Common Barriers to Exercise In Older Adults

There are legitimate barriers to why some older adults lose motivation and cease exercise.  

We want to offer some solutions to overcome these barriers and encourage physical activity for older adults.  

Self–efficacy

Many adults lose confidence in their ability to complete specific tasks as they age, and unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle exacerbates these perceived feelings of body competence.  

Fear of injury 

When older adults consider their bodies unfit and incompetent, fear of injury is natural. Fear of falling, getting hurt and general safety are some of the most commonly reported and of course, a lack of exercise only adds to the problem.  

Isolation

Most people, not just ageing adults, are usually more successful in staying consistent with exercise if they have a workout partner or an accountability buddy. Older adults are more likely to have lost a spouse, or their partner may be physically disabled. As a result, motivation to stay active also drops.  

Depression

As we age, we may see a decline in mental as well as physical health. The negative effects of depression make it difficult for older adults to stay active and motivated. 

Self-conscious

Older adults consider the worst part of ageing to be a change in their physical appearance. Poor body image can lead to a fear of exercise in gyms and other public areas, combined with a fear of judgement.  

Health problems 

Chronic illness, disability and joint pain are among the most common health problems, which act as a barrier for ageing adults when it comes to exercise. They may fear further pain, or assume they just physically aren’t capable. 

However, if you are in this position, you can overcome most of these barriers simply by getting your foot in the door.

A great way to start would be to enlist the help of a personal trainer in the early stages. This will help remove any worries surrounding confidence, fear of injury and a lack of support. 

In particular, strength training can be very beneficial for most ageing adults in helping to combat chronic disease, strengthening bones and ligaments, reducing muscle loss and improving cognitive function. 

How do you defy the ageing process? The answer might be more simple than you’d imagine. 
Read here about the science behind weightlifting’s benefits for the over 40s.