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12/30/2015 12:05 pm  #1


Jump-start on summer ...

The reason for me starting this "Fitness" topic is a selfish one. I'm 67 years old and each summer I've been finding the portages to be more and more challenging. Obviously part of that is due to my age creeping up. But last summer I really embarrassed myself arriving at our Cork Lake campsite and having my legs cramping-up big time just after coming ashore. It was specially scary because I had sensed my leg muscles twitching as I paddled down the lake. Splashing cold water on them put-off the cramps while I was paddling. However, the image of the cramp-up occurring while mid-lake in my solo canoe still makes me shudder. Luckily my son was able to toss me some muscle-relaxing cream and the cramps soon eased away.

This September I started at the local gym, just 45 minutes of machine-time every third day .. cross-trainer, elliptical and summit-trainer. I'm 6'2" and got my weight down from 220 to 200 pounds. The four month period was interrupted for one month by recuperation after a small op and then catching the flu. But I'm now almost back to my pre-op exercise levels.

Basically what I've achieved so far is some weight reduction, some aerobic improvement and some increase in leg stamina. My hope for the next six months is to get my weight down to 185 to 190 pounds and to strengthen my paddling, lifting and hefting muscles for the upcoming season.

Since I have access to all kinds of exercise options at the gym, I'm wondering which equipment and routines might serve my targets best. Can anyone please share their exercise and strengthening experiences as they might benefit seniors like me facing the canoe tripping challenges that come with getting older?

Thanks in advance!

 

12/30/2015 12:55 pm  #2


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

great news ,, good for you,,
  first thang i did once i retired was buy a carbon bike,,(and carbon canoe) i was on the trails up until dec 24 of this year. also i go to the gym at trent u. in peterborough. there are two very cool training tanks for rowing and for paddling at trent. i use a wiffle  paddle (with holes in the blade) this helps to hone my inside and outside j stroke and the old stealth paddle strokes. great way to keep in paddling shape during the cold weather.
       i do not use any table salt on food, i do not eat anythang white, and nothang outta a can. i drink green matcha tea, and fresh raw turmeric.   gotta put fresh cracked pepper into the tea to help absorb the benefits of tea,, and do not bring it to a boil. boiling will eliminate the goodness of the green tea and tumeric.  google that one.
 i hope this helps,,, no booze of any kind for me!!
  

 

12/30/2015 3:33 pm  #3


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Barry, what great progress! I am in my 30s and find that I just have trouble finding time. I tend to get consumed by what I am doing and in the winter it is mostly working - work I love and value - but balance is what I struggle with - I am currently ill and I know it is from overdoing it in Nov and Dec! For me, balance is key. I've never done well with always/nevers (ie - never white sugar) but I make progress when I try to eat better, eat in moderation and exercise in moderation. It sounds like you are well on your way.

 

12/30/2015 5:05 pm  #4


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Great topic!
Barry, I'm only 45 but have some chronic pain from old hockey injuries so I literally feel your pain.  
I recently retired early and decided to undo the damage from overeating at business lunches and sitting in board rooms and at the computer all day.  I've always done some exercise and eaten well, just too much.  Anyways, I've done tons of research on nutrition and exercise over the years, and I've narrowed it down over the years to a few highly efficient regimes.  I shed 25 lbs once I decided I needed to and can now manage it efficiently.

I eat the same things as Swedish Pimple as well as everything else organic with a focus on vegetables. That alone can reverse almost all ailments.

My go-to exercises are yoga every morning and TRX every couple of days.  It's the stretching and mobility exercises that have the greatest impact on my health.  For strength training and cardio, the simple kettle bell swing is unbelievable and can almost replace everything else.  Of course, regular walks, hikes and paddles do the rest.

I hope this helps, along with others' advice.  If you're interested in specifics, I can send you more information on nutrition tracking software and exercise programs.

 

12/30/2015 5:20 pm  #5


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Barry

Two other thought specific to your description - first any chance of dehydration the day you got the cramps? That has happened on our trips before - might not be an age thing per sea? Second, I highly recommend seeing an athletic therapist for any issues eminating from injuries that come up when getting fit. My AT has changed my life.

 

12/30/2015 7:15 pm  #6


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

core exercises ,, do planks,,, look`em up, there are many types, i do planks watching t.v. 30 seconds hold for each, times 3 sets,,. body core strength is key. superman  and bird dog, 

Last edited by swedish pimple (12/30/2015 7:17 pm)

 

12/31/2015 7:35 am  #7


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

@ Christine .. yesterday I chatted with the AT at the gym. He suggested that a low level of electrolytes and the lack of a rest between the arduous portage from Opalescent to Cork Lakes and getting back into the canoe would certainly contribute to the leg cramping.

