Before Monday’s workout, I’d been away from the gym for a couple of weeks (vacation + procrastination), and I’m feeling the effects today: sore shoulders and arms from lifting, mostly. So, of course, I’m wondering whether there’s a less painful way for geezers like myself to come back to their workout regimen after a period of relative inactivity.
(That’s not to say I did nothing during those two weeks. During the first week, I played three rounds of mini-golf with my son, trekked three times to the lodge — a 2-mile round trip — to fetch donuts (yum!) and a newspaper, and spent an hour or so one afternoon paddling around on a flotation device of dubious reliability. Back home, I bicycled to the food co-op — about a 16-mile round trip — a couple of times, played two sets of tennis, and briefly considered cutting the grass.)
But nothing gets you lathered up quite like an hour or so of cardio and lifting (oh yeah, and stretching) at the gym. Trouble is, after a bit of a layoff it can be a little tough on your body. If I’m not feeling sore (like I am today), I tend to dive right back in, even after a long layoff, and crank out my usual 75-minute cardio/lifting routine. And that might not be the best approach, actually. The folks at Harvard Medical School suggest that you cut your workout time in half for a few days as you readjust. Of course, they also added this intriguing bit of trivia:
“The value of maintaining an exercise program
became evident when the results of the Harvard
Alumni Health Study were published in the New
England Journal of Medicine. The men who
had been moderately active but later became sedentary
had a 15% higher risk of death than their counterparts
who had never been active.”
Which makes me want to double my workout time. After all, what’s a little muscle soreness in the broader scheme of things?