Jeremy Ryland / Last Updated April 30th, 2017
There are young business professionals looking to correct unhealthy habits and start down a better path. People in their 20’s and 30’s working to avoid potential health problems. Fitness enthusiasts come here to train for events or break out of plateaus. Some are from a few hours away – others come to us from across the world.
We also see many clients in their 40’s and 50’s. Some come to Weight Crafters for the benefits of a fitness vacation, getting away from hectic lives and careers while taking some much-needed time to recover mentally and rebuild physically. Others have experienced a medical crisis that awakened them to the need to change their lifestyle, or were recommended our program by a doctor or other medical professional.
And then there are those who come to us in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. This group frequently questions whether fitness camp is right for them. Will it be safe? Some have had medical work done in the past and fear inflaming old injuries. Will they fit in? Many expect us to have a “cut-off” or age limit. I’ve spoken with more than a few people in their mid 80’s who want to feel younger and more energetic, but are afraid of the exercise routine, or simply don’t know if it’s possible to get in shape at their age.
If you’re over 50, staying active and maintaining a fitness routine can often land on the back burner. Family concerns, career decisions and much more tend to take center stage – but if you want to live a long and productive life, staying active should always stay at the top of your list. This is why we set up True Fire Silver, our advanced senior fitness and weight loss program.
Myth: Exercise is too dangerous at my age. I might fall or hurt myself.
Fact: Regular exercise will help to prevent these kinds of injuries. By increasing your strength and stamina, you are equipping your body to better handle all kinds of daily tasks. A good fitness routine will also help you retain bone mass, as well as improve balance, coordination and range of motion. This effectively helps you avoid accidents, equips your body to better cope with them if they do happen, and improves your resilience and speed of recovery.
Myth: My body isn’t what it once was, and trying to exercise is too frustrating / not worth it.
Fact: While it’s true that our bodies decline as we age, exercising and staying active is our most powerful weapon against this. Hormone changes, muscle mass, metabolism and bone density all contribute to lowered physical performance as we grow older. These biological changes are inevitable – but their effects pale in comparison to living a sedentary lifestyle. We have seen 80-year-olds at Weight Crafters filled with youthful energy and vigor because they have maintained active lifestyles – and 35-year-olds who could not keep up with them because they did not. The secret to feeling young is staying active. Don’t believe me? Ask Olga Kotelko (pictured above.)
Myth: My body hurts too much already. I’m too weak and tired, or have constant aches and pains that will just get worse.
Fact: All of those things will certainly get worse if you don’t get up and get active – whereas regular activity and exercise can slow or even reverse these symptoms. If you feel weak and worn out, starting a fitness routine may seem daunting – but a few weeks into it you’ll feel more strength, confidence and energy than you ever expected. If you have joint pain, remember that exercise improves the way your body moves, and low-impact activities that build muscle will help you reduce the stress on your joints rather than increasing it.
Increased metabolism and weight control.
Exercise helps to build muscle mass and increase metabolism regardless of age. As we get older however, metabolism tends to slow naturally, often causing unhealthy weight gain. Staying active helps to counter this, both by stimulating increased calorie burn and by building / maintaining the lean muscle needed to burn more calories.
Improved confidence and mood.
Improved physical conditioning boosts self-esteem and inspires confidence. Additionally, during brisk exercise the body releases endorphins that interact with the pleasure centers of the brain. The effects can vary from a mild “good feeling” to what is called a “runner’s high” – and more importantly, studies have shown that this effect is a powerful antidepressant.
Reduces the risk of diseases and chronic illness common to seniors.
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight and diet have been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. The reasons vary depending on the illness, or in some cases are still unclear. What we do know is that staying active and fit improves digestion, blood pressure and circulation, immune response and bone density. Strength training has also been shown to improve the symptoms of arthritis.
Improves mobility, range of motion, balance and coordination.
Our bodies adapt to our daily activities. This means maintaining strength, muscle and flexibility for certain kinds of tasks and motions, while letting other muscle groups shrink and joints set. As we age, these specializations become more evident in the forms of reduced flexibility and difficulty performing uncommon tasks. We even grow shorter as we age and our bodies settle. Exercise works directly against this process, helping to rebuild lost strength, increase flexibility, improve range of motion, and improve coordination. Improved balance and reflexes also help to prevent injuries – both during exercise, and in daily life.
Improved brain function and mental acuity.
Most people are surprised to learn that our brains consume up to 20% of the calories we burn each day. Even more are surprised to discover that physical exercise has more effect on brain health than mental exercises like puzzles or chess. Vigorous exercise improves neurotransmitter levels, boosts memory retention, increases learning potential, and releases chemicals that promote growth and regeneration of brain cells. All of these factors work together to decrease the risk of dreaded mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as slow their progression.
It’s understandable to fear exercise, especially if you have sustained an injury recently or haven’t been physically active in a long time. You’re right to be concerned. Our bodies aren’t as resilient as we grow older, and jumping into an intense workout routine without expert guidance can do more harm than good.
At the proper rate and with the right techniques however, anyone can benefit from fitness training – regardless of age or medical history. Here are a few of the things we watch for, and ways we approach senior fitness training for our clients 55 and older:
Get medical clearance before you begin.
Nobody knows what your body is and isn’t ready for better than your doctor. At Weight Crafters, we require that clients with preexisting conditions and other risk factors provide a doctor’s approval to attend our program for this very reason.
