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Old 01-13-11, 11:05 PM   #1
Velo Dog
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Very very obvious tip for some of you, but just in case you're feeling old and stiff.

I was off the bike most of the summer due partly to medical issues and partly to laziness. I've been pretty consistent about exercising, but this six months or so of inactivity really knocked me out. Worst thing was the loss of mobility. Knees, ankles and hips all hurt, and I was stiff to the point that it was hard to get out of a chair or swing my leg over my bike. I seriously worried that I was headed for the couch for good.
Last month I got clearance to ride again. I've been doing what I can with the snow, but it hasn't been enough to make much difference. So a week ago--just a WEEK--I designed a basic flexibility and strengthening program just to see what would happen. It's simple stuff, a few resistance exercises and 20 minutes or so a day of stretching my hams, back and calves.
The difference is astonishing. I've always hated stretching and rarely done it, but this has really changed my outlook. I'm still coming down the stairs carefully in the morning, but after a few minutes I walk like a normal human, and I can get out of the La-Z-Boy without calling for help.
Moral of the story is...use it or lose it, I guess. But I'm 66, and it's working for me.
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Old 01-13-11, 11:18 PM   #2
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One of Newton's Laws of Physics has something to do with inertia, doesn't it? Something about a body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

... And to change from one state to the other requires a lot of effort.
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Old 01-14-11, 12:19 AM   #3
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Make sure you do not have other underlying health issues--being stiff if accompanied with muscle pains, lack of will, loss of interest in things that you liked in the past etc, could be a more serious problem so you may want to have a blood analysis to make sure hormones are at normal level! Hormone imbalance is relatively common at our age, and do not blame stiffness to aging particularly for someone active.
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Old 01-14-11, 10:38 AM   #4
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I'm thinking about trying Tai-Chi or Yoga as I get older. It just makes sense to me to keep moving in a regular stretching manner every day.

For now I'm not so ancient as you (only 58 ;-) but I still ride to the train station every morning (all winter long), I "stand" on all the hill rides (they're short), and I still purposely "bound" up the stairs at home (try, anyway).

I'm OK with getting old, but getting to the point where I can't ride anymore will hurt.
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Old 01-14-11, 11:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
I was off the bike most of the summer due partly to medical issues and partly to laziness. I've been pretty consistent about exercising, but this six months or so of inactivity really knocked me out. Worst thing was the loss of mobility. Knees, ankles and hips all hurt, and I was stiff to the point that it was hard to get out of a chair or swing my leg over my bike. I seriously worried that I was headed for the couch for good.
Last month I got clearance to ride again. I've been doing what I can with the snow, but it hasn't been enough to make much difference. So a week ago--just a WEEK--I designed a basic flexibility and strengthening program just to see what would happen. It's simple stuff, a few resistance exercises and 20 minutes or so a day of stretching my hams, back and calves.
The difference is astonishing. I've always hated stretching and rarely done it, but this has really changed my outlook. I'm still coming down the stairs carefully in the morning, but after a few minutes I walk like a normal human, and I can get out of the La-Z-Boy without calling for help.
Moral of the story is...use it or lose it, I guess. But I'm 66, and it's working for me.

I've just had a similar revelation but from a different angle. I was wondering if ageing was finally getting me as I could no longer be in denial.

A lot of snow/bad weather has greatly cut my time on the bike trails and a rotator cuff issue has made me cut back on my weight training. Also, about 6 months ago I noticed that I was chasing my foot around the bedroom trying to put a sock on it.

I too have been anti-stretching as there has been no scientific basis for it and I've been very injury free with strenuous activivities and fitness programs for about 44 years now. I'm 71.

I had similar symptoms plus my need for sleep went way down. Got a book on PT for rotator cup injuries and started doing the simple stretching/weight exercises (takes about 8 minutes/day) and that has eliminated most of the rotator cull issues in only a few weeks (the program takes about 6 weeks). I studied some ageing-physiology books and found that your tendons dehydrate with age and shrink. So added hamstring/glute and quad stretches. That took care of the sock issue.

