7 Myths About Exercise and Aging
There is a veritable mountain of information out there about exercise and some of it can lead you in the wrong direction or just be discouraging. This post is all about the seven myths I hear most from my older clients and the facts to dispel them.
Myth 1: I’m too old to start an exercise program
Fact: You are never too old to start exercising and improve your health! The reality is that older adults who have never been active often show greater improvements mentally and physically than younger adults. But a strong word to the wise - if you have never exercised before, start slow and gradually build up your program.
Myth 2: Exercising increases my risk of falling or injury
Fact: Regular exercise builds strength, endurance and flexibility as well as improving balance and preventing bone density loss - all of which actually help to reduce your risk of falling or injuring yourself.
Myth 3: My disability means I cannot exercise
Fact: There are many adaptations and modifications that can be made to an exercise program to allow for anyone of any ability to participate. Chair yoga and chair aerobics are just the beginning. You can also add in weight training and stretching to help develop strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
Myth 4: I am going to get old anyways - why bother?
Fact: Physical activity can help you not only look and feel younger but help you maintain your independence longer. The risk of many chronic health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure and obesity can be lowered with regular exercise. And don’t forget the mental health benefits of exercise.
Myth 5: I will never be as fit or strong as I was when I was young - there’s no point
Fact: While aging does affect our muscle mass, bone density, hormones and metabolism and those changes may impact our strength that certainly does not mean that you cannot exercise and get the same health benefits from your efforts. It is important to remember to set goals that reflect your age and abilities.
Myth 6: I am in pain or I’m too weak
Fact: Adding in some exercise can actually help manage your pain as well as improving your self-confidence. Through working to get stronger you can help reverse some of the physical effects of aging and will boost your mental well being too. Just remember to start slowly and gently.
Myth 7: I have no space for any exercise equipment
Fact: Exercising does not require any fancy equipment or hitting the gym. You can get started with a walk around the block or up and down the hallway in your building. A water bottle or soup can can be used as weights. And many exercises simply use your body weight like squats, planks and lunges.
Did I miss a myth? Let me know and I would be happy to dispel it and get the truth out there. If the truth can get one more person on their healthy lifestyle journey then it was all worth it.