It’s easy to find reasons not to exercise as you get older. Hell, at any age we all find reasons why we can't workout. Beloved seniors, I’m here to tell you that you're not too out-of-shape to exercise. You are not too sick to exercise. You are not too tired to exercise. And, you are not too old to exercise.
"Exercise is almost always good for people of any age," says Chhanda Dutta, PhD, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging. "Exercise can help make you stronger, prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, lift your mood, boost your memory, and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions."
Did you know that just one out of four people between the ages of 65 and 74 exercises regularly?
For most older adults, the idea of trying to exercise is pointless. This could not be any further from the truth. We see people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s out there jogging, biking, swimming and even bodybuilding their way to a better and stronger self. Hell, my father-in-law went skydiving for the first time at age 71! Stop getting caught up in the fallacy that getting old means becoming decrepit.
Judge Judy television marathons are not going to keep you physically fit and feeling good. Exercise, at any level and in any form, benefits your mind and body in more ways than you can possibly imagine. But you have to get up and move.
A lot of the symptoms that we associate with old age -- such as weakness and loss of balance -- are actually symptoms of inactivity, not age, says Alicia I. Arbaje, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
What I’ve done in this post is debunk common tall tales about senior exercise and bestow some serious motivation for you to get up and move. As an added bonus, I've included a fun and effective way to get your daily dose of exercise, at any skill level. Now this doesn’t mean that you’ll be running your first marathon any time soon. What it does mean, however, is that this post will help you to make exercise a priority in your life rather than an afterthought.
1. Exercise Isn't Safe - I Could Fall
"In fact, studies show that exercise can reduce your chances of a fall," says Dutta. "Exercise builds strength, balance, and agility. Exercises like tai chi may be especially helpful in improving balance. Worried about osteoporosis and weak bones? One of the best ways to strengthen them is with regular exercise."
Do Not Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do.
2. I Can’t - I Need to Check With My Doctor
"If you have a medical condition or any unexplained symptoms or you haven't had a physical in a long time, check with your doctor before you start exercising. Otherwise, go ahead. People don't need to check with a doctor before they exercise just because they're older," says Dutta. "Go slowly and don't overdo it."
Clear Your Mind of ‘I Can’t’.
3. I’m Sick - I Shouldn’t Exercise
"On the contrary, if you have a chronic health problem -- such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease -- exercise is almost certainly a good idea. Check with a doctor first, but exercise will probably help. Exercise is almost like a silver bullet for lots of health problems," says Arbaje. "For many people, exercise can do as much if not more good than the 5 to 10 medications they take every day."
Exercise Doesn’t Get In The Way of My Life … It Adds To The Quality of It.
4. I’m Afraid - I Might Have a Heart Attack
"We've all heard about people who had heart attacks while exercising. It can happen. However, the many health benefits of exercise far exceed the small risk. Being a couch potato is actually more dangerous than being physically active," says Dutta. "That's true for the risk of heart disease and many other conditions."
Today I Will Love Myself Enough To Exercise.
5. It’s Too Late - I’ve Never Really Exercised Before
"It may seem too late to atone for a lifetime of not exercising. That's absolutely not true," says Dutta. "Studies have found that even in people in their nineties living in nursing homes, starting an exercise routine can boost muscle strength. Other research shows that starting exercise late in life can still cut the risk of health problems -- such as diabetes -- and improve symptoms. It really is never too late to start exercising and reaping the benefits", say Dutta.
The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe In the Beauty of Their Dreams - Elenor Roosevelt
6. Exercise Will Hurt My Joints
"If you're in chronic pain from arthritis, exercising may seem too painful. Here's a counterintuitive fact: studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. One study of people over age 60 with knee arthritis found that those who exercised more had less pain and better joint function."
You’re Never Too Older to Set Another Goal Or To Dream Another Dream.
7. I Don’t Have the Money - Gym Membership is Expensive
"Gym memberships and home treadmills can be expensive. Still, that's no reason to skip exercising", Dutta says. "You can exercise for free. Walking doesn't cost anything. Look into free demonstration classes at your local senior center. If you want to lift weights at home, use soup cans or milk jugs filled with sand. Use your dining room chair for exercises that improve balance and flexibility. If you have a health problem, insurance may cover a few sessions with a physical trainer or an occupational therapist", says Arbaje. "There are lots of ways to get fit at low or no cost."
Old Age Takes Away What We’ve Inherited and Gives Us What We’ve Earned.
What if I told you a way to get a great low-impact workout at home, using a toy product that you'll remember from childhood? Really. Bonk Fit™ is a trainer-approved inflatable pop-up target to get seniors physically-fit, mentally-focused, and having fun. This high-performance inflatable punching bag comes with custom form-fitting fabric 'skin' to make boxing low-impact and super-effective. Plus, there is a one-year warranty! At 60 inches tall, Bonk Fit is a soft knockdown target, providing an effective cardiovascular workout to help build and support muscular or coordination loss. Bonk Fit is portable, quick to assemble, easy to transport from room to room, and it looks great! This is the ultimate low-impact training tool for the senior fitness community.
We've come along way since Bozo the Clown bop bag. It's time to take back your health and get Bonk Fit. Click here to learn more.
Exercise, at any age, is an excellent way to promote a healthier, longer life. In fact, exercise is the key to your physical and mental freedom.
So stop finding excuses not to exercise and start believing that … exercise can improve your balance, it’s okay to go slow, exercise often helps chronic health problems, the benefits of exercise far exceed the risks, it’s never too late to start, and you don’t need an expensive gym membership to workout … sometimes the best exercise can be had right at home.
Do you have any tips of your own? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.