Myths About Exercising When You’re Older

A lot of people ages 65 to 74 don’t exercise for several reasons. Maybe they’re sick, too out of shape or feel tired and weak. Others don’t exercise due to the myths they’ve read about the risk of exercising in older adults.

Chhanda Dutta, PhD who spearheads the National Institute on Aging Clinical Gerontology Branch says that exercise is good for people no matter their age. Exercise makes a person stronger, improve balance and muscle coordination, as well as prevent bone loss. In addition, it also boosts memory, improves mood and eases symptoms attributed to certain chronic conditions.

Let’s clear out the most common myths related to the topic.

Myth #1: It’s pointless to exercise since you can’t avoid physical decline associated with ageing.

It’s not true at all. There are people in their 70s and 80s who still join marathons and triathlons. You can find quite a few of them in gyms lifting weight. Many symptoms that people tend to associate with old age — such as loss of balance and muscle weakness — are in fact symptoms of inactivity. Exercise can boost memory and prevent dementia. But more than that, it can enable you to do things you enjoy and maintain your independence.

Myth #2: Exercise isn’t safe for old people.

Studies show that exercise can help older people build strength, agility and balance. If you’re particularly worried about getting injured due to weak bones, well, you can strengthen not only your muscles but also your bones with regular exercise.

Myth #3: You need a thorough medical examination before you can exercise.

If you have an unexplained symptom or a diagnosed medical condition it’s a good idea to see a doctor before you begin an exercise program. But generally speaking, if you’re in relatively good health, it’s ok to start exercising. Just don’t overdo it and only engage in workouts that are appropriate for your age and fitness level.

Myth #4: Sick people shouldn’t exercise.

If you have a health issue like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease,  you can benefit from regular exercise. Not only will it help you stay fit, it will also elevate your mood and prevent mental health problems.

Myth #5: Exercising puts you at risk of heart attack.

The truth is, there have been incidents of people getting heart attacks while exercising. But, the many benefits of exercise to your physical and mental health far outweigh the small risk. In fact, you’re more likely to get a heart attack by being a couch potato than by exercising.

Myth #6: It’s too late for old people to start exercising.

It’s definitely not true! Studies have found that starting an exercise regimen even in your 80s can still boost muscle strength. It’s still possible to reduce the risk of health problems even when you start exercising late in life.

Myth #7: Exercise will hurt the joints.

Studies show that exercising can ease pain caused by arthritis. In one study which analyzed people over 60, they found that those with knee arthritis had better joint function and less pain when they exercised regularly.

Memberships in exclusive gyms can be expensive, and so is buying a new treadmill. But whether you exercise in Max Fitness or spend 30 minutes a day walking, it does not really matter. The key is to have regular physical activity that you enjoy doing. When you exercise, you’ll be able to maintain or even improve your quality of life in your twilight years.

10 Myths that Keep You From Getting Fit After 50

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