I hear it at least once a day. “I’m too old for this” or “Take it easy, I’m old” or some similar phrase telling me why a client can’t do something. I just shake it off, give them a look, and ask them “You’re doing right now aren’t you?” I push just a little bit harder on that exercise if I end up hearing those words, just to show them that it’s possible to do it.
Why I don’t like those words…
Plain and simple: words like these are negative to yourself especially in a fitness setting. We’ve already talked about being positive when it comes to changing your lifestyle. Why bring negativity to the experience to make it harder on yourself? Negativity is detrimental to any goal in life, not just health and fitness related ones.
The “I’m too old” mindset tends to put a limit on what one can accomplish. Take a look at these people:
George Hood is a 57-year-old former Marine. You’ve probably heard of him in the last year as he was the man that broke the plank record. He spent 5 hours 15 minutes 15 seconds in the plank position breaking the previous world record by 49 minutes and 15 seconds.
This is Willie Murphy, a 77 year old grandmother that can lift twice her bodyweight! That’s 215 pounds at almost 80 years of age! In addition, she can do one-handed pull ups and pushups.
In 2015, Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to complete a marathon at 92. Sure, it took 7 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds to complete, but she did it!
Age is a limitation we use on ourselves in many aspects. When I hear that while training someone, I hear that they don’t think they can perform the exercise or it is too hard for them in their mind. It especially irritates me when they haven’t even tried it yet. Why say you can’t do something before you even try? Yes, it may seem hard. Yes, it is uncomfortable. But most of the time, YOU CAN DO IT! You see those 3 people up above? Do you think they put limits on themselves? I doubt it because they wouldn’t have accomplished the feats they did if that were the case. They are proof that age is really just a number. Health and fitness don’t care about it all that much. Now, I’m not saying that keeping up with exercise is going to be easy as we age because that’s not how it works. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it’s going to be.
The Right Approach
So if you’re one of those people that think age determines what kind of exercise you can and can’t do, think again. We tend to blame things like joint pain, muscle stiffness, and weakness on age, but age isn’t always the culprit. Joint pain stems from multiple diseases like arthritis, muscle stiffness comes from a lack of stretching, and weakness from not challenging our muscles. A 30-year-old can have all of these symptoms as well. So before you say you’re too old to do something, think about the real reason and don’t blame age. Everyone is capable of so much more than they think. It just takes the determination to push past the barriers.
In closing, I would like to challenge you all to ditch the age excuse and push through the discomfort. We’re not going to force you to do anything that we don’t think you can do. But if the only reason that you don’t like it is because it’s hard, we’re just gonna push you through it. If everything were easy, where would all the fun be? As I said, the older we get, the harder it’s going to be, but who doesn’t like a good challenge?