Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s
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6 Myths About Exercise and Ageing

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Arthritis / Health and Wellbeing /

shutterstock_73111324Too many people think that getting older means becoming frail and housebound, seeing senior years as an exercise free part of life. In fact, as you grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Read on to learn about some of the most widely spread myths that stop many older people from exercising, and why you should ignore them.

Myth #1: Exercise is pointless when decline in old age is inevitable.

While ageing is unavoidable, it certainly doesn’t have to mean becoming weak and frail. This weakness associated with older individuals is caused more by inactivity than by age. Exercising regularly will help you to maintain your physical strength and balance, as well as giving you a mental boost, reducing your risk of dementia. As long as you stay active, there’s no reason you can’t maintain your vitality and independence.

Myth #2: Older people shouldn’t exercise – they need to save their strength.

Again, exercise will do a lot more to help you maintain your strength than resting will. Living a sedentary lifestyle only makes you weaker and unhealthier, increasing your risk of many illnesses and health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and certain cancers. Inactivity can also cause you to lose your ability to do things on your own.

Myth #3: There comes a point when you’re too old to start exercising.

It’s never too late to start exercising. If exercise has never been a part of your routine before, that’s all the more reason to start doing it before inactivity takes even more of a toll on your body. Many adults take up exercise later in life and are amazed at the physical and mental improvements they experience. You just need to ease yourself into it, starting with gentle activity and building up a good fitness regime from there.

Myth #4: Exercise isn’t safe for older people and increases their risk of falls.

Many older people worry that physical activity will lead to falls and broken bones, but regular exercise actually reduces your risk of falls. It builds up your strength and balance, making it easier for you to stay on your feet. People with osteoporosis are often particularly worried about the danger of physical activity, but the right exercises can help you build and maintain bone density. Your doctor can give help you build up an exercise regime specifically tailored to your personal needs.

Myth #5: Exercise hurts older people’s joints.

If you suffer from arthritis or some other cause of joint pain, you may fear that exercise will make it worse. However, exercise actually helps you manage joint pain. It may seem counterintuitive but it really helps to keep the joints supple, easing stiffness and improving movement as well as reducing your pain. It also helps you stay in shape, which is useful because excess weight can put extra strain on your joints.

Myth #6: Disabilities stop older people from getting exercise.

Being chair-bound doesn’t stop you from engaging in physical activity – you just need to find activities that suit your abilities. Plenty of beneficial exercises can be done sitting down. You can do stretches, chair aerobics, chair yoga and lift weights. These exercises will improve your muscle tone, flexibility and cardiovascular health, so are really worth doing.

Remember, exercise for the 50plus age group is not only great for your body, but benefits your mind, mood and memory too. Whether you’re generally healthy or dealing with some kind of illness or disability, there are plenty of ways to get active and plenty of benefits to be reaped. Don’t think of ageing as a cause of decline – with a good exercise regime, it certainly doesn’t have to be.

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