Gransnet forums


Overcoming barriers to exercising over 50

(13 Posts)
Longrunkaren Sat 26-Dec-20 14:46:10

I just read the gransnet exercise survey and was very upset to hear of so many women reporting being too embarrassed about their bodies to exercise (I assume that means in public). I am passionate about the benefits of all forms of exercise for slowing down the ageing process, improving wellbeing and bringing a sense of purpose. I am a PhD student researching this topic, have been a runner all my life and and am also a running coach for more than 20 years. I would love to help people overcome their embarrassment and find the motivation to exercise, especially outdoors. We need to express solidarity with anyone trying to improve their health and wellbeing by exercising. So please believe me: the only thought I and many like me have when we see overweight, slow, older or out-of-shape people exercising is "good for you - you are getting out there and doing it"! Don't let self-consciousness stop you doing something that is SO good for your health and wellbeing.

icanhandthemback Sat 26-Dec-20 14:51:12

Pain is my biggest hurdle which I think happens to many over 50’s. I have spent a fortune on a pedal assisted electric bike but every bump in the road is painful. I will persevere but it doesn’t actually make exercise attractive at all.

M0nica Sun 27-Dec-20 08:02:53

I never realised that there were any barriers to exercise over 50.

I live in a village and everyday I see women of all ages and shapes out running. I do Tai Chi and did, pilates until COVID and swim on occasion. Lots of women - and men - do all of those and I also see many other older and old people at the gym, doing other exercise.

For anyone not to exercise because of their shape is ridiculous as they only have to open their eyes and look at others rather than themselves and they will soon realise that there is nothing remarkable about someone their shape or size exercising and no one will take any notice of them when they exercise.

OceanMama Sun 27-Dec-20 09:31:55

I exercise and don't care what I look like. One of the perks of getting older is being less self-conscious, I think.

Rosiebee Sun 27-Dec-20 09:55:36

When I first joined our local health club to use gym and pool, about 5 years ago I was about 63, overweight and very unfit. I was so worried that it would be full of "gym bunnies". My first time there was like a Saga day out! DH and I have an annual subscription now. Previously I did 20 mins on treadmill then about 4 lengths in pool. I did struggle but now do 30 lengths of the pool, think its 22.5 metre. Joining the Health club was one of the best things I've done. I was at a very low point in my life and really believe that the swimming in particular helped me sort through my anxieties. Still get a buzz when I come away.

M0nica Sun 27-Dec-20 10:20:36

We are regular spa visitors. Both DH and DD are overweight, it has never bothered them. DD swims several miles in each of three or four visits to the pool each week and even though she now has a badly scarred arm as well as her weight she doesn't give a toss. She loves swimming says, half joking, that she was a dolphin in a previous life.

I think there is an air of arrogance and self absorption in people who think everyone is always looking at them all the time.

Jane10 Sun 27-Dec-20 10:23:52

I loved going to the Aquafit classes at our sports centre. No sign of any embarrassment at all.
I used to be a runner and have ended up with 2 new knees. You young whippersnapper exercise freaks take note!!

Lollin Sun 27-Dec-20 11:03:40

longrunkaren don't you think if they feel like this at 50 it's likely that they've felt that way years/decades before and that it probably applies to med too? What are you actually researching?

Lollin Sun 27-Dec-20 11:04:19


M0nica Sun 27-Dec-20 13:50:17

I am well over 50 - my son will be 50 in 2021. I think people over 50 who have problems are either in the situation Lollin describes or are using their age/size/shape as an excuse because they do not want to exercise.

Theoddbird Sun 27-Dec-20 14:04:07

I use a walking exercise two sections...each a mile. Includes stretching. I also run on the spot... couldn't do that before the walking DVD. I can touch my toes again as well. I lift weights I am nearly 70. Age should not stop you exercising

Casdon Sun 27-Dec-20 14:08:57

Can’t help thinking this post would have got a lot more interest if it had gone up in January - slumping on the sofa after a three days eating bonanza isn’t the time to consider exercise seriously.

PamelaJ1 Sun 27-Dec-20 14:14:22

Exercising after 50. Forgive me but I thought that was quite a young age!
I am lucky because I don’t suffer from any pain while exercising. At my very great age of 67 I still play tennis and go for long brisk walks.
I agree with Lollin and MOnica they don’t want to excercise. I presume that the reason they could be embarrassed would be that they are overweight?
Nothing to stop them doing something at home on their own if they want to. Even doing weight lifting with bags of sugar uses up calories and builds muscle. There are so many apps available as well as Joe Wickes to help these days.