Aging and the Importance of Physical Activity

  • I’m too old and it’s too late to start now
  • I have arthritis, osteoporosis or other health problems
  • I don’t have the energy
  • I’ll hurt myself

If any of the above excuses sound like something you’d say when approached about being physically active, then you are one of many people who feel the same way. However, all of the above excuses are just that, excuses.

In 2011, the percentage of individuals who were ages 46 to 70 years of age was approximately 33 percent of the population in Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/).  That is a third of our population that still has a minimum of 20 more years to live. So I ask you this, if you are in that category, why would you let those 20 years and your independence go to waste by not keeping physically active?

What do I mean by physically active? The definition of physical activity is as follows: Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscle that requires energy expenditure. While we are here we might as well define exercise as well. Exercise is defined as: activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.

So with that in mind, here are some benefits of physical activity and exercise that will help to turn those excuses on their heads.

  1. I’m too old and It’s too late to start no. Wrong. One of my most successful clients is a 65 years young lady who’s exact words to me when I met her were “I am worried I am too old to be at the gym.” My response to her, “You are too young not too!” As mentioned at 65 people still have at least 20 years to live. This group is usually retired and therefore don’t have the same physical demands as they once did. Guess what, the old adage is true, don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It is your independence. It is your ability to walk around the block, or even to the bathroom. It is your ability to carry yourself without the assistance of a walker or cane.
  2. I have arthritis, osteoporosis or other health problems. Perfect. This makes you the best candidate for physical activity and exercise. One of the best ways to keep arthritis and osteoporosis at bay is to keep those joints and your body moving! Yes, it will hurt to start but the more you use it the better everything will feel. A majority of my clients with these diseases find that the more they come see me, the better they feel. Almost all diseases that afflict individuals in their later years are benefited by physical activity. I don’t expect you to run a marathon, I just expect you to move through actions that relate to your daily activity requirements with ease.
  3. I don’t have the energy. Regular activity releases endorphins, those endorphins help to increase your energy. Also regular activity means you are expending pent up energy which in turn will allow you to sleep better and feel more rested.
  4. I’ll hurt myself. Going into a gym or training program has that potential if you do not educate yourself. As I mentioned you do not need to be able to run a marathon or lift a car. If you are concerned and you don’t have experience with the gym, seek help. The greatest benefit to Burman’s PE Center is that you have access to three great resources:
  • Senior Fitness Class– These start in September and January
  • Morning Aquacise
  • Personal Trainer Cortney Taylor who specializes in Adapted Physical Education and she has also taken Functional Independence Training for older adults.

Do not let fear or your age stop you from living your life to the fullest, and being able to live it to the ripe age of 101 completely independent. It is a simple step that can make a huge beneficial change in your life and your overall health.

-By Cortney Taylor (cortneyt@shaw.ca or 403-302-8611)

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