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Why Aren’t Seniors Exercising More?

by Jeff Dailey
Why Aren’t Seniors Exercising More?

shutterstock_194580695People of all ages, and especially seniors, avoid exercising for a variety of reasons. They think it’s too hard, too boring or they’re disappointed by their ability to stick with it. Take a look at some of the most common reasons seniors aren’t exercising and use our ideas to motivate yourself to start exercising NOW!

Exercising seems like a chore, instead of an enjoyable activity.

Do you find exercise boring or overwhelming? For you, the challenge is to find activities that are more enjoyable for you and easy to do. We can help! You might also think about exercising with a friend or a group of people – by joining a class or walking with a friend. Exercise will help you feel more involved and connected if you do it with others and find activities you like. Set yourself a mission to think differently about exercise because it can help you live a longer and healthier life.

I can’t stand the idea of exercising every day for at least 30 minutes.

That’s okay because exercising for several 10-minute periods a day can be just as effective as one 30-minute period. To get some ten-minute exercises, park in the farthest space at the shopping mall, or leave the car a couple of blocks away from your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do some of your own housekeeping or gardening.

I’ve always heard “no pain, no gain” and I don’t want to be in pain.

When you exercise, you should raise your heartbeat and breathe a little heavily, but you shouldn’t be hurting. In fact, if you push yourself so hard that you hurt, you may injure yourself. You can get plenty of good results when you exercise without pain. In fact, if you exercise in short ten-minute spurts, you may not even perspire heavily!

I’m already tired. Exercising will just make me more exhausted.

Physical activity will actually make you more alert – and will help you sleep better at night, which will make you less tired during the day. When you exercise, endorphins are released in your body. These make you more relaxed and give you energy!

I’m not sure what exercise programs are best for me.

As a senior, you may have specific conditions or diseases that should be taken into account before you begin an exercise program. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is best for you , and what types of exercise you should avoid. Your doctor may be able to connect you with a physical therapist who can assess your strengths and weaknesses and advise you about an exercise plan. A fitness instructor at the gym can do the same, but make sure you tell him or her about your limitations.

I can’t exercise because of a medical condition or physical limitation.

If you have a disease or disability, you may not be able to exercise as you once did – and this can make you feel frustrated or depressed. Don’t stop exercising now! This is when you need physical activity the most. Exercise can make you feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally – and can improve your mobility and reduce frailty.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, think about what you can do. Positive thoughts produce positive results. Talk to your doctor to find out what type of physical activity is best for you, and ask your doctor to help you locate a health professional to help design your exercise plan.

I don’t have the money to join a gym or buy expensive equipment.

There are lots of ways to exercise without ever walking in the door of a gym or purchasing fitness equipment! You can do lots of activities at home – indoors or out, with no specialized equipment. Meeting a friend for a walk or bike ride. Take a dance class at the senior center. Use resistance bands against your furniture, floors and walls to increase your strength. None of these activities require you to join a gym or buy equipment.

I don’t know how to use the equipment at my gym.

Are you avoiding the gym because you don’t understand the equipment? Make an appointment with an instructor at your gym who can teach you how to use the equipment the right way. If you haven’t already joined a gym, talk to other seniors and your doctor to find out which gyms connect well with seniors and are less intimidating. The local YMCA and senior center are good places to start.
NOTE: Always talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Every type of exercise is not appropriate for all people, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. And it’s important that you start slowly with any physical activity.

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