i'm too old to exercise
Leading an active life is key to a healthier happier longer life. Still, one thing we seem to hear all too often is "I'm too old to exercise".
We decided to ask Chris Wharton, Director of The Better Body Group, a very happy place we visit to train together at least twice a week, to explain clearly why staying fit and strong is so important as we get a little older! So read on and share with someone who may think they're too old for this.
First things first
As the human body ages, we suffer from a fairly constant physical decline. I’m sure we can all agree that everything felt a lot easier when we were in our 20’s. Without regular exercise, those over 50 years of age WILL suffer from a range of health problems including, but not limited to:
- Reduced muscle mass (roughly 3-5% per decade after the age of 30)
- Reduced flexibility
- Reduced bone mineral density
- Increased body fat
- Increased blood pressure
- Poorer balance
- Reduced mobility
- Increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease
All pretty sad news for those swerving the gym!
Now for the good news
It is NEVER to late to start getting active. If any one tells you that you are too old to train, they are 100% wrong. In fact they are out of their mind. Exercise never becomes less important, regardless of your age. At the Better Body Group in Sevenoaks, there are currently over 20 individual clients in their late 80’s training on a regular basis and they are in great shape. So what’s all the fuss about?
Just a small amount of regular exercise can transform the way you live your life. The list of benefits are endless:
- Increased strength, muscle mass, and flexibility
- Improved cardiorespiratory function
- Improve neuromuscular function
- Positive mood and reduced anxiety
- Improved immune function
- Decreased risk of certain cancers
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
8 tips for getting started
1. Always ask your GP or Physician before getting started. Medical clearance is an absolute must.
2. Be mindful of injury history. The vast majority of those over 60 will have some aches and pains from injury history. Be sure to avoid aggravating these problem areas.
3. Start small. We recommend beginning with 5-10 mins of walking a day. When you can complete 30 minutes of walking move on to a basic strength training program like the one included below.
4. Training with resistance (ie weights or bands) can lead to huge improvements in mobility, strength and recovery/prevention of injury. Make sure you start light.
Proficient technique is far more important than how much you are lifting. If in doubt seek advice from a properly qualified personal trainer.
5. Commit to it. You are not going to feel fitter overnight. Commit to blocks of 4-6 weeks of activity and reward yourself for achieving small goals. You deserve it.
6. Try a variety of activities and find some that you enjoy such as yoga, dancing or aqua therapy. You are far more likely to stick to it if you look forward to going back.
7. Recognise problems. There is a chance that exercising too much too soon will make you feel worse. If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous or faint stop immediately and seek medical attention- remember start small!
8. Include your friends or join a group.
One of the biggest benefits of getting in shape is being around like-minded people. It’s a great excuse to get out of the house and interact with others.