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AM I TOO OLD TO START EXERCISING?

What age do you think is too old to start exercising?


Perhaps we’ve never been ‘into’ exercise before, or it’s been a while since we’ve put on our sneakers. Either way, it can be daunting starting something, and when we pay attention to that little niggly thought at the back of our mind, saying ‘This isn’t going to work - I’m too old to be doing this’, starting can be even harder.


But, that little niggly thought, it’s just a myth. Research shows that adults who become active later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts.(1)


Sure, it might be a bit much to go from zero exercise to running a marathon in a few short weeks, but there are so many other options to exercise that are more kind to our bodies, and bring hugely positive benefits into our lives.


Keep reading below.













We all know that as we grow older we do experience functional and cognitive decline. These are the inescapable consequences of living. Very importantly however, although we are all human, we are all individuals with our own biological and genetic make-ups. And due to this, it is clear that we, as individuals, are able to deviate from our ‘expected pattern of aging... and even postpone or minimise the consequences of aging’.(2) And, a key factor in doing so is participating in regular physical exercise.


Regular exercise positively affects our physiological systems and reduces chronic disease risk factors. Also, it has proven psychological and social benefits. By exercising we feel more connected to those around us and our environment, we can engage more with new friendships and acquaintances, we may be less stressed and anxious, and maintain our cognitive status and motor skills for longer.


To read more about the benefits of physical activity for older persons - click on the World Health Organisation's Fact Sheet PDF below.

WHO Fact Sheet
.pdf
PDF • 39KB

To start exercising safely - don’t overdo it. Talk to your medical team about any concerns you may have. Always work within your capabilities - start small and often, and make sure you're doing things you enjoy. There are so many options to be active within our communities - from free walk/runs at local parks on Saturday mornings organised by the Park Run movement, aqua exercise classes at local swimming pools, Community Strength and Balance Programs run online, at local libraries and community spaces, Bowls Clubs, local Walking/Rambling and E-bike Groups, dance classes etc etc.


Experiment and find out what gives you enjoyment as well as physical activity. Please don’t let your, or others’, assumptions about your chronological age limit you. We have so much to gain by being active.


Hopefully after reading this article, you'll understand that our initial question (What age do you think is too old to start exercising?) is a really a trick question. We are never to old to start exercising.


If you've got any questions about this article, or our AgeFIT Home program, please contact us at danielle@agefit.nz.


Danielle Falconer (BCA, LLB)

Co-Founder AGEFIT Home

At AgeFIT, our certified functional aging specialist designs and demonstrates online video strength, mobility and balance routines for seniors that people can choose to do in their own homes at times that suit them. With 3 levels (basic-moderate-challenging), we have progressions and modifications for most exercises enabling people to adapt the exercises to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Click HERE>> to learn more about our 8 Week Strength & Balance Program for Seniors.


  1. www.helpguide.org.

  2. American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM’s Exercise For Older Adults, (2014), page 9.

The content of this article is the personal view of the author, and is not intended as medical advice. The author is not a licensed medical professional, and this article is not specific medical advice. We recommend that if you have a pre-existing condition, which may be affected by low impact exercise, we recommend you seek the advice of your doctor or specialist before commencing any of our exercise routines.

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