The body is resilient, remarkably so. Even as you age, your body is able to do incredible things, especially if you’re willing to challenge it. Whether you worked out in the past or you are just getting started, there is no reason you can’t get fit over 50 years of age. Though you might not be able to do what you did at 20 or 30, the human body can still be impressive at 50, 60, 70, and 80 years of age. However, a lot of older people tend to lie to themselves. Personal trainers like myself hear it all the time.
That’s why I wanted to discuss the 4 biggest lies you tell yourself that keep you from your fitness goals and why those lies are indeed untrue.
Myth 1: “I’m too old.”
There are bodybuilders over 70, yogis over 90, and physical education teachers over 60 throughout the world. Age is but a number. It is how you perceive that number and the traits society has placed upon that number that keeps you from working out. In reality, it’s never too late to start, especially when physical activity is critical to increasing longevity and maintaining independence in your advanced years.
Men and women can get into the best shape of their life even after 50 years of age. You simply need to remove the idea that your chronological age somehow plays a role on what you can and cannot do. By removing that barrier, you will see that your body is still a powerhouse. Muscles still grow. Fat still burns. You just need a wellness plan that is fine-tuned to your specific needs.
Myth 2: “I’m not motivated enough.”
Food for thought: Motivation is a limitation. If you wait to get motivated, you will never find it. This whole idea that you need to be motivated to do something is a lie—one of the biggest lies in fitness and everything else. Motivation comes and goes, so don’t rely on motivation to get you started.
The underlying issue is your internal dialogue. Among the lies on this page, I’m sure there are dozens of others that you tell yourself to remain on the couch rather than getting to the gym or going for a walk. What is your attitude towards working out? Do you see it as punishment or as something you enjoy? Did you have a poor experience in the past that made you dislike working out? What goals are you trying to achieve?
When you get to the bottom of your feelings, you will realize that the motivation comes from doing something you enjoy. So think about activities that are fun, even if it doesn’t seem like a workout, and start from there.
Myth 3: “I’m too busy.”
One time a client looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’m might be retired but that doesn’t mean I sit around on my butt all day. I’m too busy for this.” I told him that just because time passes, it doesn’t mean you’re using your time wisely. If you want to get fit, you need to make time. Or, you need to reallocate your time.
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Fitness is a lifestyle change. Therefore, if you want to get fit, you need to change a little. Think about your life right now. Do you spend time on social media? Play games on your phone or computer? Spend hours walking around the mall? It’s great to have things that occupy your time but think about how much you could get done if you weren’t idling. You don’t need 3 hours a day on Facebook, nor do you need to play games so often. When you cut away the distractions, I’m positive you will find at least 30-45 minutes a day where you could squeeze in a decent workout. Take a walk after dinner. Go swimming. Do housework. There’s always a physical activity you can be doing.
Myth 4: “I’m the only one struggling to stay in shape.”
You’re never alone. The very fact that this article exists means you are not alone! Other people over 50 are worried about the same things you are and have lied to themselves hundreds of times. There are plenty of “silver” level group exercises classes out there made for people over 50 who want to stay in shape and join people their age. There are personal trainers who work specifically with aging populations.
Not to sound mean, but you need to hold yourself accountable for your own fitness. No one is going to put you on the treadmill but you. No one is going to make the correct meal choices but you. Therefore, if you want to get fit over 50, you need to stop putting yourself on a deserted island and open up to the possibilities. Join a fitness group for people your age, team up with a trainer, use technology, and muster up a little bravery to go out and reclaim your life.
The Only Barriers You Need To Worry About
Now that you know that you’ve been deceived, let’s touch on the only barrier you should fret over—the biological ones. When you stop exercising, regardless of your age, you are bound to lose muscle mass. The muscles and connective tissues become inflexible and shorten. You also increase your risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Men and women both lose hormones, and as the hormones dissipate, more fat forms around the midsection.
Although this does impose some complications, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in shape. With the correct dietary choices and an understanding of how many calories you need throughout the day, you can start to burn fat rather than put it on. Add on some extra activity and functional strengthening exercises, and you will lose weight and gain muscle, just as you did at a younger age. It might take a little longer because you have less testosterone, but again, that doesn’t mean your muscle won’t grow.
Start slow, work at a moderate pace, and be patient with yourself. Nothing’s stopping you from getting fit over 50 except you.
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