I don’t use the word liberal very often to describe myself, but when it comes to exercise the term fits. My general philosophy coincides with Nike’s Just Do It slogan (I detest the company now but that is a still a great phrase). As long as you get off your couch and do something – anything! – you’ll be much better off. I’ve seen people shed lots of weight without even trying just by doing some light ballroom dancing.
That said, I’m a big fan of resistance training. It is just so natural. What is more likely to happen in everyday life, needing to run 30 min. straight or needing to open a jar, pick something up, or just move around?
In a seminal study on the functional transfer of training, nine frail, elderly nursing-home patients were recruited to perform 3 sets of leg extensions—considered one of the least functional exercises—with a load corresponding to 80 percent of their one-rep max. The subjects trained three times per week for eight weeks. During that time, their muscle strength increased an average of 174 percent, and their walking speed increased by 48 percent. Most impressively, two of the subjects were able to walk unassisted, without the use of their canes!
It doesn’t take much. I’ve heard countless stories from people who went from doing nothing to doing something and saw huge benefits.
My preferred routine is lifting weights and doing ballroom dancing a few times a week. It has been a great combination: Plenty of strength training plus balance, flexibility and some cardio. Mrs. Eternity Matters does Pilates and ballroom dancing and it is a great mix for her.
God made our bodies such that they work best if used often in a variety of directions. My grandparents worked on farms, so they didn’t need to do separate exercises. But most of us have sedentary jobs and it is far too easy to just come home and be entertained while we sit around.
My 89 yr. old dad was doing water aerobics up to a month before he died, and my 84 yr. old mom is still doing that. It makes a huge difference on her ability to stay active. If they can do something, nearly all of you – short of serious disabilities – can do something too. You don’t have to be a triathlete to get the benefits (in fact, extreme exercise can be bad for you). But you’ll get great benefits by doing anything.