Getting That Exercise Habit

What makes staying physically active so difficult as we grow older?

Despite medical warnings about the dangers of being inactive, especially for older people, making excuses seems more attractive than trying to stay fit.  For people over the age of fifty, failing to get a minimum of two to three hours a week can lead to a wide range of health problems including:

  • reduced muscle mass, bone strength, endurance, and physical strength
  • reduced balance and coordination
  • loss of mobility and joint flexibility
  • loss of cardiovascular function and reduced respiratory capacity
  • increased body fat
  • increased risk of serious illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke 
  • increased vulnerability to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Far too many older people tend to view themselves as being too frail or weak to take part in a vigorous exercise program and often feel uncomfortable in health classes or gymnasiums that seem to cater to younger clients. While there are fitness classes oriented towards older adults, getting motivated to attend and resisting the temptation to drop out when things seem too difficult can be discouraging as well.  

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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