No Braces, No Canes: Strength Training Changed His Life

I’m sure there are individuals who’ve had more health problems than Bob, but I’ve never met one.

Bob, now 70, has had hyperthyroidism, ulcers, chronic kidney disease and a heart attack that required two stents. That’s just for openers: Three years ago, he was diagnosed on Christmas Eve with an aggressive form of prostate cancer for which he’s had radiation treatment. That same year, he contracted Type 2 diabetes.

Two years ago, Bob had a detached vertebra, followed by a spinal rupture that required surgery. The latest issue was a drop foot; he was told that he would have to wear a brace and use two canes for the rest of his life.

Bob, who’d never had time for exercise, decided two years ago that he was going to change that. He met with a trainer at his fitness center and started a serious exercise program. He goes to the gym three or four times a week and does an hour of serious strength training and stretching. He does three sets, each of ten reps, of a series of exercises using heavy weights. He also exercises at home on the other days.

Bob said, “The combination of strength training and stretching has dramatically changed my ability to lead a full life, including playing golf. I’ve made some swing adjustments due to my back, but otherwise I play pretty much the same as I did years ago.”

Bob said that it helps him to use a trainer every time he goes to the gym. It’s his way of being sure he shows up — he has an appointment. What about the brace and canes? Contrary to the prediction of two doctors, he has no need for them.

In terms of motivation, exercise for Bob has moved from extrinsic — something he does because it’s good for him — to intrinsic — something he does because he enjoys it. Bob’s wife has joined the team and now goes to the gym regularly also.

Footnote: I’m sending this message while visiting in Chiang Mai,Thailand. I doubt that would have been possible ten years ago.

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