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I'm too old

August 8, 2016

 

I'm too old 

 

This is something I hear quite a bit, "I'm too old to do that", which is one of those standard excuses along with "I don't have any time to get fit", "I'm too tired to do any fitness classes", "It's alright for you you find it easy" and so on. Having been a martial arts instructor and fitness coach for more than 30 years you hear all the same excuses time & time again. 

Now being past 50 myself hearing the excuse "I'm too old" has become more poignant, as I often hear this from people 10 or 15 years younger than me. It seems like in today's society that most people get into their 30s and think it's time to slow down. If you are going to do any type of fitness, you go jogging or take a yoga class, which happen to be 2 of the worst things you can do as core fitness workouts as you get older. The first one damages your joints and the second does not build any muscle, both of which are important as we age. The reasons they are so bad, especially as we age, are simple biology, after our mid 30s we start to lose muscle, about 1.5 pounds a year, plus we start to lose bone density and gain fat easier. 

Unfortunately bad information is the norm for fitness and diet industry, so do steady state cardio, eat a low fat high carb diet, don't lift heavy weights, avoid high impact training are the standard recommendations for getting fit or losing weight. All these have been proven to be wrong over and over again, but still they are sold to people, go to most gyms or personal trainers & I guarantee they will give you a program based on lots of cardio & minimal weight training. 

So why are they still selling this type of program to to people if it doesn't work? Several reasons from badly informed and lazy fitness professionals to unscrupulous trainers who know that they don't work long term  but are a great way to keep clients coming back. The same technique is used by diet companies, bad advice is used to keep people on the diet merry-go-round, that is why the biggest diet company is owned by the biggest food company. Diet companies, gyms & trainers use the 8 week rule, which is that everything works for 8 weeks. Whatever diet or fitness routine you do will work for 8 weeks & the fatter you are & more out of shape the better. This how you get the money back guarantee to work, the gym or trainer will choose clients that they know its going to work on short term knowing that long term all the weight will return plus a bit more. The person thinks ok I lost weight with that person or company so hands over more money, guess what for most people its less effective the second time round, so they keep trying and keep handing over more money.  

You still see over 50s low impact aerobics classes advertised when what we need over 50 is to pick up some iron, we need strength we should spend time getting stronger & not shrivel and die.

So what should you do? That's easy, lift heavy, walk a lot, sprint occasionally and find something active you love doing. 

Why should you lift heavy? The older we get the more muscle we lose so it is important to slow this down as much as possible and that can only be done by picking up heavy stuff and consuming more protein. The more muscle we have the more fat we burn, even just sitting doing nothing, plus for men lifting helps men increase their testosterone levels which decrease with age. And for women lifting heavy helps to decrease the loss of bone density which can lead to osteoporosis.

Walking is much easier on the joints than jogging and burns plenty of calories, sprinting is good for strengthening your heart and lungs as well as your legs. If you can't sprint outdoors or on a treadmill then on a bike is fine.

And if you can find an activity you enjoy doing such as swimming, climbing, canoeing or even yoga, then you forget that you're exercising and you want to do it more often. 

So however old you are pick up some heavy shit and start to feel stronger, happier, healthier  today and never say I'm too old to do something ever again.

 

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