These are the four reasons why over 60s stop exercising 35



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I treat many people with complaints resulting from too little exercise and mobility. Often they compensate for physical shortfalls rather than work on them, making them less resilient to pain and injury.

What stops these people from exercising? After many years in practice I believe these are the top four:

  1. Over-analysis: Maybe we should blame Google, but I see a strong correlation between people who read too much on exercise, do too much research, and have trouble committing. This information overload can make exercise seem more complicated than it is, which results in a kind of “analysis paralysis”.

People who overload on information also seem more likely to switch from one fad to the next without ever settling on a routine that is right for them.

  1. Procrastination: I see a lot of procrastination related to getting older, comments such as “it’s my age, its showing” and “aren’t I too old?” They suggest there’s no point exercising because age catches up with you anyway – but if that was the case, every 60 year old would have the same problems.

The reality is more positive: over-60s who exercise regularly feel fewer debilitating effects of ageing, and generally have a more positive outlook. If you plan on living to be 80-plus, isn’t it better to get there in relative health and wellbeing?

  1. Not settling on a routine: Flipping from one exercise routine to another prevents you from getting the full benefit of exercise. When you find a routine that is right for you the best thing is to stick with it, as you gradually build fitness in those key areas.

People often expect results too fast. They are expecting a change in just 14-21 days and when that doesn’t happen they try something else. My advice is that it takes 12 weeks to see the real benefits of an exercise routine, so if something looks promising commit for at least 12 weeks and see.

  1. Stopping because of injury, and never going back: Injuries will occur occasionally so you need a plan to deal with them – whether it’s an old familiar issue you need to work through, or whether you consult your physio. The worst possible thing is avoidance and too much rest.

Unfortunately, many over-60s are being advised to stop their sports altogether when they pick up an injury. But research shows that easing back into an activity at a reduced level and gradually building up again is far better than giving up.


Tell us, are you guilty of any of these? What type of exercise do you enjoy?

Kusal Goonewardena

Kusal is a physiotherapist with over 15 years’ experience at treating seniors, families and elite sportspeople. His clinical research has involved finding preventative cures for low back pain. Kusal has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm, all currently available via Wilkinson Publishing. Kusal holds a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from Latrobe University and a Bachelor in Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. Aside from his consulting with the general public via his clinic, Elite Akademy, Kusal works closely with Melbourne University’s Sports Medicine team and works with elite athletes including several Olympians. When not consulting, Kusal is a lecturer, author, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiotherapy students around the world.

  1. Here is another one. I come across a lot of people my age who would like to do some exercise but are not sure what to do and where to start. Walking is a great starting point and for lots more tips about exercises for seniors check out my blog at

  2. I m 75 years i think if we had a gim to go to that did not cost to much for half n hour to do tredmill n have a cupa together a few would go i know i would

  3. After a few illnesses and a couple of surgerys Walking caused me nasty lower back pain I gave up and sat in front of my computer One day I realised if I did not get up and use my legs I might well lose the ability all together I purchased a fitbit and set my self a reachable goal that I had to achieve every day I started doing them in small lots and they are getting easier to achieve now I have also had the benefit of losing some weight

  4. I tore my meniscus last May and couldn’t walk or bike. The only thing I could do is tai chi. I slowly built up from 10mins daily to one hour a day! I had my knee op this May and guess what exercise helped my recovery most?! Tai chi! I would really recommend it!

    2 REPLY
    • Eleanor, I had my knee op 4 weeks ago, and the knee is getting worse.I am doing the excercises given to me by the physio.
      How long did it take for your knee to be ” better” please?? I can’t walk very far without my knee collapsing on me.

    • I had the knee op in late May and it is 75 percent better. So that’s about 3 mths. I would practice tai chi daily in 10 minute lots as it strengthens the knee

  5. Number 1 – Yep. That’s me. Number 2 – Yep that’s me. Number 3 – Yep that’s me. Number 4 – never. As soon as I get some pain it’s like a bucket of cold water over my life. That’s what spurs me on to get back at least to my recent level.

  6. Go to Curves 2 or 3 times a week which is enjoyable, do a Zumba class there too..great fun. Been in a Fitness class once a week ( 1hr) for abut 11 years..still love it..and on other days a walk

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