More Reps and Less Weight: A Better Approach for Older Adults

More Reps and Less Weight: A Better Approach for Older Adults?

The first thing to note is that there are two types of people in the world: those who want to lose weight and those who don’t care if they do or not. I’m sure most of us have met someone like this at one time or another. However, it’s possible to train yourself so that you won’t gain any weight no matter what your current level of activity is.

For example, let’s say you’re a sedentary person with a body mass index (BMI) of 25. Your BMI would put you in the overweight category.

If you were to start exercising regularly and lifting weights, your BMI could drop down into the normal range. You might even reach a healthy weight.

On the other hand, if you had a higher BMI than 30, then you’d probably need to get rid of some excess fat before you could begin lifting weights successfully. For example, if your BMI was 35, then you would need to shed 10 pounds of fat per month just to maintain your current level of activity without gaining any extra weight.

In other words, you could lose those 10 pounds of fat by exercising regularly and lifting weights, but you wouldn’t gain any new muscle mass.

At this point you might be wondering how long it would take to train yourself to the point where you wouldn’t gain any weight even if your current level of activity remained the same. Well, it would take a long time because you’d have to keep your body weight at a certain level for quite some time before your body would adapt.

If your goal is to simply maintain your current activity level and not gain any weight, you might be able to achieve that within a fairly short period of time. Here’s how it would work.

First of all, you would have to measure your body fat to see exactly where you stand right now. Then you would have to determine the exact amount of calories you needed each day just to maintain your current weight.

Let’s say that it requires 2700 calories to maintain your weight. If you started eating less than 2700 calories per day, then you would lose excess fat within a few weeks.

However, 2700 is the bare minimum that your body would need to maintain your weight. You really should try to eat a little more than that each day so that you can give your body what it needs to perform all of its necessary functions, otherwise you could be harming your health in the long run. You might try to eat around 3000 calories per day to make sure that your body can perform all of its necessary functions while still losing weight.

In any case, you would weigh yourself every morning when you wake up dry after going to the bathroom. That will give you an exact idea of how much excess fat you’re losing each day.

For the first month, you might need to lose 10 pounds or more. Each month after that, however, the amount will decrease until you reach your goal.

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The following is an example of how you might go about doing this. Let’s say your body fat reading was 30% for a total of 9000 grams of fat.

First:

1% of 9000 grams = 90 grams

Then:

90 x 0.4 = 36

Therefore:

You could consume up to 3600 calories per day and maintain your weight.

Second:

You currently eat around 2000 calories per day. This is probably less than your body needs to maintain its current weight.

To lose one pound (0.45 kg) of fat per week, you’ll need to decrease your caloric intake by 250 calories per day.

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To lose 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of fat per week, you’ll need to decrease your caloric intake by 500 calories per day.

Therefore:

To lose 1 pound (0.45 kg) of fat per week:

Decrease your current caloric intake by 250 calories per day. To lose 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of fat per week:

Decrease your current caloric intake by 500 calories per day.

Third:

The above calculations are based on you eating 2000 calories per day. If you eat more than that, you’ll need to increase your caloric deficit in order to lose weight at a faster rate.

If you eat less than that, you’ll need to increase your caloric intake in order to gain weight at a faster rate.

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And there you have it. Follow the above guidelines and you should be able to reach your desired body composition goals in a reasonable amount of time.

You Are Your Own Gym: Body Weight Exercises

As stated above, you do not need fancy equipment in order to get fit. While it’s certainly nice to have, you really only need one thing in order to effectively work out your entire body and that’s your body itself.

There are numerous exercises and variations that can be done with just your body weight. Even better, you don’t need to go to a gym in order to do them.

You can work out right in your own room if you want.

In addition to doing proper exercise technique, it is also very important that you are mindful of your breathing pattern during these exercises. Many people do not take this into consideration but your breathing pattern can have a huge impact on how your body reacts with the demands that you place on it during exercise.

Specifically, proper deep breathing encourages relaxation and helps to alleviate pain and prevent injury. You should never hold your breath or take shallow ‘puffs’ of air during exercise.

Instead, you want to breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will oxygenate your blood and keep you feeling energized.

