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Get A Life: Age not an excuse for female flab
by By Loretta LaRoche For The Patriot Ledger

This past weekend I did a workshop and a keynote along with Dr. Nancy Snyderman and Dr. Miriam Nelson at a conference called Strong Women, Strong Bones.

Dr. Nelson, a researcher in the field of exercise physiology, has pioneered strength training for women. More than 185 women attended the workshop. They came from all walks of life and from all across the country, and they ranged in age from 14 to 70.

Many of you probably think this is not a new concept. We know many women who work out and we see lots of buffed babes on TV and in the movies. But what we don't know is that these women are in the minority. There is still a huge percentage of females who think that lifting weights is going to turn them into the Incredible Hulk.

There is also the perception that once you get into your older years, 60 and over, you just might hurt yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women cannot build muscle mass in the same way men can. We just don't have the hormonal makeup to do that. Yes, you can look ripped if you're working on being Miss Body Builder of the year, but that takes an immense amount of time and lots of discipline.

Being older just isn't a good excuse, either. A study done at the Jewish Rehabilitation Center in Boston several years ago found that women in their 90s could do leg extensions with upward of 70 pounds after several months of training. They were able to rid themselves of walkers and canes because of their increased strength.

Not only that, their balance improved and so did their mood.

Unfortunately, we perceive aging as a slow and inevitable decline of our physical prowess. If we all continued to train ourselves to be physically fit and agile from childhood, many of us would not end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

This does not mean that because we are strong and fit we have found the key to immortality. One of my favorite sayings is ''Eat well, exercise, die anyway.''

Staying in good shape is not about the illusion of living forever. It is about living fully and independently as long as possible. I want to be able to not only buy groceries but bring them into the house. I like going up and down stairs, gardening, being able to take hikes and do the salsa.

I also like the feeling that being strong gives me. It gives you some attitude and a feeling of inner power. I feel like I could kick some butt, and that's a good thing!

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche.

Copyright 2005 Loretta LaRoche. All Rights Reserved.

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