By Kim Campbell
For individuals 50 and older (even 40 and older), starting a new sport or exercise regime can be intimidating.
People get the idea they are “too old to do that” or “it’s too late for me.”
Many believe that a decline in flexibility, balance, muscle mass, strength, and heart and lung capacity is inevitable as they grow older.
These declines are not due to age but to sedentary lifestyles. Studies show that people who exercise regularly lose little muscle mass with age.
In fact, those who regularly exercise at 70 and 80 years of age have nearly as much muscle mass as their 40-year-old counterparts.
By contrast, sedentary people lose at least 39% of their muscle mass between ages 40 and 80, and up to 60% if they led a sedentary lifestyle before the age of 40.
It isn’t chronological age that leads to frailty, fatigue and weakness.
Rather, the culprit is a sedentary lifestyle.
Those 50 and older need to understand that the Fitness Finish Line does not exist!
Learning to box is a wonderful way for older people to step up to the starting line.
Take the example of Dick and Nancy Littrell, high school sweethearts, Lafayette class of ’52.
“The beauty of it is that you can get in there and work hard, but if you need to rest, you can,” said Dick, 79, about the One Hour Power workout at TITLE Boxing Club in Lexington.
“I am impressed with the workout in general from the way we prepare with stretching through the cool down.
“When I get to the last boxing round, I start hating people and asking why I’m doing this to myself, but afterward, I feel so much better and pleased with myself.
“I get a feeling of accomplishment, that maybe I can do this.”
Nancy, 78, agreed, saying, “When you punch something, you have a release which is wonderful for someone who is stressed.”
Noting the interesting footwork, she added, “Boxing works the full body. I was encouraged that I could do what the trainer asked me to do and felt good afterwards.
“It is an encouraging workout because I know that I will be able to do it step by step.”
Added Dick while laughing with Nancy: “We found ourselves hitting the bag really hard!”