By Matt Evans
At 78 years old, Joe Biden is looking after himself. He made headlines before being inaugurated as a keen Peloton user, with White House staff reportedly taking issue with the bike's camera and microphone functions as a security risk.
However, Biden's not just riding in virtual spin classes to keep fit. In an interview on the campaign trail last year with governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden revealed what his morning workout routine really looks like:
"It’s hard to get into a really regular schedule, but for me, I’ve been sticking to a routine and it helps. It helps me deal with my day. I try to get out of bed by eight o’clock in the morning and I have a gym in my house upstairs.
"I have a treadmill and a Peloton bike and some weights. And I try to work out every morning for me. That sort of gets me going. And then I take a shower and go down, have some to eat.
"I usually have a protein shake and then what I do is my day starts and the day starts usually with a, somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour and a half meeting with the medical staff [dealing with COVID]."
There's plenty to unpack here, especially given Biden's advanced age. At 78 years young, Biden still uses weights, likely some of the best adjustable dumbbells. This works to keep older people healthy and strong by slowing (or even reversing, in some cases) a process called muscular atrophy.
Atrophy occurs when our muscles weaken and waste away as we get older, meaning we're less able to stand out of chairs, grip handrails tightly, or walk up a flight of stairs. Our muscles also contract as they do so, limiting our mobility. By using weights to build muscle, Biden is slowing the aging process, ensuring he'll stay active and healthy in later life.
At home, you can also build up muscle with a set of the best resistance bands, which are just as versatile as dumbbells and often a lot cheaper.
Biden also uses the best treadmill and an exercise bike. Running on concrete is a high-impact activity which puts a lot of pressure on joints like ankles, hips and knees. While running has been found to not impact osteoarthritis risk, other conditions like shin splints are a risk for older people with weakening bone strength. Treadmills and exercise bikes make for a flat, controlled environment that won't damage your bones while doing cardio workouts.
And cardio workouts are particularly important, especially in seniors. Cardiovascular and aerobic workouts like these reduce the risk of getting diseases such as cancer and diabetes in later life, in addition to benefiting our mental health according to Harvard University. If you're looking to stay active in later life, you could do worse than jumping on a low-impact cardio machine.
Finally, Biden starts his day with a protein shake. As well as hitting the weights, protein is important for building and maintaining muscle mass, slowing down that process of muscular atrophy even further. Some protein powders contain lots of harmful sugar, but the best protein powder for weight loss can ensure you stay on track, building lean muscle without packing on excess fat.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website.
Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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