Too Old To Exercise?

What types of exercises should I be doing as I age, and how much? As we age, it is clear that our body changes and our ability to train hard, react quickly, cut and dodge deteriorates, but that doesn’t mean we should be doing things to keep what we have as intact as possible, for as long as possible. On Monday two articles were published in the Washington Post about aging and exercise. One was about a 69 year old woman running her 12th marathon. She is dealing with the struggle of comparing her 69 year old self to her 39 year old self. How can you accept that your performance is not what it used to be, but still be happy and grateful? As she puts it, “My younger and faster self was gone for good. But then it hit me. There is another stage: exhilaration. I feel it each time I finish a marathon, and this time it was no different.”

Although she finished her marathon over two and a half hours slower than her personal best, over 30 years ago, she did it. Now, we are not saying that everyone in their 60s and 70s should go out and run a marathon, but the advantages of keeping up with your exercises as you age are endless. “In recent years, I have reconnected with many friends from high school and college, some have gained weight or are having knees and hips replaced. Another struggles with a spinal disorder and can’t even walk to her mailbox.” “But I still go out every morning and run. And I look at every mile as a gift, regardless of how fast I run it.”

There was a second article published about the effects of swimming and motor skills. Can swimming regularly decrease the risk of falls in the elderly? Why the research is not completely conclusive at this point there is one interesting point. The primary form of exercise for many older adults is walking, but this may not be enough. Although you do need balance to be able to walk, it may not be strengthening the core balance muscles. As the article states, “they should regularly participate in complex motor activities and not only functional walking.” Such activities can include swimming, dancing, or even tennis.

The key element that we wanted to take away and share from these two articles is, even though one may be aging, you are not to get discouraged by your ability, when compared to your younger self. You need to stay active and change up your routine. Try something that uses some muscles that you haven’t used in a while, especially in your core area. Those muscles play a key role in balance and reaction times. You are not too old to exercise, just maybe too old to do the same exercises you did in your 30s…and that is perfectly okay.

Please take a look at the two articles mentioned above.

Aging Marathoner: Still running, but at a much slower pace

Why Swimming May Be the Best Exercise As You Age

–  Georgetown Home Care