Age is no excuse

You are never too old to get fit and as you get older keeping fit is all the more important. It is important because your metabolism slows and your body starts to deteriorate naturally. Muscles get weaker, bones get less dense, joints swell and become achy and every other part of you becomes less efficient (eyes, ears, brain and digestive function included). 

That all sounds terribly depressing but it doesn’t have to be so bad. By keeping up physical activity or taking up a new sport you can build back muscle tone and improve bone density and joint mobility.

I speak from very real experience. By the time I reached my mid fifties I had pretty much given up sport leaving me with little other than functional activities like running, walking and cycling as daily exercise. Thankfully at the age of 59 I was rescued from sliding into a life of decline when I discovered pole fitness and soon became obsessed with it as many younger people do. And at the age of 60 I attended my very first Aerial Summer Camp with Airetiko.

Coming into these fairly demanding sports at such a late age was daunting but it wasn’t impossible and the sense of achievement with every new trick learnt is so much greater as a result.

And I won’t lie to you. it is much harder for a 60 year old to bang out an iron X than it is for a 20 year old but I would argue that the 60 year old has more reason to do it and possibly also has more spare time to practice.

When you’re young you don’t have to think about fitness. You don’t make a conscious decision to get fit. You get fit simply by doing the things young people do – running jumping skipping, cartwheeling and so on. You are just naturally fit when you are young. Remember your days in primary school when you never sat still for more than a minute? You didn’t ever feel cold because you were always moving. You didn’t get stiff joints or sore muscles because, without even thinking about it, you kept the machine well oiled and in constant use.

In my mid fifties I was plagued with aches and pains. I had sciatic pain in my leg and lower back pain when I did any bending type jobs (like weeding the garden) and my finger joints were starting to look like my mother’s (she was crippled with arthritis). Now in my mid sixties I can honestly say that my joints no longer ache, my fingers haven’t buckled any further, my sciatic pain is gone and my back is almost as strong and flexible as it was when I was in my teens (I say almost because I am still working on that). All this is down to pole and aerial fitness.

And that’s not all. I have also gained confidence in myself and my physical capabilities. I no longer think of myself as someone who is getting old and weak. I’m not looking for Stannah stairlifts and walk-in bath tubs. I am getting stronger and fitter every day. 

I truly believe that aerial sports in particular are great for middle aged and older people. The benefits are immense. It helps build upper body strength; core strength and works all muscle groups. It also improves flexibility (reducing risk of injury). It improves tone (so you can still look great on the beach). It helps burn fat. It improves body confidence. And it promotes stronger bones and joints. Studies have even shown that taking up any form of dance can improve brain function and delay the onset of dementia. Is there anything on that list that an older person does not desire?

Pole is a little tougher for older people as it is best done in a bikini and not many older people are comfortable with that. It is also quite tough on the skin and unless your skin is quite firm it could be more painful. So it’s a good idea to take this one up before you reach 60 if you can but I do firmly believe it is never too late and I plan to be climbing poles well into my 70s and beyond.

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Soozie Campbell