I'm getting back up to cycling speed (in N Florida now) and building up on the weights. Now I'm as pain free as ever and getting my energy level back.

All these effects by the way are well documented in contemporary college level exercise physiology texts. I've study physiology as a hobby for the last several years. it immunizes me form the popular media version of health and fitness.

The bad news is that while one's VO2max and muscle mass decrease linearly with age from about 40 to 70, it appears that the loss-rate doubles at about 70. Things get more challenging.

Al

Last edited by alcanoe; 01-15-11 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-14-11, 12:46 PM   #6
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When I first saw the title to this thread, I thought what an oxymoron it was: Aging and stiffness. I don't know about you of course, but with most guys when we age, stiffness is something we long for and appreciate. That's why Viagra, Cialis, etc. are such big sellers!

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Old 01-14-11, 03:04 PM   #7
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"We do not quit playing because we grow old,
we grow old because we quit playing."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Keep moving or you'll get rigor mortis!
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Old 01-14-11, 03:18 PM   #8
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I've just never gotten into stretching, or noticed any clear benefit. Maybe I'm not doing it right. I exercise 6 days/week, with 2 of those weight training -- maybe that's enough. If I get stiff I'll look into it more.
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Old 01-14-11, 03:28 PM   #9
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I recommend Ashtanga yoga.
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Old 01-14-11, 04:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
Got a book PT for rotator cup injuries

Al
If you have a good book or reference for exercises I'd be interested in it. I have two torn rotator cuffs and I'm always just one accident away from being laid up for a long time. I do some weight work but would be curious to learn more if you have a particularly good source for exercises.
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Old 01-15-11, 06:17 AM   #11
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If you have a good book or reference for exercises I'd be interested in it. I have two torn rotator cuffs and I'm always just one accident away from being laid up for a long time. I do some weight work but would be curious to learn more if you have a particularly good source for exercises.
This is the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Own...5093646&sr=1-1


My daughter also uses it and has had very good success. Johnson is at Emory in Atlanta. My daughter says he's got a very good reputation there.

He's also got two back books and a knee book.


Al
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Old 01-15-11, 08:07 AM   #12
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Stretching is good at all ages. I have treated a rotator cuff problem with good success by stretching and excercises from a chiropractor. I don't do real yoga but the stretches are very good. I'm more limber at 72 than when a mere lad of 50. Each morning I do a series of exercises, first, to maintain a strong core to help with a bad back. An additional set of exercises is designed to strengthen the legs with emphasis on the knees. I get twinges of discomfort from the knees now and again but for the most part they are holding up well during cycling and skiing. Keep moving folks and I firmly believe, keep testing boundaries.
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Old 01-15-11, 08:31 AM   #13
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Stretching is good at all ages. I have treated a rotator cuff problem with good success by stretching and excercises from a chiropractor. I don't do real yoga but the stretches are very good. I'm more limber at 72 than when a mere lad of 50. Each morning I do a series of exercises, first, to maintain a strong core to help with a bad back.
I had lower back problems before I started exercising at age 26. It's been pretty much at bay all these years, but it's started to reappear periodically. I took advantage of a low-cost promotion at a gym and did some work outs with a roman chair. It appears to be the solution in my case. I've got a Roman chair on order. Some folks apparently use one daily for back issues.

I've also got Johnson's back books on order as the wife has periodic back issues as well.

Al
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Old 01-15-11, 08:45 AM   #14
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If you have a good book or reference for exercises I'd be interested in it. I have two torn rotator cuffs and I'm always just one accident away from being laid up for a long time. I do some weight work but would be curious to learn more if you have a particularly good source for exercises.
On the good source for exercises, I don't really have one. I've been studying exercises/physical fitness as a hobby since age 1963 when I cured my hypertension with jogging. I also experiment. The jogging/hypertension thing was pure experiment.

