The 6 Myths About Exercise and Aging. Fitness is ageless. Whatever your age is, it makes a difference in how you feel and move, helps you keep those numbers down (like your weight, cholesterol, or blood pressure) that your doctor keeps bringing up, and can even brighten your mood.
You win when you’re active, no matter what your age. But it doesn’t always feel like that, especially if you’ve been on the sidelines for a while.
Don’t fall for one of these false ideas about exercise and aging! Get the facts so that you can get back out there.
1. “I’m too old.”
Not moving speeds up the aging process and is much riskier to your health. People who are inactive are twice as likely to develop heart disease. They require more doctor visits and need more
medications. If you’ve been inactive for a long time, start slowly with a low-impact aerobic (pool aerobics) exercising which will raise your heart rate.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise and two days per week of strength training for overall heart health. If a half-hour a day sounds too complicated, think smaller. A 10-minute walk would be a good start.
If there was an activity that you enjoyed doing while you were younger (such as, tennis or volleyball), try to find a way to get back to doing it.
2. “I’ll hurt myself.”
You won’t if you work within your limits and know what you’re doing. Talk to your doctor first, before beginning an exercise program. He or she will tell you which activities to try and which ones to avoid. After you get started, work with an exercise coach who will show you exactly what to do. That way, you won’t hurt yourself.
Remember, you will be less likely to get injured the more physically fit you are. Try doing things like yoga and tai chi to contribute to improving your balance, and it may help you avoid falls in your
everyday life. Strength training also helps, which you can do with hand-held weights, machines at a gym, or even using your body weight (think pushups and lunges).
3. “My heart isn’t strong enough.”
Exercise helps strengthen your heart rather than put it at risk when done regularly. Physical activity can be as simple as mowing the lawn or taking a brisk walk. That’s enough to help increase your blood circulation and lower your cholesterol levels, and it can brighten your mood.
4. “It cost too much.”
It can cost a small fortune for a gym membership or exercise equipment. To get fit, you don’t have to pay a dime. Go for a brisk walk or take a jog. Spend an hour gardening or any favorite activity that gets you moving.
If the weather is bad outside, use what’s available around your home. Get yourself some resistance bands to use indoors for strength training.
You can also use your body weight (for planks or pushups). If your house has stairs, you can walk up and down the stairs. If you’d like to invest in exercise equipment, try looking for slightly used exercise equipment at local yard sales.
There are many resources to stay fit if you want to attend group classes or some further instruction. Most gyms offer discounts to seniors, and some health plans cover membership for individual fitness programs such as Silver Sneakers.
Also, check out your community resources. Some local parks may have essential exercise equipment, and even some places of worship offer fitness classes free of charge.
5. “I can’t move like I used to.”
Don’t judge what you can do today to what you did in the past. That was then; this is now. You can start at your own pace and still benefit. It’s not about running as fast as you use to or when you were in your 20s.
A study by Yale University found that seniors who walked just 20 minutes a day had a lower risk of mobility disability after two years than those seniors who did not walk 20 minutes a day.
Embrace exercise and aging as a tool to keep you mentally and physically sharp in the years to come instead of looking back at what you used to do.
6. “I can’t find anyone to exercise with.”
You can join a walking or gardening club. Check with your local community center or YMCA to see what free or affordable training classes they offer. Look for opportunities to connect with people who enjoy the same activities as you do. You’ll be able to find someone.
In Conclusion to 6 Myths about Exercise and Aging
Once you start talking about your active lifestyle, you might be interested in learning that there are people around you who you can exercise with together. They are already working to get fit. Maybe you can encourage someone in your life to get moving so you’ll have someone you can work out together. If you get moving, everything else like finding a workout buddy will fall into place.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments on exercise and aging, your questions and the sharing of ideas.
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