The Exercise Myths of I Can’t, As We Age

Are there things you simply don’t try doing because you’ve already decided, for whatever reason, that you can’t do them? If so, are you really justified in your reasoning or are you simply making excuses? Could it be that if you actually tried doing some of these things you’re talking yourself out of, you might surprise yourself and be able to do and even enjoy doing some of them?

Let’s consider some typical “I can’t because” scenarios people frequently use for not engaging in a fitness programme and debunk some of the myths surrounding them:-

“I can’t balance” – Balance like any other fitness, can be improved by working on it. It is true that as we age our ability to balance starts to get worse. With training however, it can be improved, leading to better posture, movement, stability and increased confidence.

“I’m injured” – Talk to your doctor and seek advice. Depending on the extent and type of injury/ pain you have, some exercise might actually help ease the pain and speed up the healing process.

“I don’t have time” – Take an honest look at your day and how you are spending your time. If you placed more importance on exercise could you fit it into your schedule? Perhaps by reducing the amount of time spent watching tv or by getting up a bit earlier it could easily be done?

“My joints hurt” – If you suffer from arthritis or other joint pain issues you may think it’s best for you to avoid exercising. In reality, however, exercising can actually help to keep joints supple, improve quality of movement and reduce pain. Excess weight can also put extra pressure on joints so exercise can also help by helping prevent excess pounds from piling on.

‘I might injure myself” – The chances are that by not exercising as we grow older we are more likely to injure ourselves. Exercise that works on strength and balance can reduce the likelihood of falls.

“I’m likely to get a heart attack exercising at my age” – There is considerable evidence to show that you are far more likely to suffer from a heart attack from being a couch potato as you get older than from participating in an exercise programme.

“It’s too late for me to start now” – It is possible to improve your fitness levels at any age by adopting an active lifestyle.

If you are still not convinced that it’s possible for you to start introducing exercise into your life because you’re too old you might be inspired by the stories below of people who have certainly dispelled the myth around not being able to exercise because of being too old:-

Fauja Singh – Having not run since his late thirties, Fauja began running again in his eighties and entered his first marathon at the age of 89. He continued to run competitively until the age of 102 when he decided he would no longer compete but just run for pleasure!

Ernestine Shepherd – Ernestine began working out at the age of 56 and went on to be crowned the world’s oldest female competitive body-builder by the Guinness Book of Records at the age of 74.

We are conditioned to follow what we think and believe. Thinking that we cannot do something sets us up on a sure course to fail. Often when we think we cannot do something we perceive achieving it as being as likely as say winning the lottery. If you are plagued by this, try reflecting on the above inspirational examples and see if you can change your mindset to actually believing you can attain something if you are prepared to put the work in.

Henry Ford famously claimed “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Time and time again we see examples of this in action where attitude can truly determine success or failure. With this in mind, if you have been telling yourself you can’t exercise because of various beliefs you’ve developed, try looking at these again. Are your beliefs reality or are they myths you’ve chosen to believe which are merely serving to hold you back from achieving a healthier you?