@ Swedish .. the op I referred to was a month and a half ago. It fixed a herniated incision that had developed from an earlier gall-bladder removal. My surgeon instructed me to slowly return to heavy lifting. Accordingly, I may be getting into 'planking' in moderation over the next month or so.

I also have to exercise caution regards my lower back. In 2009 I had a disk op which went well. I've been cautioned against extending my spine backward while lifting. This makes upright squat lifting all the more important for me. I've also been instructed to avoid twisting, which means my paddling form doesn't include lower back rotation. Likewise, my canoe lifting is accomplished by the 'old-man's-stern-squatlift-and-walk-under', rather than by the 'knees-jerk-rotate-lift'.

     Thread Starter
 

1/09/2016 8:33 pm  #8


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

No shame in the walk-under canoe lift; it's the only way to go, as far as I'm concerned. The knee-jerk rotate thing is a recipe for disaster. My sister ruined her back many years ago working for the MNR clearing portages and lifting heavy canoes.I'm the only one of my peers with a healthy back. Not about to ruin it now!

 

1/11/2016 3:57 pm  #9


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Might be a tad obvious but can never go wrong with good old walking. I have a fitbit and count calories. Both keep me active and eating healthy. But I find it isn't quite enough, so I also jog and do Insanity workouts (High intensity intervals - very good and fun). I struggle with shin splints though. 5'6" and ~185 lbs, target weight is 150 to 160. I'm down from 220 about two years ago, and still dropping. Time is tough though. Too much life happening. I'm 29.

 

1/11/2016 7:18 pm  #10


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Last week I had an "assessment" done by gym staff. It's included with gym membership and results in an identification of strengths-and-weaknesses, as well as recommendations of exercises to reduce weaknesses. I've been given some strength building routines which should strengthen my squat-lifting, my base-core and my shoulder-arm strengths .. without stressing my spine and with gradual involvement of my abdomen while my recent hernia op heals fully. Now I have to schedule my established aerobic and new strengthening routines through the week so as to maximize benefits.

     Thread Starter
 

1/11/2016 8:54 pm  #11


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

BarryB wrote:

Last week I had an "assessment" done by gym staff. It's included with gym membership and results in an identification of strengths-and-weaknesses, as well as recommendations of exercises to reduce weaknesses. I've been given some strength building routines which should strengthen my squat-lifting, my base-core and my shoulder-arm strengths .. without stressing my spine and with gradual involvement of my abdomen while my recent hernia op heals fully. Now I have to schedule my established aerobic and new strengthening routines through the week so as to maximize benefits.

 
That's great Barry.  So many people wait until it's almost too late

 

1/12/2016 4:28 pm  #12


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Doing intervals on the elliptical (20 mins tops) are a fantastic way to mimic portages. 

 

1/12/2016 4:42 pm  #13


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

try doing the elliptical for a few minutes backwards rotations . that is really difficult,,, but worth it.
 

 

2/28/2016 8:24 pm  #14


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Hi all - the key is doing what you like doing (exercise wise).  However, if you have the time and you're curious, yoga is the best exercise.  It builds strength, cardio and stretches muscles everywhere.  Best 1 hour x 3 a week I spend.  I know if you google yoga it may not seem like much, but believe me, it's a tough workout. Give it a shot.

 

3/11/2016 1:42 pm  #15


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

Hi Barry,
Of course electrolytes are important, but dehydration per se could result in cramps. As for electrolytes, I took advise from triathletes - who would know better? - and always put Tailwind powder in my trail water, it makes me feel much better (http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/08/nutrition/5-carb-and-electrolyte-rich-sports-drink-mixes_82114).
Sergey
 

 

4/10/2016 9:42 am  #16


Re: Jump-start on summer ...

For canoe lifting:
Technique, technique and more technique. 

I have found the best way to avoid injury, getting worn out and generally feeling like a bag of smashed gorp at the end of a long day of paddling and portaging is having good, sound fundamentals. 

I have seen big strong gym going guys struggle to get a canoe onto their shoulders. I have also seen petite women put a canoe on their shoulders with little effort. Why? Using the proper technique.

I find the best thing you can do is practice lifting a canoe until it feels effortless. then try on uneven ground, in the wind. When you get out on the trail you will not only have more energy at the end of the day but impress your trip mates by almost magically tossing the canoe onto your shoulders. 

Tens of thousands of canoe lifts has taught me just how important the proper technique is. 


Jeremy Bessey
Editor of the Word Around the Campfire
Stoking the Flames of Adventure
 
 

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