For each exercise that follows, I have included a description of proper breathing technique. It is important that you follow this description to get the most out of these exercises and prevent injury.

Push-ups

The first exercise is the push-up. Everyone knows how to do a push-up but if you’re not careful you can easily end up hurting your shoulders.

The way you position your hands, especially how far apart they are, will affect the stress that gets placed on your shoulders.

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If your hands are too close together then you’ll place a lot of stress on your anterior deltoids (front of the shoulders) and not much stress on the rest of your arm. The stress that you do place on the rest of your arm will be excessive compression since your elbows won’t be able to stay in a perfect 90 degree angle.

On the other hand, if your hands are too far apart then you’ll place more stress on your triceps and not as much stress on the rest of your arm. Although your shoulders will be more protected from compression stress, the excessive stretching of your shoulder muscles and tendons will be problematic in the long run.

Also, when doing a push-up you need to keep your body in a straight line from your head to your feet. If you’re not careful you can end up bending sideways causing spinal twist which can be really bad for your back.

So, in summary, here’s how you should perform this exercise:

Get in a proper push-up stance with your arms completely straight and your hands shoulder width apart.

Bend at the elbows and lower your entire body until it is at a 90 degree angle with your body.

Push yourself back up to the starting position. You should feel your chest muscles working the hardest.

Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose for the downward motion and breathe out through your mouth for the upward motion.

Repeat this process until you reach your personal goal.

I know that was a lot to take in but once you get used to it, it’s pretty simple really.

Sit-ups

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To perform a proper sit-up you need to do more than just bend your waist to a point where your back arches. This can be really bad for your spine and waist.

Do this enough times and you won’t be able to feel your abs ever again!

When doing sit-ups you should roll your entire body forward keeping your back as straight as you can. You should also tuck your elbows into your sides as much as possible.

This will take stress off of the back muscles, especially the low back.

It is important that you do not bounce up and down while performing this exercise. The motion should be a slow and steady roll forward.

The more you practice, the faster you’ll be able to roll but while you’re new at this you should definitely take it slow.

As for breathing, you should breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t hold your breath though; keep breathing consistently even if it is shallow breathes.

Once again, I know that was a lot to take in but as I said, once you get accustomed to it it’s quite simple.

The next exercise is the crunch and before I start I have to say that you should not perform this exercise if you have a bad back! The wrong way to do this is to bend your waist and pitch your upper body forward while tucking your knees under your elbows.

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While this may be a great way to build rock hard abs, it puts an immense amount of stress on your lower back so if you have a bad back then skip this one.

The right way to do this is to lie flat on your back and pull you knees into your chest while keeping your feet firmly on the ground. You should contract your abdominal muscles and gently touch your ankles with your hands without bending your elbows.

Hold this for a second and slowly return to the starting position.

Sources & references used in this article:

Designing for older adults: Principles and creative human factors approaches by SJ Czaja, WR Boot, N Charness, WA Rogers – 2019 – books.google.com

Interventions to promote physical activity by older adults by AC King – The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological …, 2001 – academic.oup.com

Therapeutic and physical fitness exercise prescription for older adults with joint disease: an evidence-based approach by M O’Grady, J Fletcher, S Ortiz – Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North …, 2000 – Elsevier

Physical activity outcomes of CHAMPS II: a physical activity promotion program for older adults by AL Stewart, CJ Verboncoeur… – The Journals of …, 2001 – academic.oup.com

Promoting physical activity for older adults: the challenges for changing behavior by LR Brawley, WJ Rejeski, AC King – American journal of preventive medicine, 2003 – Elsevier

Physical activity in older people: a systematic review by F Sun, IJ Norman, AE While – BMC public health, 2013 – Springer

Health, functioning, and disability in older adults—present status and future implications by S Chatterji, J Byles, D Cutler, T Seeman, E Verdes – The lancet, 2015 – Elsevier

Diabetes in older adults: consensus report by MS Kirkman, VJ Briscoe, N Clark, H Florez… – Journal of the …, 2012 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Multimorbidity in older adults by ME Salive – Epidemiologic reviews, 2013 – academic.oup.com