Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Overcoming Intimidation: Age


Age can be a contributor to feelings of intimidation when it comes to physical activity. This can be a factor because you feel that you are unable to participate in an activity simply because you've hit a "magic number."

For example, say you're 55 years old and contemplating participation in a recreational sport. It could have been a sport you played when you were younger. However, when you look at others participating and see they are much younger, you say to yourself, "What was I thinking? I'm too old for this!" The participation. I heard people make comments such as these even if they are fully capable of participating.

Another way age can be a factor is when you don't think you will fit in a particular setting because of your age. Many times this happens in conjunction with joining a health club. Health clubs get stereotyped as places where only young people exercise. Of course, this is a myth. Health clubs are for people of all ages. All you have to do is walk in one and find out. Now I will admit, there are specific times of the day when specific age groups have tendencies to work out. If age is an issue for you, visit the health club when people your age are working out.

Here are some statistics that the older readers may find comforting. According to a 2002 IHRSA/ASD Health Club Trend Report, 36% of the health club population consists of baby boomers (ages 35 to 54). This 36% represents approximately 12.9 million people, a 143% increase for this age group since 1987. Even more favorable for older adults is the increase of people over the age of 55 in health clubs across the country. In 2002, the 55 + age group accounted for 19% of the health club population. This represents a 42% increase in the last five years.

Get yourself going, jump on the bandwagon and follow the trend.

I think what it boils down to is how old you actually feel. I know people who are 60 years old and talk, act and function as though they are 80. Yet, you'll find people in their late 70s who are more vibrant and active than some in their 50s. Remember, age is just a number. You're only as old as you feel.

You can start an exercise program at any age. Just because you're 65 years old and never exercised a day in your life doesn't mean you can't start now. I have clients who didn't start any kind of weightlifting program until they were well in their 80s. Even at this age they made some fantastic progress. Now, there are some forms of exercise you may need to avoid for safety or medical reasons. You should consult with your physician before starting something new.

The truth is that you should never feel too old to start exercising. If you're looking for the fountain of youth, exercise is as close as it gets!

Fitness Fact: Baby boomers represent 36% of the health club population.