Your doctor will typically provide guidelines on what kinds of exercise to avoid or perform more carefully to avoid inflaming existing injuries or putting undue strain on weakened systems. He/she may also recommend planning out your schedule to account for medications or blood sugar monitoring.
Take it easy getting started.
If you haven’t been active in some time, suddenly jumping on a treadmill and running 7 miles isn’t going to end well. Starting off at a level you can handle may seem like common sense, but overdoing it on the first day is one of the biggest mistakes new exercisers make.
Always seek the guidance of a skilled trainer who knows how far is too far. Pushing yourself too far too fast may not only discourage you, but could even put your life at risk. At Weight Crafters our team is used to hearing, “I could have done a lot more of that,” on day one. By day three, they’re glad they didn’t. Trust your trainer, and stop where they tell you to.
Watch for these warning signs.
Exercise will push your limits and wear you out – but it should never leave you in serious pain or make you feel bad. If you experience any of these during your fitness routine, stop and consult your doctor or a medical professional immediately:
Additionally, watch for pain, swelling and tenderness in your joints, as well as unexpected pressure changes in your ears. These can be indicators that it’s time to focus on a different kind of exercise – or to stop entirely for the day.
Stick with low-risk, low-impact activities.
Running, crunches, deadlifts and strength training techniques like chest presses or overhead presses are great exercises – but they can put a lot of strain on your joints, shoulders, chest and lower back if you’re not already accustomed to doing them. If you run frequently, your body can probably handle running more without a problem – but if you’re new to physical exercise it’s best to avoid anything that can inflame your joints or damage tendons and muscle groups that aren’t used to being used.
Instead, look at low-impact exercises. Walking for example, is far easier on your knees and hips than running. Likewise, spending some time on the rowing machine will offer many of the same benefits as a free-weight strength workout, with far less risk of injury.
If you already have trouble with join pain, there are other even lower-impact activities that can help. Swimming, water aerobics and the elliptical machine are favorites at Weight Crafters because they provide powerful workouts with minimal impact – especially for clients who are significantly overweight, have had a hip replacement, or are dealing with chronic joint pain.
The most important part of any exercise routine for any age group is sticking with it. For seniors this means setting reasonable, age-appropriate goals and looking for a range of enjoyable, low-impact activities that can be changed up regularly.
Make a long-term plan. Here are some pointers, to recap:
In addition to having a bullet-proof plan and tracking your progress, try these extra tips for staying motivated:
We are an all-inclusive live in weight loss and fitness camp for adults in beautiful Madeira Beach, Florida.
We specialize in helping men and women of all ages from 18 to 82+ regain mobility, build muscle, lose fat, and build healthy habits that will help them continue down a healthier path in life.
Alarming research shows that due to obesity, the next generation will probably be the first in American history to have more health problems and die younger than their parents.
Just how important is exercise in your weight loss plan? That could depend on your NEAT factor. Learn more about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and how it can help you reach your weight loss goals...
Want to reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis? How about increase your life expectancy? These two studies suggest ways that changing your diet and getting in shape could help...
More than a third of American children and adolescents were either overweight or obese as of 2012. In 2013, 42 million infants and young children worldwide were overweight or obese. At current rates of increase, this number is expected to reach 70 million by 2025.
For many of us, the holiday season signals the beginning of a month-long event where the diet goes out the window and the calories don't count. Unfortunately, they do count - the average American will gain 5-9 pounds by New Years...
Your intake of pollutants from the air increases dramatically during exercise because you breathe faster and deeper. Learm more about whether outdoor exercise could actually harm your health.
Sleep deprivation isn't just a convenient excuse when you get a case of the yawns. It's a genuine health condition that affects your body and your mind in significant ways. So before you set an extra alarm on your phone and stay up that extra hour playing video games or out with friends, take a minute and read on.
Some of them are blatant, intentional deceptions, while others may appear to be harmless and even seem like common sense. Either way, falling for these myths can hurt your progress and make losing weight a lot harder than it needs to be.
Would you exercise more for $1,500? One health insurance company hopes so - and you need to take note of their motivations.
You can't change growing older - but you can manage the aging process. With the right adjustments to your daily lifestyle, you can take the bite out of turning 50. Or 60. Or even 70 and 80...
Physical exercise has always been good for your brain - and now we understand more about why.
Fast food is rarely good for you - but a new study now shows that it could also be increasing your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates.
New study shows that regular exercise lowers your risks of developing 13 different types of cancer - far more than previously identified.
According to a new study, eating a healthy diet when you're younger can have significant benefits helping you stay mobile as you grow older.
We've said a lot about diet pills and weight loss medications in the past, but today we're going to take a closer look at the various medications and pills out there, and give you an honest-to-goodness summary on what works, what doesn't, and why.
You don't need diet pills, anti-wrinkle creams, or expensive trendy foods to feel younger and more vibrant - here are 5 easy ways you can regain your youth right now...
Resistance training isn't just for body builders. Strength training is a powerful and proven tool for weight loss - but many people don't realize it.
Despite being classified as unfit for human consumption, exercise pills are being solid at an increasingly alarming rate...
Weight loss is as much about mindset as technique. Trainers, experts and healthy living enthusiasts share their top motivation strategies for weight loss in this definitive guide to keeping it on the rails...
The moment you bite into something tasty, your brain wants... no, demands more of it. Instantly self-control goes completely out the window. And every bite is followed by the desire for more. Learn more about food addiction, the eating disorder nobody thinks about...