LIVING HEALTHY – ANDY BAXTERAs I write this there are eight people working out in the gym.  Three of those eight people are 93 years old or will be in the next month.  That’s 37.5 % of the present exercising population over ninety; awesome.  Exercise need not be hard, nor arduous, nor reviled, nor a punishment.  Exercise should be palatable, invigorating, rejuvenating and enjoyable!

To ensure that you associate exercise with the latter four adjectives and not the former four adjectives, let’s revisit the RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion). It is an easy way to gauge your exercise intensity, help prevent over training and generally beating yourself up, both physically and emotionally.  The RPE scale applies specifically to aerobic activities, such as jogging, vigorous walking, cycling, rowing, etc. Mary just walked in.  She’s 93.  That’s 44.44 %  

Let’s start with a recumbent stationary bicycle.  First we identify the variables we have to work with, in this case rate (RPM), resistance and duration.  Unless you are an experienced cyclist, too high of a spin rate introduces momentum and loss of motor control, so keep your RPM’s between 45 and 55.  As for duration we will start simple and cycle for five minutes.  Now we have turned two of our three variables into constants, allowing us to focus on the one variable; resistance.  Using the RPE scale, your resistance level should be adjusted based on the following “equation” – Imagine, on a scale of one to ten, walking to the mailbox to retrieve your mail is a one and sprinting up a hill while holding your recumbent stationary bicycle over your head is a ten.  With that in mind you should adjust your resistance such that it feels like a three and no higher than a four.  … I just spotted Mary for a set of incline dumbbell presses.  93, folks, 93.

Back to the stationary bike, in your own RPE is based on a five minute exercise bout at a speed of 50 RPM.  If either or both of those variables were to change than it is likely your resistance would change based on your reassessed RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion).  That is the beauty of the system.  The numbers on the machine become irrelevant.  What is relevant is that you have taken control of your individual exercise program in a palatable, invigorating, rejuvenating and enjoyable fashion.  I know a few 93 year olds who would agree with me.

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