10 Mar 5 Myths about Exercise and Aging
We’re not aging the same way we did 30 years ago. Thanks to advances in medical care and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, people are living longer. In fact the older population of America is expected to double in the next 30 years.
According to the Prevention Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, “researchers have learned that older adults who improve their lifestyles in order to lower their risk for disease do experience significant health improvements.” One of the most important lifestyle changes for healthy aging is exercise. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of myths surrounding exercise and aging, but we’re here to set the record straight.
Myth #1 There is no point to exercising. Decline in old age is inevitable.
Truth:People in their 70’s,80’s, and even 90’s are running marathons. Many of the symptoms we associate with old age like weakness and loss of balance are really symptoms of inactivity. Exercise improves physical health, prevents dementia, and boosts memory. Whereas, lack of exercise can cause adults to lose their independence and leads to more hospitalizations.
Myth #2 Exercise isn’t safe for someone my age. I may fall. It could give me a heart attack.
Truth: Exercise can reduce the chances of a fall. It helps build strength balance and agility. Regular exercise strengthens bones and can prevent osteoporosis. It also helps prevent heart disease. You’re actually more likely to have a heart attack if you’re a couch potato.
Myth #3 It’s too late for me to start exercising.
Truth: It’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of exercise. Adults who take up exercise in later life show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. Start out easy and build yourself up.
Myth #4 I’m disabled. I can’t exercise.
Truth: Chair bound people do have special challenges, but they can still lift weights and stretch. There are also many activities for people like chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi that can help tone muscles and increase flexibility. Not to mention there are sports designed especially for those in wheelchairs like wheelchair basketball.
Myth #5 I’m too busy. I don’t have time to exercise.
Truth: It’s recommended that you get a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. That may seem like a lot, but it’s really only 20 minutes a day. You don’t even have to do all 20 minutes at one time. If you can take a 10 minute walk in the morning and a 10 minute walk in the evening, that’s it!
Depending on your age, current health and length of inactivity, recommended exercises will vary. Before starting any new workout routine, talk to your doctor.
A physical therapist can also help tailor a workout to your needs and help you on your fitness journey! If you have questions, please call us at 662-282-4949.