Selecting fitness videos at 80, I favour short mainstream routines in many different disciplines. I go slow, go easy, take pauses—and smile.
During lockdown, gyms were closed and dance classes were cancelled. So, like you perhaps, I turned to fitness videos on YouTube.
Gradually I realised that selecting fitness videos from the millions on offer is a highly idiosyncratic process. Looking at my list of fitness bookmarks today, some of my preferences are obvious.
What!? Nothing for older people? Just because a fitness video is titled “for seniors” doesn’t mean it is right for me. In fact, I eventually decided to avoid all videos that were explicitly directed at older people. Not because the videos were bad, far from it. But they varied hugely from a full-on cardio work-out to gently rolling your eyeballs (just kidding). And some instructors were patronising, bent on saving me from various hypothetical problems. I wanted an exercise video, not a sermon on aging well, thanks anyway.
Instead my bookmarks show certain preferences when selecting fitness videos:
- many different disciplines: squats, Pilates, theraband, barre, weights, yoga. Variety is the spice of life.
- short routines: mainly 20 minutes. Long enough to satisfy, short enough to fit into my days.
- routines that remain on one level, either standing or at floor level: then the computer can remain at eye level throughout.
The list doesn’t show the instructors I favour but they tend to be matter-of-fact and engaging. Nobody poncy or pushy or preachy. Their age is irrelevant.
How I use mainstream fitness videos in my old age
Sure, I avoid videos explicitly for older people. Nevertheless, at 80, I am old. Not frail but with some undeniable features of old age:
- getting dizzy with quick turns or moving my head up and down
- lack of stamina
- tottery balance, yeah yeah yeah.
Using a fitness video on YouTube is easy: do it your way
Pick one or more of the following hacks.
- Turn the speed of the video down to 75% . (On the video screen, see that little cog-wheel bottom right?)
- Pause any time and have a drink of water. No one’s watching you. Take a break.
- You know your body well. When it protests, do that movement less, do it softer, do it easier. You’ll get more benefit from taking it easy than by forcing yourself.
- Keep a chair handy to help your balance.
- Do a video a few times before you ditch it: you may grow to like it.
And there’s only one rule: smile as you exercise! Enjoy the buzz, the pride and the benefits.