If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I’m too old to workout. I just can’t get into shape at this age.”
This morning, in my San Diego gym, I was working out alongside an elderly individual. With his intense cardio and strength training routine, he put many of the younger guys to shame.
I noticed a World War II hat on the gentleman’s head – and so I asked him if he, like my grandfathers, had served in the war. Turns out, he had. Moreover, I also learned that he’s 91 years old. Yup, 91. If he’s not too old to workout, then what’s your excuse?
As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass. This condition is known as sarcopenia. According to the US National Library of Medicine:
Advancing adult age is associated with profound changes in body composition, the principal component of which is a decrease in skeletal muscle mass. This age-related loss in skeletal muscle has been referred to as sarcopenia… Reduced muscle strength in the elderly is a major cause for their increased prevalence of disability.
The good news is that sarcopenia can be prevented – and even reversed – through physical activity and exercise. In addition, exercise keeps metabolic levels higher, prevents reductions in bone density, improves aerobic capacity and better manages insulin sensitivity. In other words, though exercise is important for all people, it’s especially important for aging populations.
Instead of saying, “I’m too old to workout” it may make more sense to say, “I’m too old not to workout.”