Welcome to this article about ‘physical fitness and exercise – do mature adults want any part of them’. This topic has been taking up a lot of my time. Consequently, it concerns me immensely. Have attempted to find out what mature adults want or need to get them to do exercise and achieve physical fitness. It appears difficult from my search through discussion, answer questions platforms and a host of others. It has proved nigh on impossible as yet to find an answer that makes sense. Then recently came across the news that the US has just exceeded the 40% level in the population for obesity and overweight people. As someone who’s only aim is to ensure those mature adults are healthy, happy, fit and productive into longevity. This news was both not welcome and very disheartening.
Imagine the cost to the health system of the US and other countries too. When the health of 40% of the population is at risk of chronic diseases. That figure swells further the proportion of heart disease the number 1 killer of people in the US. It asks the question does the US mature adult population want to exercise or be physically fit. ?
What are the attitudes to ageing in different countries
If we look at attitudes to ageing in different countries we may get a flavour and some clues of how mature adults are thinking about ageing.
In the US
“Successful ageing is multidimensional, encompassing the avoidance of
disease and disability, the maintenance of high physical and cognitive
function, and sustained engagement in social and productive activities.” – Rowe & Kahn, 1997
“A way of living rather than a state of being” – http://positiveageing.org.uk/
“The process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in life as you age”. – Positive Psychology Institute
“Japanese conceptions of ageing are rooted in Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist philosophical traditions that characterize ageing as maturity. Old age is thus understood as a socially valuable part of life, even a time of “spring” or “rebirth” after a busy period of working and raising children.” – Karasawa, Curhan, Markus, Kitayama, Love, Radler, & Ryff (2011)
“The criteria are sufficiently inclusive, encompassing physical health, mental health, social engagement, and nutritional status, which in principle conform with both the WHO definition and the Rowe and Kahn model.” – Zhou, Liu, & Yu (2018) referencing the Chinese health criteria for the elderly.
“Positive ageing reflects the attitudes and experiences older people have about themselves and how younger generations view the process of ageing. It takes into account the health, financial security, independence, self-fulfilment, personal safety and living environment of older New Zealanders.” – Ministry of Social Development
“Active ageing is concerned with facilitating the rights of older people to remain healthy (reducing the costs of health and social care), remain in employment longer (reducing pension costs), while also participating in community and political life.” – Foster & Walker (2015)
Conformity in views among countries
As can be seen from the above quotes every country has a different slant on what it means to be ageing in their cultures. All wish to conform to the importance of being fit through exercise. Wanting mature adults to be productive, healthy and happy into their old age.
Everyone also knows the cost of mature adults not being committed to fitness levels and unhealthy. The cost to the countries healthcare system would be catastrophic. With projections of an aged population which all are experiencing.
Are mature adults adverse to exercise and physical fitness
It is well-known that exercise is very beneficial to mature adults. with physical fitness, through it, mature adults know that it is key to avoid chronic disease and will help them to live happier more fulfilled productive lives into old age.
Yet surprisingly statistics prove they are increasingly averse to doing what they know is good for them which is challenging to understand. Is it about only motivation or is there more to consider here
What are the possible issues not to exercise for mature adults
There appear to be issues that dissuade mature adults from exercising which appear very challenging indeed. They do know that they need to work out as their lifetime fitness depends on it. Personal trainers and gyms across the land point to the challenges being posed by mature adulys when they do show up. Even more alarmingly they are becoming few and far between in getting them to exercise. Therefore, what are these impediments?
What Are the common barriers mature adults are coming up against
This is all about confidence. Mature adults are losing confidence due to their own perceptions that they are not fit enough. To take on the workouts they require doing. This is a self-perpetuating circle as being sedentary will only make things worse when it comes to barriers
- Fear of Injury
This is linked to self-efficacy as confidence is lost then the fear of injury becomes more pronounced. The risk of injury becomes higher as mature adults lose the fluidity of motion required to negotiate everyday hurdles. The real possibility of a fall is also more likely as a result.
There are more mature adults admitting to laziness as a reason for not exercising. As a result, allowing apathy into their mindsets. Some complain that the workout itself is boring while others put it down to low energy levels. Among minority groups, African American and Latinos men and women stated a lack of determination was the main reason.
- Depression and Anxiety
This is a real issue as mature adults are dealing with mental strength and body competency changes. They are also dealing with the loss of loved ones, having to take care of older parents and feelings of depression that set in regardless of whether they exercise or not.
Human frailties kick in as we age and our self-body image diminishes in our eyes. This is given as a reason for not going to the gym for workouts as we are ashamed of the way we look to others. However, we do not have to go to the gym alone to get workouts. We can get exercise and retain our physical fitness in remote areas if need be.
- Health Problems
Disability, chronic illness, muscle and joints pain etc are all common problems that beset us as mature adults. They obviously can affect our ability to exercise and impact our confidence. In thinking on whether we are still able to workout.
