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5 Things You Can Learn From Elderly Gym Goers

November 9th, 2008 · 6 Comments ·
 
 

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As I normally work out at night, the crowd I meet made up of mainly young working adults. I took few days off recently from my work and I went to gym in the morning. I have befriend with several elderly gym goers. Before this, I am hesitant about joining fitness dance class or doing weight lifting with them. But, I was glad that I learn few tips by watching, listening and being friends with these senior citizens.

1) They May Look Weak But They Are Not Out
I watched an old man, probably at my dad’s age doing deadlift under the guidance of a personal trainer. Then, I saw a late 60s woman balancing a pair of dumbbells and getting ready for shoulder press.

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It is inspiring to see them. One of them said, “Young man, I wish I could have started exercising at your age.” The words are strong encouragement for me to carry on my passion of working out and I certainly do not want to regret at my olden days.

Another one I saw was running at high intensity at the treadmill. When I asked whether he is worry about his knees, he told me, “I wear good pair of running shoes. Those who got hurt because they do too much too soon without proper rest.” He knew his stuff.

Yes, these senior gym goers may be old, but they are not out.

2) They Are Slow But They Are Determined
Some of these old people suffer from arthritis or recovering from stroke. But, they do not give up. If they are not able to run fast, they walk. If they are not able to walk, they sit and cycle. They do not just sit at couch at home watching television.

In the dance class, most have hard time staying the pace with the instructors. When the instructor wanted to slow down, one of them said, “No, it is fine. Go on with your pace and we will follow.  We will let you know if we can’t catch up.”

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3) They Are Not Experts But They Are Not Afraid To Ask
Nowadays, we see many new equipments at gym. Many young ones normally either do not use those machines or use them wrongly because they are afraid to ask. But, for the elderly, they ask for help. I have seen one old man looking at an abs machine. He first read the instruction carefully and tried it himself for once. Then, he approached a staff to seek for help.

4) They Are Old But They Are Friendly
I found out many senior gym goers are making use of workout time to socialize. They enjoy making friends at gym. It is easy to strike a friendly conversation with them. When I look at younger folks, some are rushing in the gym and have the obvious “Don’t Talk To Me. Leave Me Alone” of face or body language. I am not saying we should just chat and forgetting about exercising, but some friendly conversation will definitely make gym a better place.

Senior citizens are mostly friendly and they tend to smile when you look at them.

5) We Will Be Old One Day
No matter what we eat or how hard we try, we cannot beat the time. One day, you and I eventually will be old too. Some people are reluctant to accept that aging process, but others, like those I met in gym, are taking it with grace. For them, age is just a number. They know why they are exercising and they enjoy every single minute of working out.

They learn, they laugh and they have fun.

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Next time you go to gym, give the elderly the respect they deserve. Never, ever, look down at them.

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6 responses so far ↓
  • CJ // Nov 10, 2008 at 3:03 AM

    Look down on the elderly gym goers. Never. Half of them can out do me easily.

  • Juliet // Nov 10, 2008 at 9:50 PM

    Hi Mun, totally agree with you on that. I used to go for morning classes and ive bonded with many of the regular aunties there. Hey….some of their bodies can put us young gals to shame. Oh btw I know of a 65 year old aunty who is crazy about body combat and pump!

  • muchacha // Nov 12, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Thank you, Mun, for this wonderful post and thank you for the observation.
    I love the aunties and uncles at dance classes. They sure know the difference between “Vive” and “Jam”. Some of them can even outshake my bonbons!

  • Ken // Nov 12, 2008 at 4:36 PM

    I reckon it depends on how seriously people take their exercises I guess.
    In fact, I have actually seen elder people lift heavier weights in Melbourne compared to those younger people who lift weights in Malaysia.

    I used to workout in the gym located within the University of Melbourne few years ago. I could still remember this 65 year-old man of Asian ethnicity doing the following weights:

    Full Squat @ 80-90kg (including the barbell)
    Flat Barbell Benchpress @ 75kg (including the barbell)
    Can’t recall what’s his deadlifts though…..
    (I hope when I am 65 years old I still can do all those as well)

    And many people considered that heavy in Malaysia. I still remember back then in university, 80kg benchpress were considered average. Therefore, I still considered myself just average or maybe below average.

  • Tom Parker // Nov 13, 2008 at 5:39 AM

    Good post Mun and I agree with everything you say. A few years ago I used to hit the gym at 6am. It was pretty quiet but the few people that did go were generally elderly people. However, they were some of the most friendly people I ever met. It was a really great way to start the day and was nice to have a relaxing chat before moving onto the more stressful parts of my day.

  • ray // Nov 17, 2008 at 2:41 AM

    Just curious Mun, how old are you?

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