Are you too OLD to EXERCISE?
Updated: Jan 30
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 improved cardiovascular health, muscle mass, strength, flexibility, endurance etc. Exercise also helps combat age-related conditions and diseases. But is there an age when we should start or stop exercising? Do we get too old to exercise? Let’s take a deeper look.
What is the RIGHT AGE to START EXERCISING?
Exercises based on the components of general physical preparedness do not have a minimum age to start. Growth is governed mainly by genetics. Diet also influences growth. It is a myth that weight training stunts growth in children.
Similarly, cycling, swimming, running etc., cannot increase height. So, there is no such thing as a minimum age to start physical activity, including exercise. Rather than age, training should be based on objectives or goals like increased muscle mass, decreased fat percentage, increased strength, sports specific preparedness 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 exercising is suitable. For example, we cannot expect a squat from a one-year-old who is still learning to walk. However, there are plenty of examples of athletes who have started exercising or training at a very young age. For example, tennis champion Serena Williams started training at age 4 and made her professional debut at 14.
What are the 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 challenges like low immunity, decreased bone density, reduced endurance, decreased strength, testosterone secretion etc. It affects not only physical performance but also mental performance. So it is only natural to notice a drop in performance and confidence as we age further. Ageing is inevitable, but regular exercise helps 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.
Manages organ health.
Maintains muscle mass and strength.
Controls body weight and body fat.
Reduces the risk of falls.
Controls blood pressure.
Promotes overall health and fitness.
It is imperative to research or consult a fitness expert before embarking on our fitness journey at any age. If you suffer from health conditions, make sure you discuss them with your fitness consultant and doctor. For example, suppose you suffer from hypertension. In that case, you may not be allowed specific exercises or may have to put some restrictions on the way you train. It is also essential to assess the impact of your exercise on your objectives. The impact could reduce the resting heart rate, lower fat percentage, increase muscle mass, musculoskeletal strength, 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 doctor before beginning our fitness journey. It is equally important to gauge the impact of exercising to ensure it aligns with our fitness goals.
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.
We hope the article helped understand that there is no age to start or stop exercising.