Why The Gym Isn’t Just A Young Persons Game
A common question or comment I get from people who may think they’re getting “old” is – “is the gym a place for someone like me or is it just for young people?”
And it’s a resounding YES, the gym is for everyone of all ages.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where as we get older, we start to view things we can no longer do due to our age.
But majority of the time, this is purely fictional and has been created by our own minds.
Gym’s and fitness are one of those activities where people are willing to accept that “ah sure this is just the way it is now” when it comes to your body and health.
We seem to accept any health issues as just one of those things you’ve to put up with now.
It’s to understand that you can undo a whole host of issues and roll back the years by exercising, strength training and becoming more active.
Now unless you’re Marty Mc Fly, then we all are ageing on a daily basis.
And with ageing, it brings about certain levels of degeneration in our bodies.
The two primary ones are:
- Loss of muscle tissue
- Loss of bone density
Both contribute to many problems down the line, primarily osteoporosis, injuries, worsening of posture and bone and joint pain.
Here’s a paragraph from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (Link: Benefits of Strength Training For Older Adults)
“Aging is associated with a number of physiologic and functional declines that can contribute to increased disability, frailty, and falls. Contributing factors are the loss of muscle mass and strength as age increases, a phenomenon called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can result or be exacerbated by certain chronic conditions, and can also increase the burden of chronic disease.
Current research has demonstrated that strength-training exercises have the ability to combat weakness and frailty and their debilitating consequences. Done regularly (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week), these exercises build muscle strength and muscle mass and preserve bone density, independence, and vitality with age.
In addition, strength training also has the ability to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and the signs and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes, while also improving sleep and reducing depression. This paper reviews the current research on strength training and older adults, evaluating exercise protocols in a variety of populations. It is clear that a variety of strength-training prescriptions from highly controlled laboratory-based to minimally supervised home-based programs have the ability to elicit meaningful health benefits in older adults. The key challenges as this field of exercise science moves forward are to best identify the most appropriate strength-training recommendations for older adults and to greatly increase the access to safe and effective programs in a variety of settings.”
So the primary focus for the older folk in a gym is to:
- Retain/Improve Mobility
- Retain/Increase Muscle Mass and Bone Density
- Increase Strength for daily function
- Increase fitness, health and wellbeing
Improving your mobility will lead to you moving so much better on a daily basis. You’ll also start to wind back the clock and realise you don’t need to feel as stiff or sore.
Not only that but it can also lead to you undoing any injuries you have and actually becoming pain free.
By working your muscle mass, you’ll preserve that vital lean tissue that helps you go about your day. By getting stronger then your simple daily functional tasks get easier – think getting up off a chair, climbing a stairs, opening jars etc.
Your bone density is of a huge importance. Unfortunately, we all know an elderly person who had a simple fall only to break/fracture bones.
And the older we get, the longer to can take to recover.
So by getting in and lifting weights, you can counteract it and start to bulletproof yourself against any falls or accidents.
Not only that, but you will maintain better posture as you age.
So overall, gyms are for everybody who is looking to better themselves and feel great.
We should never use age to restrict ourselves from doing anything we can enjoy.
Some simple workouts 2-3 times a week can have a huge benefit to not only your body, but your mind and health too.
Your training programmes should be tailored to suit you as an individual and ensure safe training while still making progress.
But it doesn’t mean you just flap about with the 4kg dumbells forever.
Over time, you need to continue to challenge your body in order for it to grow.
Don’t be afraid of taking on the challenge.
And yes, there are people “your age” in the gym, if not older.
Nobody will judge you for having more life experience than us.
Gym’s aren’t just for the young ones.
Hope this has given you some food for thought.