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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?