Are You Too Old To Exercise? (includes tips on how to pick a great coach)
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Are you too old to exercise?
One of the biggest misconceptions I hear some older folks say is that they are too old to exercise. This is sad because scientific evidence points to physical fitness as one of the main keys to enhancing longevity, mental health, and overall quality of life.
Additionally, sedentary older folks have the greatest chances of slip and fall accidents, and other mobility injuries, as opposed to their fitter counterparts. They are also one of the largest groups to be victims of an attack, because they are weaker, and considered easy prey.
The problem is not that older folks don't want to train, it's that many make the mistake of going to fitness studios, or gyms, and they participate in the latest trendy workouts that are usually designed for younger, more athletic folks. Worse yet, they may hire a trainer/instructor who has no experience training older populations (many trainers don't), and are made to do potentially dangerous exercises.
This inevitably results in the older person getting injured. These experiences are then shared with their peers and family members, inadvertently creating the myth that physical training is not for older people.
For example, years ago I was hired by a large gym chain to manage their fitness department due to low enrollment, and what I saw was shocking! All of the young trainers had older, out of shape people doing exercises and routines that only young, athletic people could do. These older folks were getting injured at an alarming rate, or quitting because the workouts were just too difficult. This certainly was not their fault, it was poor designing by the personal trainers and group exercise instructors.
Physical training IS for older folks!
With the right type of training from an experienced professional, older folks can get stronger, faster, more flexible, increased endurance, and technically proficient in fitness and even self-defense. And when it comes to self-discipline, and toughness, these folks have it in spades!
The key to success is to create a program that is designed specifically based on that persons strengths, weaknesses, previous injuries, and overall health. Giving them a generic workout used for the masses, will only lead to frustration, and worse, injury.
One of my senior citizen clients, Anna, wrote me a great testimonial that explains it best:
"I have been training with Larry for 5 years and I am very happy with him. I appreciate that he takes the time to cater to my special needs but also pushes me to excel".
And guess what? She has never been injured training with me in those 5 years.
If you choose to seek out an instructor or trainer in your area, here are some very important things to look out for:
Ask the instructor/trainer if she/he has experience training older populations, and ask for proof (testimonials/contacts etc.).
Ask for, and check out their certifications.
Ask if they are insured (if they are not, that's a huge red flag, don't choose them).
Ask if they offer a trial session first (you want to know if they are a good fit before you buy a package of lessons).
During your trial session observe your trainers patience level with you, if they seem impatient, that is a red flag (don't hire them).
Don't let them lock you into long term training contracts (i.e. one year contracts, or longer ).
If you feel uncomfortable with any exercises, or the pace at which the instructor/trainer is pushing you, let them know, and see if they offer you modifications (also observe their attitude).
If the instructor/trainer doesn't meet the criteria above, don't let them train you, otherwise you're more likely to get injured.
Can I help you get started?
If you are interested in trying a no obligation training session that's designed specifically for you, by me (either online, or in person), contact me here.
My experience in designing fitness programs stems from almost 30 years as a certified personal fitness trainer (currently certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine), a diploma as a Physical Therapy aide, a certified Sports Injury Rehabilitation coach, and a degree in Biology, Additionally, I have over twenty-five years experience training seniors, (some of them who are in their 80's), and have 30 plus years teaching martial arts.
Some older folks train with me to get into shape, others want to stop being in pain all the time. Other folks want to have a better quality of life and play with their grandkids, while some even train for self-defense. Whatever the reason they start, one thing is for sure, they get so many health and fitness benefits, that it changes their lives.
Want to get in the best shape of your life?
Check out my fitness training programs here https://www.theshortfight.com/fitness
You will also get free access to all my exercise and self-defense instructional videos by signing up at www.theshortfight.com
Until next time, Stay Fit!
Author, The Short Fight