Mid-life is no longer the age to start “slowing down”. You aren’t over the hill. You are actually at your peak.
There are so many myths and misconceptions about middle-aged fitness that it’s easy to believe these are the twilight years when it’s time to go slow.
Studies suggest there is no medical reason to wind down in midlife. In fact, exercise is the key to vitality well into your retirement years.
Myth 1: Old Equals Frail & Inactive
There is a common misconception that ageing is a time of mental and physical decline.
An Australian government report [i] found common but unsubstantiated perceptions about mature-age persons including:
mature-age is a time of physical decline
older people are all the same
older people become dependent
it’s too late in life to change or become physically active
Today, people over 40 are constantly reinventing themselves and embracing wellness well into midlife and old age.
A report by the Futures Company [ii] found people over 40 are bucking the trends about what it means to be ‘middle-aged’. They have an ‘ageless’ attitude to life and take a much more active approach to staying young.
Myth 2: I’m Too Old to Start
It’s never too late!
Even if you've been inactive for years, getting active in midlife can make a huge difference to your health now and later in life.
Research, published in the British Medical Journal [iii], found men from the age of 50 who take up high levels of physical activity will live for 2.3 years longer than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, and 1.1 years longer than those who participate in moderate exercise.
So even if you’ve never exercised before there’s still time to add years to your life. The increase in life span associated with starting to exercise is comparable with that linked to quitting smoking.
Myth 3: Putting On Weight Is Inevitable
It’s true that the metabolism does slow as we age but an expanding waistline doesn’t have to be the price of getting older.
With age, muscle mass typically diminishes, while fat increases. Between 30 & 60 years of age, we lose about 1kg of muscle but gain about 2kg of weight each year.
Muscle is a highly active tissue and it burns a lot of energy even when while you sit in meetings.
As we age, testosterone predisposes men to accumulate fat around their abdomen. For women, a drop in oestrogen during menopause makes us more prone to deposit fat around the middle.
But by becoming more active, we can boost the metabolism and can maintain weight.
There is also no reason why you cannot lose a significant amount of weight through a combination of healthy eating and sustainable activity.
For women, the menopause is not a time when you are certain to put on weight.
Myth 3: I Have a Bad Back (Knees, Shoulder, Etc)
Lower back pain is a common health problem with the vast majority having an unknown cause,
In Australia, about 3.7 million people have back problems and up to 90 per cent of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. [iv]
Fear of injury or re-injury is common as we age. Nursing an old injury is also common.
Fortunately, exercise can also strengthen and rehabilitate old injuries without re-injuring.
Even yoga and pilates have been proven to help strengthen the core and prevent back pain.
A fitness professional will always be able to recommend exercises for your specific situation.
Myth 4: I’m Too Old for the Gym
Becoming more fit in middle age doesn't necessarily mean running marathons or lifting weights several times a week.
Good exercise is anything active that raises your heart rate and contributes to your fitness (cardio, flexibility, endurance or strength).
You don’t have to go to the gym to increase your fitness.
Outdoor exercise groups, personal training, even regular brisk walking helps to improve strength and aerobic fitness.
Myth 5: Life is Too Busy for Exercise
You’re generally at your career peak and extremely busy in mid-life. It’s easy to say ‘I’m too busy to work-out’.
You have the power to get done anything in your career life but you push your health to the background.
The fact is that a low-energy executive is a problem for any company.
Decision making and attention suffer and inevitably all areas of life are impaired by your fitness levels.
Try thinking of fitness as just one of your career goals. It fuels your performance in all areas of life.
Set yourself challenges and feedback mechanisms. Score in your own exercise, with tools like pedometers and treadmill speedometers and odometers.
An exercise professional can help you set a program that fits your busy lifestyle and helps you achieve goals in personal and business life.
Get Expert Help
Check with your doctor before increasing the intensity or nature of your workouts. Once you have clearance, talk to your Urban Fitness Solutions trainer about exercises and dietary changes that might help with your health.
At Urban Fitness Solutions we promote healthy living and mobile personal training to suit your age and lifestyle. We aim to encourage and support you through your fitness goals whilst taking into account any previous medical conditions or sporting injuries you may have.
We believe that personal training for older adults keeps both mind and body strong ensuring a healthier and happier lifestyle. If you’re looking for a new lease on life then give us a call today.