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Physical trainer motivates those more than half his age

August 8, 2014

Sometimes pushing your physical limits just requires a good attitude and an active friend. Despite a lack of any medical background, Henry Hawk regularly helps those with spinal injuries and other conditions that affect physical movement to restore their activity, Outside Online reported. While this achievement alone is outstanding, what makes it even more exceptional is Henry's age. At 77 years old, he encourages a healthy lifestyle for seniors and motivates others of all ages to push themselves beyond their physical expectations. 

Henry's fitness story
From an early age, Henry has made fitness a top priority, noted the news source. What started as a love for football turned into becoming an All-American in the sport, which then resulted in him coaching teams. And when he wasn't playing or coaching football, he was setting records on the track. The trick to keeping fit is to never give yourself downtime, he told the source. Once you allow yourself time to rest, it's much harder to get back in the habit of pushing yourself as hard as you can.

The website went on to report that when Henry started using his fitness habits to help others, he couldn't stop. His first "patient" was a 60-year-old who was told she would never be able to walk unassisted or even stand again. After years of constant work and dedication with Henry's help, she was able to do just that. After this major victory, he began training others as young as 23 who were in similar situations. Although he was never certified in physical therapy, he used techniques he learned as a football coach to train muscles and build endurance.

Physical training is just one of the ways that Henry stays active. He told the source that, in addition to assisting others with their physical struggles, he also leads five fitness classes per week for seniors who want to participate in healthy aging and stay in shape.

Staying fit in your golden years
Keeping active doesn't have to involve intense weights or extreme activities like in Henry's case. Light exercise that grows in intensity could be all you need to get closer to your fitness goals. The Huffington Post recommended consulting with your doctor and getting a physical before you start an exercise plan to make sure that your body can handle the exertion. He or she may be able to suggest specific activities that are in line with your medical needs and health conditions.

From there, start walking every day or, if you're already doing that and you want to kick up the intensity, try incorporating weights. The source noted that just 12 reps can be a good start to focusing on your upper body with weight training. You can purchase light weights and take them on your walk with you, or go to the gym at your assisted care community and perform a few minutes of lifting. But, be cautious. While you may have considered soreness to be a sign of a good workout in the past, The Huffington Post warned that this is not the case in your older years. Pain could be your body's way of telling you to slow down. When you're injured, you won't be able to exercise. It's more important to start slow and change course if you feel discomfort.

A physical trainer may also be beneficial for those seeking guided workouts. Some gyms offer physical trainers free of charge or at a low fee. A professional will be able to show you the proper way to use certain machines to reduce the risk of injury and make sure that you're getting the best use out of certain exercises and equipment.