As we age, there tends to be a lot of discussion about the things we can’t do, rather than the things we can. For many, this, unfortunately, extends to our thoughts and feelings about exercise.
According to the National Physical Activity Guidelines, 80% of all American adults don’t meet the recommended physical activity levels for a healthy lifestyle, including 28% of adults over the age of 50. This is especially important, considering four out of the five most common chronic conditions in people over the age of 50 can be prevented, or at least managed, through exercise.
Sure, things change as we get older, and our bodies are different at 70 versus when we were 50, but that doesn’t mean we’re forced to live an unhealthy life as a result.
Here are three common reasons seniors don't exercise as much as they should and advice for working past them.
“I’m too old”
Exercise doesn’t have an age limit and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Last year, a 72-year-old woman named Lauren Bruzzone became famous after a video of her CrossFit workout exploded all over the internet. Similarly, a 96-year-old man named Roy Englert became an internet celebrity after running a 5k in 42 minutes. His advice? “Keep moving. Keep doing it.”
“I can’t afford it”
This is definitely understandable. Many retirees live on a fixed income, which can make paying for a monthly gym membership seem unattractive, especially if it won’t actually be used. Fortunately, programs like Peerfit Move work with select Medicare Advantage healthcare providers to give members access to a variety of fitness options and weekly community events in their areas, at no additional cost. It’s built right into your health insurance options!
“I can’t work out”
This misconception is situation-specific, so it’s important to identify what exactly is keeping you from exercising. If you have a wheelchair or can’t stand for extended periods of time, try classes that allow you to remain seated, like a chair or yin yoga class. Pool exercises are also a great option for those with arthritis, since they don’t add any weight on our joints but still use every muscle group.
If you’re worried about a possible injury, try a group fitness class and bring any concerns you have to the instructor. They’ll make sure you feel comfortable and will know how to properly, and safely, handle all equipment you might be using.
No matter our age or fitness level, we can all reap the benefits of more physical activity. When it comes to prioritizing your own health and wellness, just remember you deserve to be healthy, too.