Older adults can’t afford not to get moving. Exercise is the key to staying and feeling strong, energetic, and clear-headed as we get older. This doesn’t mean going to the gym everyday, rowing 10 miles, lifting weights, or wearing out the treadmill. It just means using common sense and forgetting all those excuses.
Here are a few myths about seniors and exercise.
Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.
Fact: Exercise may not make you younger, but it can help you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Myth 2: Elderly people should save their strength and rest.
Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for anyone, but especially for the elderly. Sitting in the chair watching TV or reading all day can cause seniors to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and prescription use for illnesses.
Myth 3: Exercise increases the risk of falling.
Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.
Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercising
Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other easy activities. My neighbor is well into his 90’s – I know because he walks by my house everyday during his daily stroll around the neighborhood.
Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down.
Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.
Whether you are healthy or home-bound, you can find easy ways to get your body moving. It won’t make you younger, but you’ll feel stronger and more vital.