How Should Your Age Affect Your Exercise?

Many times people ask me how I factor age into the equation when writing programs for our members. We have members in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even older. My answer usually surprises them. You see, I don’t factor age in at all when I’m writing programs for people. It never enters my mind.

This picture features some of our members with ages from early 20s to 60s.

That may seem a little reckless or even dangerous but I assure you that it’s actually the opposite. I have trained people in their 30s and 40s who deal with pain everyday, move poorly and have below-average physical strength. I have trained people in their 60s and older who feel great, move well and whose strength is well above average! How does age figure in? Well, it just doesn’t!


This is just some of what I consider when I’m writing a program for someone.

  • Goals
  • Mobility
  • Injuries
  • Movement Assymmetry
  • Psychology
  • Training Frequency
  • Training Experience
  • Exercises Liked or Disliked
  • Movement Pattern Proficiency

All of these things figure in more than age itself. Study after study, as well as a ton of anecdotal evidence, has shown that 0lder people aren’t fragile or incapable of doing things just because of their age. It’s only when they stop moving and challenging themselves that these things occur and that can happen at any age! Just look around and I guarantee you’ll see it!

Let me put this another way. If I have someone in their 70s who wants to train but they have knee pain doing certain things I’ll look at their posture and movement, try to determine any issues with them and program them accordingly. Doesn’t this seem more effective and responsible than just pulling out the “Age 70 Training Program” and giving it to them?

Here’s a simple way to look at things. No matter what your age you can improve. No matter what your age you can feel better and move better. Studies have shown  improvement not only with exercise itself but with daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, etc, with regular strength training.

Let me know what you think.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Mitch Rothbardt Fitness at 2861 Grove Way
Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
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