't financially responsible for minors.


  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Feb 01, 2016 4:57 AM GMT
    Joel Friel's book, Fast After 50, is a book geared toward endurance athletes (runners, cyclists and triathletes). He documents a lot of research for athletes in their 50's, 60's and 70's. He is a life-long coach and athlete and he also gives some of his own personal experience which includes making shifts in his diet as he reached his 60's and 70's to stay leaner (which was a lot easier in his 50's and younger) as I'm sure you've experienced. Definitely worth the read.

    Best to you for continuing to focus on your health and fitness goals.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Feb 01, 2016 5:27 AM GMT
    A lot of it is genetics and depends a lot on how much you kept up your body through the years. When you get older, growing new muscle is not that easy, if not impossible. But exercise is definitely good for health maintenance, but don't expect to every get that lusty body of your youth. That is gone for good.
  • tomofutah

    Posts: 2

    Feb 01, 2016 9:51 AM GMT
    Enjoy life! Stay physically active, and just as important, stay socially active. Get involved. You have years of experience and knowledge to share with others...do it!

    Physically, I try to push myself without sustaining too many injuries, just takes up too much time to heal. You look great man, so I think you probably have a good idea what works for you. Continued success my friend!
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    Feb 01, 2016 10:13 AM GMT
    It took me 40 years to figure out that fitness is more chemical than physical excercise. You are not going to maintain or build muscle when you fuel your body with alien chemicals that the body was not designed to utilize (which is the modern man made food diet) . Cardio as a way to burn fat is about the worst thing you can do. Burn bad fat and build muscle with the Paleo diet.
  • charlitos666

    Posts: 290

    Feb 01, 2016 2:27 PM GMT
    I've been doing ok, I'm turning 30 this year
  • monstapex

    Posts: 478

    Feb 01, 2016 10:19 PM GMT
    I just met this guy at a new gym I joined ,and he says he's 72 ,but you sure cant tell it from his face or body . He kinda reminds me of Wild Wild West Robert Conrad .
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    Feb 01, 2016 10:22 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidIt took me 40 years to figure out that fitness is more chemical than physical excercise. You are not going to maintain or build muscle when you fuel your body with alien chemicals that the body was not designed to utilize (which is the modern man made food diet) . Cardio as a way to burn fat is about the worst thing you can do. Burn bad fat and build muscle with the Paleo diet.



    paleo diet is for pussies
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Feb 02, 2016 4:28 PM GMT
    I am 67 and have been working out my whole life. I now spend time doing cardio, bike and elliptical at least 40 minutes. Remember it takes 6 minutes to get your heart rate up to where it is helping your health, then you need at least another 20 minutes to have any affecting results.

    Then what I added 12 years ago is stretching. You need to take the time to use the black roller tube, rubber ball, and just take the time to stretch you body.

    Then I spend lots of time with crunches. Keeping your core tight helps your legs and back. I do work my legs, but again not trying to do lots of weight, but just medium weight and many reps.

    I do arms and chest. Again not lots of weight but just enough to keep tight.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Feb 02, 2016 4:56 PM GMT
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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 02, 2016 5:29 PM GMT
    theantijock%20engage%20stalker%20reducti

    fitolderguy said...beginning to feel anxious about taking my top off in public...


    Great info here on the physical aspect. Not one mention of the psychological so I'm going there in my inimitable fashion:

    You're how old and you still give a flying fuck what anyone thinks?

    Dewd, get over it.

    I've a few suggestions to help you ease out of your vanity issues, you know, before death, which we all acknowledge as the great solver of all the problems of life on Earth.

    a) is your task. You gotta figure out how to be comfortable with yourself regardless of your physical state. I suggest a sense of humor. Like when I wake up in the morning, open my eyes and fail to recognize my own arthritic hands, I think to myself: oh crap, there must be an old man snuck into bed with me. Oh that's right, that is my hand. Aren't those twists and turns cute.

    now here's a few gimme's

    b) hang out on a beach with fat European tourists in the string bikinis they'd never wear at home. If they can do it, you can do it.

    c) go boating. You know how a restaurant is shoes and shirts no service; well, boats are the opposite. No shoes, no shirts. Period. No one gives a fuck that your bod isn't magazine perfect. Boaters have the laid back attitude you need to adopt, well, in everything but a sinking ship and fat ain't that. Get over it.

    ted-kennedy-sailor-240x300.jpg
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Feb 02, 2016 9:16 PM GMT
    fitolderguy said
    I guess I ought to know the answers -but would really value some advice. Yes, I am 74 and know all about the physiological and anatomical changes which are happening. So I know I have to have realistic expectations. But I struggle now to keep reasonably well defined and beginning to feel anxious about taking my top off in public.

    I do 2 high intensity cadio interval sessions a week for 50' and 2 or 3 resistance sessions.

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.


    You didn't mention diet; that is also important. If I am any indication, it is possible to remain reasonably fit and look it as one grows older; see my pics. Of course there are some things over which we have no control.

    Recently I did some google searches to find out how aging affects lung capacity. I did it because my lung capacity has decreased. Apparently that is an inevitable consequence of aging, but high intensity aerobic exercise will reduce to some degree the consequences of a reduction in lung capacity. There are change in lung tissue which result in a decrease in lung capacity. Also, loss in height will reduce the size of the chest cavity thereby reducing lung volume. Skeleton stiffness can reduce usable lung volume.

