1. What is the best way for men over 60 to exercise?
First, it depends on how active you are and how active you want to be. If you are just starting out, you may want to get a medical consult first. The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity “most” days of the week. With school, work and kids, I could only manage to exercise for about one hour three to four days a week for most of my adult life. However, in 2010 I cut my work hours back to only 20 hours a week of dentistry to make time for charity work and entrepreneurial endeavors. As a result, I am now able to exercise daily for 60 minutes and have been doing this for the last ten years. I can honestly say I am in better shape today than I was in my twenties because I have the time, knowledge and diet to maximise my results.
My personal mantra is: “You can rest when you’re dead.”
At 60 years old the main focus needs to be strength training to prevent bone and muscle loss. In addition, it is paramount to incorporate flexibility and cardiovascular activity into the mix. If you can shoot for two to three days at the gym and three to four days of cardiovascular workouts such as aerobics, swimming, walking, jogging, biking or rowing you will be set. For cardio and gym days I always start with five to ten minutes of stretching. This helps to avoid injury and strains.
I have noted that generally it is not convenient for most of us to work out with a trainer at every gym session, however, I am a big supporter of working with a trainer to make a comprehensive routine and then follow up with them every two to three months to revise the plan as your goals are reached. Make sure you incorporate the following major muscle groups: abdomen, arms, back, chest, legs and shoulders.
2. What exercise do you think we should avoid?
As we age our joints cannot tolerate the stress of excessive weight. Therefore, the healthiest way to exercise in order to avoid injury is to use lower weights with more repetitions. For each exercise I suggest doing two sets of eight to ten repetitions with a comfortable amount of weight. This will produce a leaner more “ripped” aesthetic result as well. Also, machines are preferred over free weights. The assisted movement of the machine compensates by stabilizing the weight and helps to prevent injury.
3. When is the best time to work out?
When you can! For years I went before work. Now, I go at the end of my work day. I find that my muscles are not as stiff later in the day and I get a better work out.
4. What foods should we eat more of as we get older?
In general, we should always try to eat more of the “superfoods” at every stage of life. These include: wild salmon, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, soy, flaxseed, oats, strawberries, cantaloupe, garlic, beans, green tea. Personally, I love to start each day with a fruit, protein, flaxseed and oats smoothie. I have been doing this for 30 years!
5. Which foods should we avoid?
I don’t eat junk food, highly processed food, fried or fatty foods. I also avoid all alcohol. It is a personal choice, not because I ever had a problem. Also, a recent study published in the Lancet rejects the notion that any drinking can be healthy.
6. Any other diet advice you can share?
Eat smart and remember that what you eat today will make you what you are tomorrow. Try to focus on three healthy meals a day and little-to-moderate snacking between meals.
7. What do you say to people who say they are too busy to exercise?
If you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to not only make exercise a priority, but part of your life. I was once asked how I got in such great shape. My reply was: “I did not get in great shape… I was an athlete as a kid and have always kept exercising my whole life.”
8. You are the author of Billion Dollar Smile. What advice would you give to older men to look more youthful?
- Don’t smoke, it ruins your skin, lungs and will probably kill you.
- Don’t drink in excess, it puts on excessive weight and causes a lot of other problems.
- Don’t spend too much time in the sun without sunscreen.
- Do keep a healthy diet, exercise, get medical and dental checks regularly and see a good dermatologist annually.
Also, a good cosmetic dermatologist may recommend Botox and possibly fillers. In extreme cases, a facelift or eyelid lift can also help. I haven’t needed those procedures yet, but am totally open to it at the right time.
9. You talk about the importance of genetics… what can we do if we have ‘bad’ genetics?
Be smart and speak to a doctor. Many times diseases such as diabetes can be controlled by diet and people with fair skin and freckles are more prone to skin cancer. Know your body and how to best protect it.
10. For people who want to be ‘more like Bill’, what one piece of advice would you offer?
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