A long list of excuses shouldn’t stop you from exercising after a certain age. Health and fitness are possible at ANY age and actually becomes more and more important as the years go by.
So, why do so many people just surrender at a certain point?
It all comes down to some long standing myths that people believe about exercise and aging. And, we’re here to debunk those mis-beliefs!
As we age, men and women experience a change known as somatopause. This is a gradual and progressive decrease in the amount of HGH (human growth hormone) that our bodies produce.
Many of the symptoms of somatopause are things that we tend to call “the signs of aging”. They include increased fat tissue, loss of bone density, lower energy levels, more wrinkles, and the changes in cholesterol that the doctor warns us about.
There are two ways that people battle somatopause (a good way and a bad way…)
In the last decade, tens of thousands of people have been receiving HGH injections as a form of “age management”. The use of HGH is banned by The Food and Drug Administration and is considered illegal by all major athletic organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
Not only are they illegal, but they are costly and won’t necessarily get you the results you want. After reviewing numerous studies, the Harvard Medical School concluded, “HGH does not appear to be either safe or effective for young athletes or healthy older men. Instead, use the time-tested combination of diet and exercise.”
You guessed it. Injections are the “bad” way, but here’s the healthy way to stay fit and young feeling…
Exercise will naturally jump start your HGH production, without any of the risk associated with injections. By getting up and moving, you’ll get the physical benefits for your skin, bones and overall health.
Plus, exercise will keep you feeling great both mentally and emotionally. It’s the whole package for feeling young and vital. Learn more about somatopause, its effects, and how to beat it.
Exercise does not require a fancy gym membership and tons of equipment.
Running and walking outside are free, you just have to get up and put one foot in front of the other. You also don’t need anything but yourself to do simple, effective strengthening exercises.
If you don’t like the idea of heading outdoors, there are many reasonably priced ellipticals available for your home. This gets you a gym quality aerobic workout session without having to pay transportation costs and yearly membership fees.
Healthy eating habits don’t have to break the bank either. Be smart about your eating habits and move forward with a plan. Check out these tips on planning your diet and exercise routines as you age.
It doesn’t really matter how you move, it just matters that you do move.
A study from Yale University, as part of the LIFE study, found that walking for just 20 minutes a day lowered the risk of mobility disability after 2 years in seniors vs those that did not. This means that the sooner you start moving, the longer you’ll be able to down the road.
Myth #3 – My heart, joints, back, (etc.) aren’t strong enough anymore.
Your heart needs exercise to do its best work. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days a week and 2 days a week of strength training. This not only build your cardiovascular health, but lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
The strength training days are super important because building your muscles will help support your joints and spine to effectively protect your from injury. Get inspired and learn more about the mental and physical benefits of exercise as you age.
Myth #4 – I’ll hurt myself.
Nobody is saying that you need to start doing extreme sports or sign up for a 10k. There are effective activities out there for every age group and every ability level.
Be aware of your limitations, but don’t be afraid of them. Be smart with your training and don’t force your body to do anything more than it can handle. You’ll still get results.
Myth #5 – I don’t have anyone to exercise with.
You don’t need to be part of a “team” in the traditional sense to be exercising. There are lots of ways to get involved with others that are looking to do the same thing as you.
Visit your local YMCA and try out a class. Most locations offer activities catered to every age and ability level, just find the one that works for you. Get your family on board and go for walks in the evening together. Join a tai chi class at a park in your area.
If you work out indoors, utilize the social features on your treadmill. Take a class with your trainer right on your screen, or meet up with your friends for a virtual workout.
Don’t let embarrassment or insecurities get in your way. Everyone had to start somewhere and probably felt the same way you do. You aren’t alone.
Myth #6 – I’m just too old!
This one is the easiest excuses to throw out there and is maybe the biggest myth of them all! Who’s to say you’re too old? What’s too old?!
Age is just a number and what’s important is how you feel, not how many years have ticked by on the calendar. Exercise is key to making sure you continue to feel young and are able to enjoy what every day brings.
We’ve discussed the benefits of exercise, from heart health to cholesterol to hormone levels, but what it boils down to is that exercise actually keeps you young and feeling great.
Whether you’re 30 years old or 90 years young, you will lead a healthier and happier life when you get your body moving.
Growth hormone, athletic performance, and aging. Harvard Men’s Health Watch, 2018
53 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home: Bari Lieberman and Alexa Tucker; 2017
Effect of structured physical activity on prevention of major mobility disability in older adults: the LIFE study randomized clinical trial. Pahor et al. 2014
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults.