From Antiaging to Anti Ageism in Fitness: Flipping the Switch

Could you fill more programs and help more people by moving from antiaging to anti ageism in fitness promotions? 

What if the answer to more inclusivity and diversity isn’t focused on turning back the clock but it’s embracing the now. While it sounds good and I think most of us would agree we do that, is there anyone among us that hasn’t used words that hint at aging in reverse, or slow the aging process. 

While some of this isn’t even our fault, we’ve got it from unlikely sources: researchers. It hasn’t even been marketers who stand to make money. Though there’s always some money involved. Grant money, potential products, tenure, I suppose all count. 

I remember reading the first research findings about the ability the potential of exercise on mitochondria production. I distinctly remember the conclusion was, “exercise is indeed the fountain of youth.” 


As innocent as that, there it is: ageism. Youth is desirable, the pot of gold, and anything associated with aging to be fixed. 

This episode touches on ageism in fitness. As I talked with Ashton Applewhite I had to be quiet and listen. It took a minute for what she said to soak in. That for those who aren’t active #activeaging for instance may be ageism. I am going to wrestle with acceptance of that. 

I think science has given us evidence that we can age more healthfully than ever before. I also believe no one wants to be in pain, uncomfortable, or lose independence if they can choose another option. So being active in a way to sustain muscle, bone, (and brain) health is something I’ll have to stand for in order to support our ability not to stop aging, but to change the way we age. (and a respectful nod to ICAA, whose tagline is just that.)

Should it Be Accepted? 

I personally have a hard time just accepting that aches and pains come with age. Instead, I have found that the way you eat, work, sleep, and exercise changes much about the way two people age. It’s epigenetics, the lifestyle habits that control the expression of your genetics. 

I bristle a little with statements like, “as you get older, those aches and pains sneak up on you.” It’s not due to age. Traditionally accepted signs of aging are do to the lifestyle you had, and that which you have now. 

From you now to you 20 years ago, there’s been change, no doubt. But for those who are more conscious and aware of better ways to exercise, eat for their own biology, and are resting and meeting their needs better than they did, they often feel better, fitter, and more alive than ever. 

So yes, aging should be accepted. Aches and pains and weight gain shouldn’t. We may have to deal with them but if we simply believe we can’t do anything about them, if indeed we choose to have a different outcome, I think that isn’t quite anti ageism. 

An Open Invitation

I’m opening up a conversation with you. I hope you’ll comment, and be open to a quote or interview. Let me know in the comments if this topic resonates with you and if you’d like to respond to a couple questions to be included in a round up episode. 

My Guest: 

An internationally recognized expert on ageism, Ashton Applewhite is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. A co-founder of the Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse, she speaks widely at venues that have included the TED mainstage and the United Nations, and is at the forefront of the emerging movement to raise awareness of ageism and to dismantle it.

Listen to the Flipping 50 episode with Ashton:

Questions we answer in this rapid fire: 

What suggestions do you have for fitness professionals making choices about their ad, website, social media images? 

How can we do better? 

Are there good examples that come to mind? Businesses doing it well? 

What do you say to this very common conversation: 

I’m getting old.” 

“It’s better than the alternative.”

Let’s talk about contemporary hashtags 









Referenced in this episode:

Alex Rotas British photographer:

Flip: I went to Alex’ site to pull this resource for you and came across an article on her including some images. And… I am as guilty as anyone. But at least I’m aware. I said, “She looks great,” as it stated her age(72). My first thought was, this is what following a passion and purpose does. 

It’s going to take time for this not to be a comparison of one (insert age) to another (insert age). At a class reunion coming up, won’t we all be doing that to some extent, I wonder. Thinking he or she aged well, or not? Is that ageism?  There’s much to explore here. The first step… awareness. 

Connect with Ashton: (for images and photography)

Positive Marketing resource from the oldschool site above:

She’s on Social:

Twitter: @thischairrocks





The book:

If this episode from antiaging to anti ageism was valuable, please share a comment, and share the podcast with a fitness pro or health coach friend. Thank you! 

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