Here are some of the questions we’re often asked regarding exercise after age 50. Let us know of any other questions you have! We are happy to answer them.
Question: Will lifting weights make me big and bulky?
Answer: No! Strength training is absolutely essential to healthy living as we get older. We’re not talking about bodybuilding. Trust us: It takes a ton of concentrated effort over a long period of time for healthy young men to get “big and bulky.” It will not happen to you.
But you will be preserving muscle, which is necessary for all movements, including everyday tasks like bringing in the groceries and picking up babies. You’ll also improve your balance, making you less likely to fall, and your bone strength, making you less likely to break something.
Q: Isn’t walking enough exercise for older people?
A: No, it’s not. Sorry – not sorry, as the kids say. Walking is a great start, so if you’re already doing it, then keep it up. And if you’re not, then by all means start. But you need cardiovascular exercise that’s more vigorous; strength training; and agility work, like stretching.
Q: What’s the best kind of exercise for me?
A: The kind that’s fun. The kind you will do regularly. The kind that helps you feel, move, and look better. That can be just about anything, and we can help you find the right activity and location for you, even if it’s not with us.
Q: Don’t you have to be in good condition to start exercising or going to a gym?
A: Absolutely not. Everyone is welcome. In fact, it’s out-of-shape people who need it the most.
Q: Won’t I have to spend hours and hours in the gym every day?
A: We’re not here to sell you endless time inside our four walls. We’re here to help you have the strength, stamina, and agility to live your best life for as long as possible. So, no, you don’t have to spend a great deal of time exercising. We have programs that will take as little as 30 minutes a day, three times a week. And don’t forget, while we hope you’ll work out with us at least a few times a week, you can get plenty of exercise without joining a gym or studio. When you’re with us, you can be assured it’s safe, effective and fun. And many people enjoy the friendships they make with staff and other members.
Q: Will I hurt myself?
A: You are more likely to hurt yourself if you are inactive. Fitness prevents injuries and chronic conditions; improves balance, bone density, and mental alertness; and helps us manage weight, blood pressure, and stress. The couch is far more dangerous than the gym!
Q: How much time does it take?
A: We all need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio activity, plus at least two sessions of resistance training.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.