    When I was in my early 50s I could still run 10 miles in less than 70 minutes. Now, at age 77 (soon to be 7icon_cool.gif, I'd look silly if I tried to run. At one time I could do 22 chin-ups; now only 9 or 10. I used to be able to do 10 repetitions at 210 pounds with the lat pull-down; now only 140 pounds, and so it goes, but I'm doing the best I can.

    If you stop doing resistance exercises, your strength will decrease much more rapidly than if you were young, but you can largely recover that. However, a significant loss of strength due to aging is inevitable, but you will be much better off if you continue to exercise.

    I'm a bit uncomfortable taking my top off in public too, but only because of the benign lipomas on my back. Because they are benign my insurance will not pay to remove them.

    We have considerable, but not complete, control over how we age. We might as well use the control we do have. There are some things we just have to accept even if we don't like it.
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    Feb 02, 2016 11:00 PM GMT
    FRE0 saidAlso, loss in height will reduce the size of the chest cavity thereby reducing lung volume. Skeleton stiffness can reduce usable lung volume.

    I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that loss of height as we get older could be reduced or even eliminated by regular walking and/or running. That our bones need that regular impact of our feet hitting the ground.

    I haven't seen him in the last year or so but there used to be a guy who ran in my neighborhood, before I started running, and he was well into his 70s if not his 80s. I could easily walk faster than he ran, which was almost a shuffle. I hope to be like him, running, shuffling, or whatever, up to the very end.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Feb 03, 2016 2:00 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    FRE0 saidAlso, loss in height will reduce the size of the chest cavity thereby reducing lung volume. Skeleton stiffness can reduce usable lung volume.

    I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that loss of height as we get older could be reduced or even eliminated by regular walking and/or running. That our bones need that regular impact of our feet hitting the ground.

    I haven't seen him in the last year or so but there used to be a guy who ran in my neighborhood, before I started running, and he was well into his 70s if not his 80s. I could easily walk faster than he ran, which was almost a shuffle. I hope to be like him, running, shuffling, or whatever, up to the very end.


    It may be that the loss of body height can be reduced, but I doubt that it can be eliminated. In my case, my spine looks horrible in an x-ray; the pads seem to be missing. However, as long as I do stretching exercises, there is rarely any pain.

    As to running, considering that I can barely jump it's not surprising that I really can't run. Even so, I still walk considerably faster than most people and can still hike long distances. Hills do slow me down though because then my respirator limitations become apparent.

    A couple years ago, after going to San Diego by motorcycle (about 850 miles one way), I went to Blacks Beach, a well-known nude beach. To get there it is necessary to climb down very rough stairs on a cliff that is about 350 feet high. Climbing up was a bit slow but no real problem. Here is a video of the stairs and trail:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7reCm1pcNso

    In the gym, I do crunches on an inclined plane while holding a 35 pound weight against my chest. That's better than most guys of any age can do.

    It is very annoying to be treated as feeble, helpless, and incompetent. In a doctor's office, I was supine on an examining table when the doctor offered to help me up. I sat up quickly before he was able to help. When I had a blood test at a laboratory, the personnel seemed amazed that I had ridden my bicycle a whole 2 miles to get there. Of course I can quite easily ride more than 30 miles. Some people seem amazed that I can still ride long distances on a motorcycle. Only a few years ago I took a trip from here in Albuquerque to Savannah, Georgia, a round-trip distance of 5,500 miles.

    Years ago, when my mother applied for Social Security, the clerk asked her, "Do you think you know where you were born? Do you think you know where you went to school?" Mother understandably became very angry and said, "What is this 'Do you think stuff?' Do you think that I'm completely incompetent?'" That sort of thing is entirely too common.
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    Feb 03, 2016 12:43 PM GMT
    Thanks so much guys for all this advice - really appreciate it.
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    Oct 12, 2016 12:07 PM GMT
    Swimming is one of the best exercises. It's easy on the joints and gives you good cardio.
  • carew28

    Posts: 662

    Oct 12, 2016 8:01 PM GMT
    It's true that swimming is a good way to exercise when you're over 60. If you've got some of the infirmities that naturally accumulate with age ( ruptured discs, tendonitis, varicose-veins, sciatica, etc.), swimming won't aggravate them, or put as much wear-&-tear on your body, as running or working-out will. Sooner or later, we all need to face the fact that we age, and we need to change how we exercise. What works for young or middle-aged guys might not be appropriate any longer for guys over 60. Swimming is a good way to get some exercise without stressing our old bones & ligaments too much.

    You do have to take your shirt off for swimming, though. Don't worry about that, no one at the pool is going to mind, or probably even notice. It's not as though you're out on a dance-floor.
  • carew28

    Posts: 662

    Oct 12, 2016 8:04 PM GMT
    UMayNeverKnow saidAnd well you should feel anxious about taking your top off in public. After age 60, there should be no reason to take your shirt off in public. You're 14 years too late in feeling angst.



    Enjoy yourself while you can, son. Tempus fugit.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2016 11:22 PM GMT
    UMayNeverKnow said
    carew28 said...
    You do have to take your shirt off for swimming, though. Don't worry about that, no one at the pool is going to mind, or probably even notice. It's not as though you're out on a dance-floor.
    Please, no one wants to see loose, "crepey," mole-covered skin. Have consideration for those around you and keep a t-shirt on in the pool.

    I'm 63 and when I do my every other day run I do so without a shirt, especially in the summer. Small children burst into tears when I go by.