With everyone talking about the Super Bowl half time show over the weekend, I started to think about age. Well, I thought of a few other things like double standards and what not, but I’m not going to get into that here. What I did think was that Shakira and Jennifer Lopez showed that age is nothing but a number. True, they have trainers, chefs, and body work techs a their beck and call. It’s their job to be in the best shape all the time. However, I could list a dozen people I know in real life who are those ages or older and are in fantastic shape with no trainers or chefs. And then there’s the article that came out in the New York Times recently from Lindsay Crouse about women distance runners in their 30s and 40s who are running faster than they ever thought possible.
They aren’t letting age hold them back from working hard.
Last year I wrote a post about dropping the excuses after hearing a poll that said 40% of Americans believed that 41 years old is too old to work out.
Yes, that’s right, 41. And that’s not 41 in dog years, that’s human years.
As someone who is about to turn 42 in two months, I can attest that I do NOT feel too old to workout. In fact, I feel better than I did in my 20s and 30s. I’m running up mountains that in my 30s I only thought it was possible to hike up. Now, everything seems runnable. I have zero plans to stop running or working out when I hit a certain age. I hope to still be working out in my 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
In my years of working in the fitness industry, I’ve had many, many people who were still exercising in their 80s and 90s. And then there’s George Etzweiler, the 99 year old man who has run the Mount Washington Road Race every year for the past 14 years. He didn’t start running till age 49…wow, way too old to start exercising. *insert eye roll and sarcasm* There is no age limit on exercise. Once you have that mindset, you are screwed.
But the more I thought about it, I realized saying you are too old to do something boils down to yet another excuse, especially when it comes to exercise when there seems to be a 10,000 reasons why it doesn’t happen.
In addition to the “I’m too old” excuse, there’s the usual:
It’s too hot/too cold
Too early/too late
It’s raining/snowing/windy/sun is shining
I’ve got too much work to do
And of course, everyone’s favorite – no time
The thing is, there can always be an excuse if you don’t want to do something.
As we all know, the hardest part is getting started. It doesn’t matter if you are a life long exerciser, if you stopped for awhile or if you have never done it. Once you make the first step, you’re already making progress. You know what to expect so that second step is a little less scary.
So let’s debunk the excuses:
I don’t have time
Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day as you. How is it that some people have found a way to exercise during these same 24 hours? They make the time. What you are really saying is “I don’t have time for that.” And that being exercise. Making time for exercise doesn’t mean it will take over your day. All you need is 30 minutes (try this 30 minutes or less workout). It could be waking up a little earlier than usual, taking a walk during your lunch break, strength training while watching your fav TV shows, whatever it takes to get moving.
Exercise is boring
News flash – the majority of things we do every day are boring. But would you skip brushing your teeth because it’s boring? No! Same thing with exercise, we do it because it makes us healthier. If you think your workouts are boring, try something else until you find something that is less so. Try a class at the gym. Take up CrossFit. Get a Peloton for home or try the app. Lace up your sneakers for a run. Jump in the pool for some laps. There is something out there for everyone to enjoy.
I’ve got kids
And so do I and a lot of other people who exercise. I get it, especially when you have young children at home with you. Finding time to exercise when you have kids can be tricky especially if you are a single parent or have a spouse who travels a lot. Maybe you wake up before everyone else to get it done. Or if you head to the park, don’t sit on the sidelines, join in playing tag, climbing on the monkey bars or whatever activity is going on. Or try this workout with bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere. My kids love joining me on a run either on their bikes or running with me. Having kids should not be an excuse for skipping on exercise, it should be a reason to exercise.
I’m too tired
Chances are your tiredness is from not getting enough exercise. Sitting at a desk and looking at a screen all day can leave you feeling exhausted even though your only movement was in your eyes and fingers. Give yourself the 10 minute rule: If you still are feeling tired after 10 minutes of exercise, give yourself permission to stop. Most times, you will forget about being tired. If not, keep trying. It will happen.
It’s too hot/too cold
Last time I checked, most gyms have air conditioning and heat. If you don’t want to run, walk, or exercise outside because of the weather, go earlier in the day or later in the afternoon, or wear weather appropriate clothing. (Here are tips for running in the heat , cold and rain). You can’t wait for perfect weather. You make due with what you have.
So for those who think you are too old to exercise, I beg to differ. There is no age limit on fitness. Oddly enough, this same poll that showed the respondents “felt better when they exercised”, had more motivation and were overall happier people.
Aren’t those reasons enough to START to exercise?