Okay so you’ve most likely either heard these before or you have actually said them in the past or currently do use these phrases.
“I’m too old for that”
“I’ve never been into exercise , there’s no point me trying to start now”
“Aches and pains are a part of getting old”
These statements are thrown around as exactly that BUT in reality they are just myths that we sometimes choose to believe or use to justify feelings and circumstances. Let’s explore and debunk some of those myths.
Recent studies have shown that people starting a fitness routine between the ages of 40-65 are just as likely to see and feel the health related benefits as someone aged in their 20’s. So it really is never too late to start.
Benefits of keeping active as you age:
Maintain strength and balance for day-day activities
Slows the rate of muscle tissue loss
Helps ward off or reduce the risk of lifestyle related diseases.
Help lower and control blood pressure
Improves memory and cognitive function including thinking and problem solving skills
A social outing
The recommended weekly amount of exercise for older adults is 2.5 -5 hours of moderate intensity activity. This can be a number of activities or exercises depending on your current activity level or fitness abilities and experience.
Examples of exercises:
Swimming, running and cycling
Team sports suitable for your current fitness level such as social tennis, water polo or golf.
Group fitness sessions
Lower intensity exercise options may include pilates or water aerobics.
Tips to get started :
Starting exercise later in life requires that you find a more meaningful reason to do your activity. I like to call this your ‘compelling WHY’ .
For example, can you transition from standing, down to the floor, and back up again with ease? If not , this might be your motivation to start an exercise routine. How do you feel when you get out of your car? Do you feel sluggish when you’ve been sitting for a long period of time? Ask yourself these questions and start to reshape your fitness goals to enhance your day-to-day functions in life and the confidence you have in your body to maintain your physical independence, strength and movement.
Making exercise a fun habit
Choose activities that you enjoy, which will make it much easier for you to commit to your exercise routine. Get your family involved by going on a hike or a walk around the local park. Engage in a community sport program or charity walk. Dance with your grandkids in the kitchen, play a game of lawn bowls with friends or go for a swim at your nearby pool. Willpower will only get you so far, so find a way to make exercise a new routine for your daily life and come back to your compelling why each time you’re not feeling motivated to go. Reward yourself for exercising so you’re motivated to do it again.
At the end of the day
Living an active and balanced lifestyle that includes a combination of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility exercises helps you live a happy and physically independent life for as long as possible reducing risks of illness, diseases and premature death due to lifestyle habits. Exercise is and will always be one of the primary keys to living a fulfilling life. We cannot stop or reverse the circle of life, but we can influence how we experience that journey. And it’s never too late to start making healthy choices to better your quality of life.
Murray, R. and Kenney, W.L. (2016). Practical Guide to Exercise Physiology . Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics. Howden, E.J., et. al. (2018). Reversing the cardiac effects of sedentary aging in middle age—A randomized controlled trial. American Heart Association Journal, 137, 15, 1549-1560.