Published June 10, 2012
Being that I’m in recovery from reconstruction surgery on my left foot, I see how rapidly my entire left leg is losing muscle.
Ugh, I’m certainly ready to start exercising, but I have to wait. I’m pretty sure I can’t squat 405 pounds today wearing this sporty blue cast.
If you’re injured, or find yourself recovering from any manner of surgery, your body will be in atrophy at some point.
Don’t freak out friends. Be patient. Do exactly what the doctor tells you — eat well, rest, ice, heat or elevate. With time, the body heals and can be stronger than ever.
Now that we’ve covered some unavoidable scenarios causing atrophy, let’s talk about preventing it.
First thing is exercise.
By doing some type of resistance training, your body will continue to build lean muscle proportional to your intensity and frequency. Provided, of course, you supply yourself with good protein fuel and ample hydration. You knew that was coming right?
A quick sidebar; our weather has warmed up, quickly increasing the need to hydrate your body often. I keep an ice chest in my truck with water in it.
When resistance training, use dumbbells, free weights, kettle bells, bands or even your body weight. I don’t care if you do exercises at home as long as you know what you’re doing and put in frequent workouts with as much intensity as possible. Honestly, for 95 percent of everyone I’ve known, home exercising won’t get it done. But if you’re in the 5 percent who get benefits from home exercise, know that push-ups and pull-ups are great.
Many of my clients have installed a pull-up bar across a doorway. If your garage isn’t finished, you can use exposed boards. Give a beam a pull test and make sure it’s firmly anchored and able to hold your weight safely. Pull-ups remain a standard of strength testing for our military and police departments. Guess they’re important, right?
I like doing my push-ups with my feet elevated. This adds resistance to the chest, triceps and front shoulders. You’ll get stronger quicker with your feet elevated.
Do your cardio faithfully. This greatly enhances muscle building. Tighten the screws on your diet and become savvier about the daily processes your body goes through.
Aging is going to happen no matter what enhancements we apply to thwart it. With aging comes gravity pulling down on our skeletal frames and joints. Speaking for myself, keeping my training program fresh and intense has greatly helped keep gravity at bay.
Folks, unless you’re severely disabled, none of you have anything to lose from regular exercise.
Bill McGinnis is a nationally certified master fitness trainer. He can be reached by email at mastertrainer.tx(at)gmail.com.
Copyright 2011 The Galveston County Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.