Len’s Story

Len CarlsonI’m a sixty-eight-year-old guy active in kayaking, bicycling and jogging but haven’t done any serious upper body exercise for many years due to a problem in my right arm. I had a recurring problem with pain in my right shoulder and upper arm that was diagnosed as arthritis. The worst part was that it occasionally kept me from my passion, kayaking.

“My paddling buddy Art suggested I consider joining a gym and then pointed me to Harry’s book. After a few hours of reading I got inspired and started following the suggestions he outlined. I hired a trainer, a seventy-three-year-old incredibly conditioned guy who specializes in senior training, to get me started.

“I got into a routine of at least an hour in the early morning three days a week, doing a complete circuit of the weight training machines followed by a series of exercises with dumbbells. On off days I sometimes do a series of exercises using the large exercise ball. At the start I was favoring the right arm/shoulder and using lower right side weights with the dumbbells. After a few weeks I was shocked as the pain in the right arm/shoulder began to clear up and I progressed to higher weights.

“Now, after almost three months, I have no soreness in the right arm/shoulder and can do all sorts of kayak rolls and paddle for hours with no pain at all. The exercising has built up the muscles around the affected area enough to give sufficient support to eliminate the pain.

“I was paddling casually with Art and two other friends a few days ago and we had a little over a mile to go to the take-out site. I said that I’d go ahead and take out my boat first so I could help the others. I started paddling at a faster pace and soon fell into a nice rhythm that I knew was faster than normal for our casual trips.

“When I reached the shore I looked back and Art was quite a bit ahead of the other guys and behind me. Art has always been a faster paddler than I as he is a serious “gym rat” and has developed a strong upper body. He shocked me when he said that he was having trouble keeping up with me — something that had never happened before.

“So, as a sixty-eight-year-old would-be athlete I finally got back into a regular strength training program as outlined in Harry’s book and am extremely pleased with the substantial progress I’ve made in a few short months. Other areas in Harry’s book have also been very helpful as I have an implanted pacemaker (only in back-up mode, not pacing me) and a few years ago had my mitral valve replaced along with a triple bypass, so I’m determined to keep very active. My goal is to maintain and build upon this strength-training program along with my jogging and bicycling — for the rest of my life.”

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