40 & Fit: 6 Exercise Excuses & How to Ditch Them

It all started a couple years ago.  I went to the eye doctor the year of my 40th birthday annoyed that I was having trouble reading labels.  He laughed and said, “How old are you? … Yup, it’s about that time!”  Not long thereafter, I visited my primary doc who had similar sentiments.  “No more of this showing up once every couple years when something’s wrong.  I need to see you every year… you’re 40 now for Pete’s sake.”

Good grief!  What was happening?  What does everything fall apart at 40?!

I’m here to tell you, yes… yes, it does.  UNLESS you do something about it.  My doc gave some pretty simple advice: eat 6 small healthy meals a day, avoid processed foods, drop about 10 pounds and EXERCISE.  Hey, I was active.  And I exercised.  Sometimes.  OK not that much.  But I was super busy and tired and blah, blah…  I had all the excuses (good ones), and then 40 smacked me in the face.

If you’re in a middle age rut, here are some top excuses for avoiding a fitness regimen and reasons why you should toss them to the wind (for your health).

I haven’t exercised in years.  Why start now?  Many baby boomers are overweight causing risk for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which can lead to a stroke. If you want to maintain your health through your 50s and beyond, the time to start working on that is, well, now.

I’m afraid of getting injured.  One problem with middle agers is that we occasionally forget we’re not 20 anymore.  After periods of little attention to exercise, we decide to get back on the band wagon and go hog wild.  We set goals like doing a marathon in the next three months even though we haven’t done a 5K in a decade.  We get hurt and then succumb to, “I just can’t exercise anymore.”  You can, just maybe not the way you used to.  It may require different training strategies, more rest periods, a different sport, but you can do it.

I’m too tired.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I know.  You’re busy.  Too sleepy to get up early.  Too tired to exercise at night.  Your lack of exercise yields overall less endurance and your energy continues to spiral downward. Bite the bullet and break the cycle.  Exercise regularly, but realistically.  This is tough at first.  Start with just a few days a week.  You will begin to sleep better, feel more rested, improve your endurance, and have more energy.  It works.  Truly.

I have no time.  Take a look at what activities consume your time that are LESS important than your health.  I did this and found that I certainly could fit in 30 minutes of exercise most days.  Make it a priority. Like brushing your teeth.  If you don’t do it, bad things will happen.

I can’t do what I used to.  Whether you have a new physical disability or just wear and tear on your joints, don’t throw in the towel.  Find activities you can do that you enjoy.  If it’s being outside, then walk or hike or wheel instead of running.  Or try something totally different like salsa dancing or adaptive sports.  Just get moving. 

I don’t know what to wear to the gym.  I don’t know how to use the machines at the gym.  I’m scared of the gym. This has a simple solution.  Get over it or do something else.  You don’t have to use equipment for a great workout, and you don’t have to belong to a gym to exercise.  But if you really want to, then find a place where you feel comfortable.  Many gyms have staff that can help orient you to all they offer.  Take advantage of this to exercise safely.  If you’re in the Delaware Valley area, one great option is Magee’s Health & Wellness Center. It’s a judge-free zone where you have access to expert and super friendly staff to help you achieve your health goals.

What other excuses have you overcome?  Let us know and we’ll share!  To our health!

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