Self-conscious

Fit Mother and DaughterDear Chris,

As an elderly beginner in personal fitness training I take note of reactions from friends and family. Sometimes it is politely concealed amusement. Other times, it can be gently patronising approval. I am undeterred by this as I am convinced about the end product, but it occurs to me that moving on to group exercising may help to overcome any reservations born of self-consciousness. Have you found this to be so?

Jay, Toronto

Dear Jay,

First of all, good for you to have taken the step and gotten a personal trainer to help you get into an exercise regimen. The reactions you are getting from friends and family could reflect preconceptions that many younger people have about older people exercising. Things like:

“Don’t you know that these are your twilight years?”
“You should be putting your feet up granny and taking a load off!”
“Don’t do any exercise, you might break something!”

…are all common reactions, but fortunately people are starting to get the message that muscles can be made stronger at ANY age.

As for comparing individual personal training with a group exercise class, I can’t say which will make you feel less self-conscious. It really comes down to your goals and fitting exercise into your lifestyle. Many people prefer the individual attention they get working with a personal trainer, especially if they are new to exercise or have health conditions which warrant exercise modifications. Many people feel shy about exercising, but they’ll feel less so knowing that no one is focusing on them besides their trainer. However, others prefer the camaraderie and social benefits of exercising with a large group. If you’re at all self-conscious, you may stand a better chance of blending in with the crowd. Believe me, people are too busy keeping time with the music and counting off their own repetitions to notice anyone else in the room.

By the way, if you¬†are¬†looking to blend in with the crowd, don’t hide too far from the instructor. He or she needs to see that you are performing the exercises correctly, especially the balance and muscle conditioning portion of the class.

To your health

Chris


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