Are you too OLD to EXERCISE?
Updated: Apr 8
Only 25% of people between 65 and 74 years lead an active lifestyle. The rest 75% do not exercise. The number of people exercising above 85 years of age drops to 11% meaning a whopping 89% do not exercise. We understand that regular physical activity is associated with lots of benefits like improving cardiovascular health, muscle mass, strength, flexibility, endurance etc. But, is there an age when we should stop exercising? Or should we continue exercising forever? Let’s take a deeper look.
The right age to start exercising:
Exercises based on the components of general physical preparedness do not have a minimum age to start. It’s a myth that weight training stunts growth in children. Growth is largely governed by genetics and some of it is influenced by diet. Similarly, cycling, swimming, running etc. cannot increase height. There is no such thing as a minimum age to start exercising. Rather than age, training should be based on objectives or goals like increased muscle mass, decreased fat percentage, increased strength etc.
General physical preparedness is for everyone and factors like gender, weight, height, age, profession etc. do not matter.
Even though there is no minimum age to start exercising, we should use common sense to decide if it’s right to exercise. For example, a one-year-old who is still learning to walk cannot be expected to perform a squat. There are plenty of examples of athletes who have started exercising or training at a very young age. Tennis champ Serena Williams started training at age 4 and made her professional debut at 14.
Benefits of starting or continuing to exercise at older ages:
Exercising at any age has loads of benefits. Due to ageing, it is even more important to exercise as we start getting older. Old age has its set of challenges like low immunity, decreased bone density, reduced endurance, decreased strength, reduction in testosterone secretion etc. This affects not only physical performance but also mental performance. As we age further, it is only natural to notice a drop in performance and confidence. Ageing is inevitable but regular exercise helps to control it and promote healthy ageing.
When we start exercising or continue exercising even as we get older, it helps our body and mind in the following ways:
Builds focus, judgement and learning skills.
Increases confidence to do a specific task (physical or mental).
Instils a positive feeling.
Maintains hormonal balance.
Arrests accelerated ageing.
Decreases susceptibility to injury.
Maintains a healthy bone density.
Helps manage organ health.
Maintains muscle mass and strength.
Controls body weight and body fat.
Reduces risk of falls.
Controls blood pressure.
Promotes overall health and fitness.
It is imperative to research or consult a fitness expert before embarking on your fitness journey at any age. If you suffer from health conditions, make sure you discuss them with your fitness consultant and your doctor. For example, if you suffer from hypertension, you may not be allowed certain exercises or may have to put some restrictions on the way you train. It is also important to assess the impact of your exercise on the objectives. The impact could be a reduction in resting heart rate, reduced fat percentage, increased muscle mass, increased musculoskeletal strength, increased cardiovascular endurance etc.
There is no age to stop exercising and it should continue forever. Also, it is never too late to start exercising. Exercising is beneficial at any age and becomes increasingly important as we age.
Exercise is for everyone and factors like age, gender, height, weight etc. do not matter.
It is advisable to check with a fitness consultant and your doctor before you begin your fitness journey. It is equally important to gauge the impact of exercising to make sure it is aligned for achieving your objectives.
Ageing is inevitable. Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle make ageing less challenging.
You are never too old to stop exercising.
It’s never too late to start exercising.