‘I’m too old to start now’ is no excuse

Fitness over 50 in Baldwin


Fear of injury and worries about being able to keep up at the gym are two obstacles that hinder many seniors who might otherwise embark on a get-fit program. Sharon Moelis, director of fitness and programming at South Shore Fitness, which has locations in Oceanside, Island Park and Farmingdale, says fear is the first challenge many of her older clients must overcome.

“The No. 1 thing I tell senior clients is you have to find a place you like working out,” Moelis says. “If you’re intimidated or uncomfortable, you won’t stick with a program.”

South Shore Fitness offers numerous group workout programs so older clients can work out together and alleviate fears of being outpaced. Moelis also believes that a few consultations with a professional can go a long way.

“A lot of people think if they talk to a trainer they’ll need to keep going and they won’t be able to afford it,” she says. “I don’t think that’s necessary. I do, however, recommend that older clients have a few sessions with a trainer at the beginning. We find once a client knows the basics, once they know they’re doing things correctly and aren’t risking injury, they can take off on their own.”

Another way to combat fitness fears is to seek a non-competitive work out. Yoga, says Leah Hartofelis, from Breathe n Flow Yoga in Baldwin, offers this opportunity.

“One of the great things about yoga is there are no age requirements,” Hartofelis says. “It’s entirely up to the individual. I have senior citizens in my classes as well as mothers-to-be with babies still in the womb. There’s also absolutely no ego involved in yoga. You can modify each position and exercise to make it approachable for any age or fitness level. I don’t want any of my students to compare themselves to anyone else. Each individual in my studio should be having his or her own experience without regard to what the others in the class can and can’t do.”

— Chris Connolly