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How to Find Time for Fitness, Pt. 2

Posted September 21, 2010 by

In part 2 of this series I cover how a healthy lifestyle canĀ save you hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line, as well as greatly improve the quality of life you’ll experience as a senior. You’ll also find some clever, easy-to-follow methods anyone can use to fit in a quality workout even on the busiest of schedules!

By having improved time management skills and working more efficiently at your job, it can be clear that dealing with things like weddings, family issues and even the mortgage (you’ll probably get a raise now that you’re breakin’ necks and cashin’ checks!) will be much less time-consuming and easier on your body and mind. But perhaps the most important benefit of a healthy lifestyle is that of preventing the problems that plague most senior citizens in this country; diabetes, back issues, osteoporosis/arthritis, etc. Not only are these conditions painful, debilitating and downright depressing to go through, but they can be VERY expensive as well. According to the US Department of Health, the average American senior citizen spends over $11,000 per YEAR on medical expenses. Do you really want to spend the majority of your retirement income on surgeries, pills and endless visits to the doctor’s office? Or would you rather spend your money traveling the world, enjoying your pain-free, healthy golden years?

Beyond the cost to you, it actually costs the government over 2 TRILLION dollars per year on medical care. This money comes from taxes that you have to pay. While there will always be folks breaking bones and having other unfortunate, unpreventable accidents that require medical care, the vast majority of costs associated with treatments of chronic illnesses would be eliminated if people began adopting healthy lifestyles. According to the same US Department of Health, seniors make up just 13% of our population, yet account for nearly 40% of the 2 trillion dollar healthcare budget. Keep in mind, these numbers are from 2002 and health care costs have increased drastically since then, so today’s values can only be that much higher.

If you simply cannot bring yourself to dedicate an hour a day to the gym, then find ways to fit in workouts wherever you are. A jump rope is one of the best fitness tools you can invest in for this purpose. In fact, I don’t care if you have a trainer, gym or bootcamp you attend, you should still own one! They practically take up no space, which means they are easy to pack for business travel, vacations and other events where you will be unable to attend a traditional gym. Additionally, jumping rope has been shown to be three times more effective than traditional cardio exercise for cardiovascular purposes! In other words, in just 10 minutes per day you can get the same benefit as 30 minutes of running on a treadmill… talk about a time saver! Lifeline makes one of the highest-quality jump ropes in the world and is what I use with my personal training and bootcamp clients, as well as for myself.

Bodyweight exercises (also known as calisthenics) are the perfect solution for quick resistance training needs. For added intensity, you can purchase a resistance band. Like a jump rope, the resistance band is small and takes up hardly any room, and can be taken anywhere with you. Lifeline happens to make the best resistance bands I’ve ever used as well! The best method for calisthenic training is to keep it simple. All you need are the basics: push-ups, bodyweight squats, sit-ups, planks, bench dips, lunges, pull-ups and even calf-raises can all be performed without any equipment, anywhere at any time (well, maybe not in the middle of the market but you get my point!).

Start by picking three exercises, say the bodyweight squat, the push-up and the planks. You’ll do three rounds of a mini-circuit, performing one exercise right after another and resting for 60 seconds before repeating. Perform as many repetitions as you can while maintaining a slow, controlled pace. Since you aren’t using a lot of weight, it’s important to make sure you keep the movement slow, which will work the muscles harder than if you just go quickly and uncontrollably. Try to match your repetition count from the first set for the second and third sets of the exercise.

Perform a workout like this three times per week, but pick different exercises for each day, so you are hitting different muscles and hitting them in different ways. Try to mix upper body exercises (like push-ups, sit-ups, bench dips, etc) with lower body exercises (like bodyweight squats, lunges, calf raises, etc) so that you don’t neglect any part of your body. The best part is, if you run through each exercise with minimal rest between sets, you can finish the entire workout in about 10 minutes! In other words, you could perform an entire resistance training routine AND cardio routine in just 20 minutes… I think that’s something that even the busiest person can manage!

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