Seasoned Citizens

Actually, staying in shape is far more crucial as we crack the half-century mark. So while too few senior citizens frequent the gym, they really should do so.

Why? Because most inactive seniors have lost significant amounts of muscle mass. This muscle loss or atrophy isn't due to age but rather to sloth. The bottom line is that the muscles of older adults will respond to weight lifting the same way that younger people's do. In fact, if you compete in marathons, triathlons, and other assorted acts of masochism as we do, you'd see that there are 50-, 60-, and 70-year-old competitors with physiques that look 10 to 20 years younger—and they're kicking butt.

Around mile 22 of the 1986 Honolulu Marathon, Joe fell into a conversation with a wizened runner who sidled up next to him. Just before the gent ran off ahead, Joe learned the chipper runner was 72. On the back of his T-shirt, he'd inscribed: "Smile, you've just been passed by an Old Coot!" Now there's a guy "acting his age."

In Chapter 29, "With Age Comes Wisdom," we'll outline the specifics of a safe, effective program for old coots eager to outrun "kids" half their age.

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