Tip #13: Do you have to lift weights?

Obesity levels for the senior population in the U.S. are now over 40 percent. If you are a former high school/college/post-college athlete who has been on the couch for the past 20-30+ years, this series of twice-monthly (1st and 15th of the month) tips will show you how to resume an active lifestyle.

Fortunately, numerous studies have confirmed that it is never too late to resume an active lifestyle. I will show you how to reduce your fitness age, a more reliable indicator of longevity than your BMI, by 20+ years over the next 12-24 months. You will definitely be healthier, happier, and an inspiration for your family, friends, and colleagues. What’s better than that?

Do you have to lift weights?

Yes. Numerous studies show that strength training produces significant benefits for the cardio system, weight control, muscular endurance, and psychological well-being. There are several guidelines you should follow.

  • Light to moderate weights.
  • 3-5 sets with 6-8 repetitions with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.
  • Two sessions per week on non-cycling days.
  • A gap of at least two days between sessions.
  • Start each session with a 10-minute warmup, such as high-cadence cycling on your trainer. End the session with a 10-minute cooldown on your trainer.

What have I learned?

I’ve been using the following strength training routine for several years now. It addresses all areas of my body, not just my legs. It can be performed in your home or at a neighborhood fitness center. For example, I have a simple weight bench located in my bedroom for the one-leg lunge squats and high bench step-ups. In the past, I’ve used a kitchen step stool just as effectively.

For the Stage 1 – Lower Body exercises, I use no weights, just gravity.

For the Stage 2 – Lower Body exercises, I use two 3-pound hand weights. For the upper body exercises, I use just a bare 10-pound barbell.

For Stage 3, I increase the two hand weights to 5-pounds and add two 2.5-pound weights to the barbell. The key is to find the weight that will let you complete the required number of repetitions and sets without straining.

This exercise routine takes roughly 35 minutes to complete. In addition, I do 10 minutes of stretching before each bike workout and 15 minutes of yoga for my back and shoulders before bed every evening.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about living an active lifestyle or about your cycling goals, training, racing, or gear, I’d like to hear from you. I may address your questions in a future tip. Just drop me a note.

Tip #14 Preview: Can you still compete at age 40, 50, 60+?