What about: “I don’t like waiting on old people because they’re so tight with their money.”
These are all part of the persistent myths attached to people over 50. But like many myths, they’re wrong when it comes to the millions and millions of active agers who are fit and determined to enjoy life as long as possible.
We’re here to help you do the same. So, let’s shake off some nonsense today!
Focus on Function, Not Age
Cody Sipe, a professor and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, fights ageism and focuses on functional ability rather than someone’s age.
He points out a few of the common false myths.
- Older people should never lift weights. In fact, not only can most mature people lift weights, but they should lift weights. Strength training builds muscle mass, which we lose as we age. And it protects bone health.
- Walking is good enough. Walking and jogging are nice first steps, so to speak – but we must do more. That includes strength, cardio endurance, balance and mobility.
- You’ll hurt yourself if you exercise. It’s more dangerous to sit around the house all day than to move your body with purpose.
Marketing Misses the Boat
Marketing guru Jeff Weiss of Age of Majority has his own myths of what he calls “active aging.” All kinds of industries are missing out on the economic power of this demographic, to everyone’s harm.
Here are a few. Which ones ring a bell?
Myth: Getting older is really depressing, and you have nothing to live for.
Truth: Consumers are happiest between 65 and 79. Active agers have the time, money and desire to explore their sense of adventure.
Myth: Seniors don’t have money to spend.
Truth: Consumers over 55 control 70 percent of all wealth and account for 40 percent of consumer spending.
Myth: People are necessarily frail as they get older.
Truth: Exercise keeps us strong and limber throughout the stages of life.
Myth: Everyone longs to look younger.
Truth: People over 50, 60 and 70 who exercise feel better about their appearance than people 18 to 34.
Myth: Targeting older consumers could alienate younger ones.
Truth: Nonsense. Smart businesses (like us!) engage this lucrative market without worrying about alienating younger folks.
Myth: Active Agers are no longer productive in the workplace.
Truth: There is virtually no correlation between age and job performance.
Myth: Older consumers still rely heavily on traditional media when making purchasing decisions.
Truth: They use multiple digital and traditional channels on their “customer journeys.”
Myth: Oh, to Be Young Again…
Truth: Active agers embrace who they have become and are not longing to revisit their youth.
What myths annoy you the most? Which are still holding you back?
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.