Recently I've gotten into the Johnson books due to the success with the rotator cuff issue and the recurrence of an old back issue. I buy/read a lot of books and do Google/Google Scholar searches as well.

Al
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Old 01-15-11, 10:10 AM   #15
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When I first saw the title to this thread, I thought what an oxymoron it was: Aging and stiffness. I don't know about you of course, but with most guys when we age, stiffness is something we long for and appreciate. That's why Viagra, Cialis, etc. are such big sellers!

My thoughts exactly.
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Old 01-15-11, 10:20 AM   #16
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Very timely post VDog. I'll definitely keep this in mind. I've always been active and flexibility has never been an issue due to the multiple activities I've enjoyed. However it is incredible how quickly the muscles deterioate with inactivity.

I had to laugh and cry about the lay-z-boy comment. Anyone that walks by my chair now knows to just extend a hand to help to get me on my feet. I've actually learned how to stand using my arms to get me to a standing position versus my legs/knees!!

I've been taking stairs one step at a time going up or down using the same leg to step with--I used to bound up stairs skipping a step with my longish legs........

I do hope your joint issues are improving. I'm finally starting to see a little relief......
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Old 01-15-11, 03:37 PM   #17
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...snip
I walk like a normal human, and I can get out of the La-Z-Boy without calling for help.
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I'm finally starting to see a little relief......
Yes!! Glad to hear any bit of good news : )
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Old 01-15-11, 08:29 PM   #18
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Make sure you do not have other underlying health issues--being stiff if accompanied with muscle pains, lack of will, loss of interest in things that you liked in the past etc, could be a more serious problem ....
Good advice, thanks. I've been pretty thoroughly checked, though--I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis almost four years ago. Only symptoms are ocular, but it took awhile to get the meds adjusted, and while I was waiting for that I went through a period where I wasn't much interested in anything. I've been an athlete all my life, and it looked for awhile like that was over.
I'm pretty much past the point where generalization (extreme muscle weakness, possible respiratory collapse) occurs, and my vision has stabilized, so I'm feeling pretty good. My main point with the OP was to let non-stretchers like me know it's never too late.
As for yoga, I'm looking for a class. A riding buddy of mine, apparently extremely fit, had a heart attack a couple of months ago at age 68 and started doing yoga mainly to have something to do until he could start riding again. He loves it. I've been interested in tai chi for years, but there's not much opportunity around here...
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Old 01-15-11, 10:40 PM   #19
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Thanks for sharing your inspirational story.

My 80-year-old Mom was released yesterday from a rehab hospital where she got PT for a bulging disk in her lower back. She had been in extreme pain (morphine and Dilaudid barely touched it) and in bed most of the time for 3 weeks. When she was able to start walking, the PT and OT were amazed at her overall strength. She can spring up from a chair like a young person, and there is no doubt that the exercising and stretching she has done for many years had kept her arms, legs, and joints in good health and enable her to be up and about much sooner than a typical person her age.
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Old 01-15-11, 11:07 PM   #20
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double post...
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Old 01-16-11, 08:31 AM   #21
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Yes, exercise and stretching is good. So, too is knowing what kind of exercise and stretching one should do. I'm amazed at the number of folks I see stretching in a manner where they experience injury or are at real risk for injury. I've always liked Bob and Jean Anderson's books stretching, in part, because the routines they present are activity specific. So, if you cycle, there is a section on stretches for cyclist. If you play tennis, the same thing... a section for that activity. I believe they are well past their 20th anniversary edition and may even be at the point of having a 30th anniversary edition.
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Old 01-16-11, 06:11 PM   #22
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If and when i hit 70 i am going to double my pie ration to counter the muscle mass loss that i may encounter. Then, if it works then i will add even more pie to build and increase muscle mass. I think this will work.
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