CARVILLE: The Beatles exercise program |

CARVILLE: The Beatles exercise program

Yes, exercise advice from The Beatles – John, Paul, George and Ringo… with a little Elvis, Fats, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger and Chuck Berry thrown in. We’re talking rock and roll here.

Each month, I encourage all of us to stay healthy and active. It isn’t news to you that the music of your youth gets you ‘fired up.’ So, use that music to get a little fitter and happier.

Remember what Tina said about Proud Mary, “Big wheel keep on turning, Proud Mary keep on burnin.” That’s you. Think back to when you were 18. See, I caught you smiling. Let’s keep smiling.

Many of us grew up in 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. The music of those days still resonates deeply in our minds, hearts, psyches and even in our shoes. It was 1955 in a car at Playland-at-the-Beach when I first heard ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and the Comets – fabulous and revolutionary for a 16-year old San Francisco boy at the time. I still can’t stop moving and smiling when I hear it.

One bright sunny morning in 1956, driving up the hill to Lincoln High School, over the A.M. radio came a beautiful song for the teenage heart — Fats Domino singing ‘Blueberry Hill’ — and it thrilled my whole day for a week. Like Jerry Lee said, Great Balls of Fire, it has thrilled me for a lifetime. OK, the list goes on: Stevie Nicks, Janis, Aretha and don’t forget Little Richard. How can you not exercise to these songs of your youth… when the world was bright, and you were immortal.


Ray, what I say? About the girl with the diamond ring — she knows how to shake that thing. Well, Maybellene, you got me all shook up because there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on when seniors exercise. It’s pretty simple… you were born to be wild and don’t need a jailhouse to rock.

I am saying, don’t be cruel to yourself — it’s alright to twist and shout. Hey, it’s your music, your youth and your body — that’s what exercise is about — you.

Even if you’re 90, would I say to stop exercising? No, because that’ll be the day …when I die. Would I ask you to put away your blue suede shoes? No, I’m saying get up and exercise — using the musical motivation and energy of your youth.


I am saying move, dance, wiggle, shake, ride a stationary bike, swim, walk/jog on a treadmill, it’s all movement that is good for you.

There is sophisticated technique when designing an exercise program: duration, interval, resistance, heart rate. But forget about that for the time being. Let yourself go — be a sultan of swing or a honky tonk woman. The music will guide you on how to move.

So, let’s turn to the Beatles for more advice on senior exercising.

While I say focus on 30 minutes of exercise each day seven days a week, the Beatles say eight days a week.

The Beatles say when I’m 64, will I be a day tripper and take the easy way out? Or, I should have known better? Will you get serious about taking care of yourself and get to the place where you say, I feel fine?

The Beatles say get some help. Please, don’t let me down. Remember, your body needs a revolution… to change the world — you know what I mean. They say something … in the way she moves, attracts me like no other lover. Words of love and I want to hold your hand.

The Beatles say to exercise, got to get you into my life — every single day of my life.


Little darling — I feel that ice is slowly melting. It seems like years since it’s been here. I want you to feel that here comes the sun … and it’s all right.

Go back to your teenage years. Remember the music that made you happy and move to it.

Crank up that old ‘stereo’ real loud, put on Chuck Berry’s rock and roll music (even louder), and “If you want to dance with me” we’ll pretend that Chuck and his guitar are in the room with us and we will go back to being 17 and immoral.

A Personal Postscript: I have never written a postscript before. But this was the time. The article may seem a bit non-exercise centric to some, but I can’t tell you how much fun it was to turn back the clock and listen to so many songs of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s while writing this article. I recommend it for bringing smiles into your life. It worked for me.

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. He is happy to answer questions or respond to comments. You can contact him at

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