Help My 60 Year Old Dad

My dad just turned 60 and he’s completely out of shape. He has a pretty large gut, he eats crap and he never exercises. He is not motivated at all to change, especially his diet. My mom always cooks a healthy dinner but he never eats breakfast and then he has pizza or something for lunch. I just want to know how I should start getting him to exercise? He really needs lower body strength and to lose some weight.

Also there is a history of knee problems in his family so he needs to strengthen that area. Does anyone, especially the personal trainers, have any experience trying to get someone who hasn’t lifted a weight or done any aerobic exercise in 30+ years get in shape. I’m not trying to turn him into body builder, I’m just trying to keep him from dieing for a little while.

You can lead a horse to water… if I were you I’d take him to visit a retirement home and show him what his future will look like if he doesn’t change his ways, NOW!

Hey man, I have many people in my family with the same situation. But you already mentioned the key point; “he has no motivation to change.” You can alert him to the health risks that he is putting himself at and having his doctor do the same and let him know that his knee pain would likely get better (as would most other things) if he lost some weight and got healthier.

Beyond this, there is nothing you can really do. If the person is not motivated to change, they will not. I am a personal trainer, and if someone came to me saying, I have no motivation to exercise or change my eating habits, but I’m going to hire you anyway, I might just say forget it.

He has to understand how his life would be improved and make an effort on his own part to clean things up. If you or someone else is dragging him along for the ride, he’ll fall right off again once you’re no longer available to help. Good luck. I’ve got similar issues with my parents, friends, and sibling.


[quote]Jason32 wrote:
You can lead a horse to water… if I were you I’d take him to visit a retirement home and show him what his future will look like if he doesn’t change his ways, NOW!


Take him to a cemetery would be more appropriate; doesn’t sound like he’ll last long enough for the retirement home.

On a more serious note, sounds like he could be a good candidate for HRT. Might give him a bit more energy and motivation.

These are the facts, and the people on T-Nation are givin them to ya straight. It sounds like your Dad needs to hear these words right from the doctors mouth, so get him there, and after you do, what he does with the information will determine whether or not he lives for much longer or not. As much as we love our parents, they are mostly old school, and dont understand things the same way we do, and for the most part they dont really show a great desire for life until they have been read theyre last rights, and then as we all know, its too late . So, if you get him to the Doc, and tell him it would mean the world to you if he would get in better shape, so that he won`t die prematurely, you have done all you can do, the rest is ultimately up to him.

I am motivating my dad on getting in shape. He is 50, fat guy, big forearms type. There’s muscle under the fat, which is difficult for him to understand. He has been dipping into my TRIBEX and Spike stash, but I don’t care, he’s my dad.

Its difficult to see your parents age. I remember when I was younger, my dad was superman to me. It make me sad to realize that one day I wont have him. He’s my best freind

I have now got him to commit to a doctors appointment to get some HRT. When I get him accustomed to that I will try and see if he will attend a anti-aging clinic to get some growth hormone or other longeviety(sp) products.

I think a big problem older people( and for that matter anyone not down with the lifestyle) have is taking in the required calories of clean food.

I hope all goes well for you and your father.

If your father lives near you, commit to going out on a 20-30 walk with him 4-5 times a week for a month. He will be so pleased with how much healthier and energetic he feels that he will most likely want to continue exercising and probably want to take it to the next level. My father is 62 and he starting going on walks with my step mother every day. 4 months later they have bought themselves new bikes and ride 50 mile bike trips multiple times a week. He has lost 12 pounds, his BP has gone down, he used to have dizziness and vertigo spells and they have gone away, and he feel better than he has in years.

I don’t know you or your exercise routine but, you may also be amazed how good you feel after doing this. I know from experience that its easy to ignore having a solid aerobic base in search of cannonball delts and V shaped back. “In Fitness and in Health” by Dr. Phillip Maffetone is a great read.

Good Luck


Take a picture of him… this is what worked for my dad and mom. They never exercised, and after my brother snapped a picture of them walking in the park… they were shocked! They both started with the South Beach Diet and the Bowflex. My dad lost about 50lbs, and my mom lost around 40lbs.

Your dad may not see himself as overweight, but a picture might help motivate him… if that doesn’t work… show him obituaries of people who are his age, or take him to the cemetary, or even better… get him to the Dr. to tell him like it is. I have found that the “older generation” seems to take the word of a Dr. when given the facts, etc.

Good luck,


Buy him a dog. And get him to walk it.

Besides that, there’s not much you can do to motivate him.

Don’t turn him to any supplements, as this will give him the idea he doesn’t really need any exercise.

Send him to this website below. The guy who runs it knows a thing or two about being in shape at 60.

given that your dad is 60 and probally
going to retire soon and dosen’t have
any real physical problems, he maybe
just happy as he is.

my dad is 67
and overweight. walks 2-3 miles daily.
and is decent health, with the exception of congestive heart failure.

he has no real desire to loose more weight than he needs to, tries to eat
right and walk.up until a yr ago he was
feeling bad and lately he’s feeling good and he’s happy about that and the doc cant explain it… not a hijack.

so try what you can but dont nag him.
and you are younger and doing what works for you. goodluck.

If he doesn’t like to exercise then you might want to think outside the box and suggest maybe Yoga or Tai Chi. I find that those types of exercise are sometime easier for someone starting over from scratch. sometime using body dynamic exercise can do away with the ego of how much weight one is lifting. Tai Chi have been wonderful for people who have weak knees.

Motivation has to come from within your dad. He has to have a reason to get into shape.

I am 60 years old. Here is my story:

2 years ago, I decided that I should quit smoking. I decided that when my last two cartons of menthol lights were gone, I would quit. As the packs began to dwindle, I smoked fewer and fewer cigarettes to save the remaining few.

Eventually, I was down to 5 cigarettes per day, then they were gone. I was on edge, but the first two months passed without giving in to temptation.

I allowed myself to eat or drink whatever I wanted during those two months as a reward for giving up the butts. I gained 20 lbs. during that period. I then decided that I needed to get some exercise, so I started walking for 30 minutes every morning and evening. After a few weeks of this, I decided to join a gym.

During my visit to the gym closest to my house, I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen since the last time I worked out 20 years ago. That was it, I had a gym and and gym buddy.

For the first two months, I worked out alone on the lever and pulley resistance machines. I did a four day split of upper body/lower body/upper body/lower body with rest days between workouts. This got me in shape to start training with free weights and join my buddy in his workouts. That was almost 2 years ago.

I am now in the best shape of my life. I workout 6 days per week and do cardio for an hour every day. My weight has gone from sloppy 196 lbs down to a trim 168 lbs. My waist has gone from 39" to 32". I am healthy and have no need for medications.

Your dad can do this, if he wants to.