Self portrait #12
When I visited my portrait subject, a 93 year old physician, today at his house I noticed that he had an exercise mat and several 10 and 20 pound hand weights in his day room. We talked about exercise a bit and he told me just how important maintaining muscle mass is when aging. I mentioned the push-ups and he countered with the weights. I asked "why?" and he told me he never liked doing push-ups and found weights to be a good alternative. He's a good role model. I noticed he wasn't even out of breath when we climbed up the stairs to the third floor to look at cameras (tangential connection to the blog).
Thinking about it I decided to share my push-up progress with the brain trust here at VSL; having written about it recently. I am now, after weeks of building up to it, able to execute 50 proper push-ups in one set without falling apart or breaking into a sweat. I am now pushing for my ultimate goal of doing 100 in a continuous set but I am breaking up the training by doing one continuous set of 50 in the morning and then two sets of 25 in the evenings. Once I get used to it I'll increase the number of reps in the first set in the evening until I am do continuous set of 50 in the evening.
I plan to keep the numbers the same after I hit this intermediary goal but to then start slowing down the push ups to put more pressure on the muscles involved.
Someone mentioned a concern about blood pressure in one of the comments. I took that seriously and have been monitoring my blood pressure after my set of 50 reps in the morning. I do the set and then rest for 60 seconds and then take my blood pressure with an automatic wrist cuff.
My blood pressure this morning after the 50 set and the 6o seconds rest was 130/70 with a pulse rate of 68. My average reading, done at random times during the day, seated is usually about 118/60 with a pulse rate of 58-60. I don't think I am taking too much of a risk at the moment but I guess it's always a good idea to monitor.
But how are all those push ups paying off? I am stronger in the pool and it's reflected in a new ability to shift down about 5 seconds on intervals (based on sets of 100 yards). I also seem to have more endurance in the middle of a set than I did only a month or two ago. I am also noticing a slight reduction in waist line measurements. Other than that, no radical changes. I think I'll have to stay at it for a longer period of time to see really obvious changes.
Nothing has changed in my sensitivity to getting up in the dark, driving to the pool in 32 degree temperatures and then flinging myself into the chilly water. I still hate process right up to the point when we get sufficiently warmed up. The hardest part? Getting out of the pool in a brisk wind and running the 200 feet to the locker room. Ouch!