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    randomcow's Avatar
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    Fitness for Dad

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    (apologies for starting a new thread despite there being no shortage of "help get my dad in shape" threads already)

    So my father mentioned he would like to start "getting fitter." He's almost 70, plays tennis once a week and is standing up in his job for several hours every day. He goes for a 30 minute walk maybe once a month. He could afford to lose about 15kg. I don't know full details of his meds but I assume he is taking the usual cocktail of heart/cholesterol/blood pressure/etc meds that all people his age are taking.

    We have decided to hide the fact that he is looking to get in shape from my mother so don't have much scope as far as food is concerned, but the food she makes for him is "healthy CW." She has always prepared food, and if she had a mantra I'd call it "GI awareness." There is a small amount of pasta and bread in their diet that I just can't eliminate without a lot more time.

    I'm also not looking to kill him with workouts. For comparison, my own workouts involve:
    - Lots of walking (30-60 min/day)
    - sprints once every two weeks
    - a gym "round the world" once every two weeks, with about four neg exercises followed by low reps/heavy weights for another 30 minutes.

    My plan is to get him to "sprints and gym (mainly negs) once on alternating weeks" ie the same as me, minus the walking (will incorporate this later).

    Has anyone had any success with a similar approach?

    The main things I'm worried about are my father's atrophied muscles (and the resulting muscle pain), and the condition of his heart. The fact that he is playing tennis means that he is getting his heart rate up a little, and so I was thinking to start with maybe 30m sprints on the beach, but would appreciate advice in this regard.

    Any suggestions on the gym side of things?

    Thanks in advance!

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    RichMahogany's Avatar
    RichMahogany is online now Senior Member
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    randomcow's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. What part exactly of that article relates to my post?

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    ssn679doc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomcow View Post
    Thanks for the reply. What part exactly of that article relates to my post?
    Probably something about strength training can be started at any age, and will make your father "fitter". but that is just a guess.....

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    Rig D's Avatar
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    I'm close to your Dad's age, so maybe my insight might be worthwhile. I've been Primal for about 3 yrs and the diet change was big in my feeling much better, and with a modest exercise program, led to my dropping about 60 lbs.

    I'm not a fan of what your Dad is doing now, the once a week tennis session might be more of a problem than a help. Depending on how competitive he is, if he goes "all out" once a week he may be putting his ticker in danger, and his heart condition is one of your stated areas of concern.

    I would suggest you reverse your approach. I would focus on getting him to target the "move frequently" idea to start building his basic endurance. First get him to simply get out the door and walk, every day. Let him start slow and short, whatever his body will readily tolerate, and build up his time/distance/speed as his body adjusts to more activity. This will help on any number of fronts and is easy to do, doesn't require special equipment etc. If you can get your Mom to go also, they may find it a pleasant together time.

    I doubt that a gym workout is needed. I'd recommend he do basic body weight exercises -- pushups/squats etc. If you really feel that a gym workout is needed. If your Dad is like most of us elder types, he can get a darn good workout and build a lot of strength and endurance doing body weight exercises. You can search here on MDA -- There are a number of Mark's posts/videos showing how to do things like pushups in a phased manner where he can work up to doing the "real thing"
    The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomcow View Post
    Thanks for the reply. What part exactly of that article relates to my post?
    The part that strength training is the s*it hot ticket for lifters regardless of advanced age? My dad started lifting barbells last year, after lots of subtle suggestions from yours truly. He's lost weight and improved his ability to do hard yard work. He's happy with how much better he performs every task life throws at him, and his girlfriend is happy with how much better he looks. He's 65. He doesn't do "the program" but he squats (not quite bodyweight, but getting there) and presses for sets of 5, does some bench-like work and some rows on machines. It's good enough considering where he would have been otherwise. The benefits are legion. Moreso than any other fitness regimen would hope to be, in my opinion. If 92 year-old Virginia Rizan can use barbells to get strong enough to stop falling and put away her walker, your dad certainly can manage to.
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