- No Time
This links in with some others above. Mature adults have a lot of responsibilities be they children or older parents. They state that a lot of time is devoted to being at pharmacies, doctors or doing chores for the benefit of others. Who they have responsibility for. Consequently, They claim to have no time to devote to workouts even to the detriment of personal physical fitness.
- Lack of Knowledge
There are misconceptions here that workouts need to be uncomfortable and strenuous to be effective. This persuades mature adults from considering exercise as worthy enough. It is also totally false. Many within minority groups also state that they require instructions to exercise and can’t do it otherwise.
- Lack of Support
Mature adults who are sedentary claim they lack support from family and friends and that is a great barrier. It is also pertinent to note that mature adults who do exercise do not lack support as a barrier. This indicates that support from loves ones around them helps to get mature adults to exercise.
- Inconvenience, community structure and cost
These are identified by mature adults to be factors that affect the ability to exercise.
Ironically, Exercising is the Remedy for Barriers
What’s ironic is that exercising could improve or reverse the conditions that keep mature adults from exercise in the first place (i.e., fear of falling, anxiety, depression, poor body competence, etc.). Mature adults across ethnicities have reported improvements in productivity, self-esteem, mood, and overall health with increased physical activity.
Exercising reduces the risk of falling and developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. It improves the quality of life in people who are in poor health or disabled, increases feelings of self-efficacy, and reduces levels of anxiety and depression.
What role does exercise psychology play in the behaviour of mature adults in relation to exercise and physical fitness
As a result, relatively recent field exercise psychology concentrates on factors that that influence behaviour in exercise.
There has been much interest in this field as research has shown that consistent exercise affects positively a wide range of psychological and physiological conditions. Gaining both fitness benefits and positive health. Unfortunately, there are vast numbers of Americans that are not participating in active pursuits to gain these benefits. Besides, half of those who do manage to start an organized exercise program are likely to stop within the initial first six months.
These very concerning statistics help to focus the mind on why people are either active or inactive, questions that are the focus in exercise psychology.
Many obvious factors such as the cost to health systems and the nation’s productivity have contributed to the availability of extensive research into activity. The considerable barriers existing that face all segments of the population attempting to incorporate an active lifestyle. Government agencies, corporations, community groups and individuals are taking part in the promotion of physical activity and health. They have turned to utilize exercise psychology professionals to design programs helping to sustain healthy behaviours that lead to positive outcomes.
What are the theories of exercise behaviour
Psychological models concerning human behaviour are used to explain why people start to exercise. Why they don’t exercise and why they continue to exercise. Consequently, also why they start to exercise again after a period of inactivity. These models are as follows:
- The theory of reasoned action
- The Transtheoretical model
- The theory of planned behaviour
- Social cognitive theory
The Theory of Reasoned Action
This proposes that the main proponent to a persons’ behaviour is that persons’ intention to take action on the behaviour. As a result, it also includes a person’s attitude regarding that behaviour. Also, includes social pressures and norms to implement that behaviour.
In this context, context research has shown although it is a great model to predict exercise behaviour. When control is introduced into the model it becomes stronger in predictive accuracy.
The Transtheoretical Model
This model helps understand the dynamic stages that mature adults tend to move in and out of. Before, arriving at the final stage. It is all about embracing long-term healthy exercise behaviour. The stages are five in number
- Taking Action
- Maintaining That Action
Other factors include perceptions of loss and gain including the psychological barriers previously mentioned that involve family, friends, social norm effects on personal psychology.
The Theory Of Planned Behaviour
This is an extension and very closely linked to reasoned action. The difference lies in the addition of control. An individual is more likely to start an exercise program and maintain it if the intention is solid. His or her intention is anchored to their attitude. Which shows both perceived social support and exercise.
Social Cognitive Theory
This helps to explain exercise behaviour. People dissatisfied with their current exercise behaviour and who show strong self-efficacy achieve set fitness goals. Therefore self-efficacy is a powerful motivator and predictor as to whether those who set off on a journey of an exercise program will be generally more successful than those who do not exhibit strong self-efficacy intentions.
Thank you for staying the course in concluding this article on ‘Physical Fitness And Exercise – Do Mature Adults Want Any Part Of Them’. It is very challenging to get across to mature adults the importance of physical fitness through activity. The need for them to obtain the full benefits from their daily investments to their health, happiness, productivity and fitness into old age. Which comes through active and consistent exercise. All are now informed on the many barriers that confront the mature adult in attaining their fitness goals. Both in their daily and long term consistent effort required to achieve these goals.
If we know about what is likely to stop us to achieve our intended goals. We are better armed to tackle these barriers and overcome them. Trust, this read is both helpful and informative. What are your thoughts and views on the above? Where are you in your exercise program? Have you encountered the barriers above and have they affected you and your workouts? It would be most interesting to find out from you in the comments section below where they are most welcome and appreciated. Take care of yourselves and the best to you all.