Is Exercise Bad for You if You’re Over 50?

It’s come to my attention that certain perspectives on exercise, particularly for those over 50, are circulating in popular media. While I should start off by saying, we all know that news studios often use sensational headlines and fear to drive ratings – so “news” always should be taken with a grain of salt.

For individuals over 50, exercise should be an empowering activity that bolsters health, rather than a list of limitations. I’d like to commend those who, regardless of age, are engaging in exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and deadlifts. Such commitment is truly commendable and sets a positive example for others.

Pull-ups: Beyond muscle strengthening, they play a vital role in enhancing overhead mobility and shoulder stability. If you’re finding pull-ups challenging at the moment, there are plenty of alternative exercises like lat pull-downs or self-assisted pull-ups to get you started on the right path.

Push-ups: So much more than just an upper-body exercise. Consistently engaging in push-ups can help reduce the risk of wrist fractures, an issue that becomes more prevalent with age. If starting on the floor feels daunting, consider incline push-ups on a wall or counter as an initial step.

Squats with weights: This functional movement is crucial for daily activities. If rising from a chair has become more taxing, incorporating squats can make a significant difference. A goblet squat, utilizing a dumbbell, is an excellent introduction – or our personal favorite is squatting while hugging a medicine ball or sandbag.

Deadlifts: I say this often to new clients and members – being able to perform the movement that is the Deadlift is absolutely essential, pushing to see how much weight you can lift in this pattern is absolutely not essential. Lifting objects is an everyday activity, and deadlifts prepare us for that. While the goal isn’t necessarily to lift the heaviest weights, think about practical applications, such as comfortably lifting a grandchild.

It’s crucial to approach exercise advice with a sense of responsibility and to avoid causing undue concern or fear. Let’s remember: the objective is to foster a community where fitness is accessible and celebrated, not feared. Living an active life is a cornerstone of health, and we should strive to make it an attainable goal for everyone.

Encouraging safe and effective exercise is in society’s best interest – as the real dangers are not the risk of physical injury from activity, but the much greater more far reaching health risks from a sedentary lifestyle.