Does Age Have Much to Do with Physical Ability or Fitness?

Within reason, does age have much to do with physical ability or fitness?

I find it interesting when I see exercise classes for the “over 50”, since, being in my 40s, and having lots of friends in their 40s, I wonder who decided 50 was the age that people needed to have special exercise class designed just for them! I say this because one of my friends in her mid 40s just completed an Ironman competition along with many other 40 and 50 plus folk.

It’s also the case that many of the world’s most important and well known yoga teachers are still moving and shaking it well into their 80s and 90s.

My youngest yoga student at the moment is 14 and the oldest is in her 70s. It’s hard to say who has the most physical ability since the 14 year old reminds me of a newborn fawn and my 70 year old is definitely stronger. They are both flexible however with a considerable range of movement.

The age of the “average” yoga student worldwide is again, about 40ish and, surprise, surprise, she tends to be female.

Last week, I was asked by an ABC producer if I could possibly gather a small group of students who fitted their story criteria – healthy retirees – for an election-based news segment (broadcast Sunday, 15th May 2016 at 7pm) with Juanita Phillips, which was being filmed on location in Port Stephens.

I was then asked by somebody who had seen the above image of us all with Juanita featured on my Facebook page, whether I did classes for “younger people” (ie, 40 year olds!)

So, to clarify:

– This gorgeous image above taken by ABC Journalist Gregmus Kelly depicts a group of retired people (apart from me!) who attend yoga regularly. They are fit, strong and healthy (this was the criteria for the program and so it was hence who I asked to come along).

– The “average” age of most people who attend yoga (here or elsewhere is around 40-45. It’s a broad range, but the group (particularly in evening classes) tends to be aged between 27-50 with some younger and some older.

– I teach a reasonably powerful and strong yoga class. We do strength work, lengthening exercises and choreographed sequences. It’s not power yoga since, in my 20 years of teaching and practising, it’s become pretty obvious that most people cannot execute the poses safely (if at all) at the pace of a power class. In my opinion, this means it really should not be described as “yoga”.

– There are plenty of options available here in Port Stephens and elsewhere for anyone who wants to do soft and easy yoga. I enjoy what I do and I decided I would not change my class. It’s strong, but there is always an emphasis on safety. Therefore, the older people who do come are fit, strong and healthy and enjoy the challenge.

– My experience is also that most of these older folk would leave many 20 year olds for dead!!