Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

A great quote from Betty Frieden goes as; “Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” It can rightly be said that fitness is not age bound and the way an individual feels and does his activities has a lot to do with the fitness levels. Age is not a barrier for staying fit. Exercise helps in controlling weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol and even lightens up the mood. However, there are some myths about exercise and aging among seniours/elders that one must know, so as to not give up on exercise because of growing age. Let us see them all in this post.

6 Myths About Exercise Among Seniors/Elderly

Myth-1: I Am Too Old To Exercise

Fact: This is one of the most common myths about exercise among senior/citizens. However, staying sedentary is far more risky as it intensifies the process of aging. It is known that people leading a sedentary lifestyle are twice more at risk for getting a cardiac related illness requiring far more medications and physician appointments than an active and fit individual. So, go for exercising even if you are amongst the seniors. However, if you have been sedentary for a long period of time then you need to start in a slow and steady fashion with low-impact exercises to get the heart rate up. A 15 minute brisk walk can be good enough to stay fit in elderly.

Myth-2: I Will Hurt Myself While Exercising

Fact: One of the most common fear most seniors/elders have about exercising is they would hurt themselves while exercises. However, you will not be hurt if you are doing exercise that you can do easily. Before beginning any exercise routine you need to consult with your physician who can guide as to which exercise regimen would suit you the best. While beginning, start with an expert fitness trainer who can guide you how to perform a specific exercise.

It must be mentioned that being physically fit, not matter what your age is, you have less chances of getting injured or hurt. Exercise would improve your balance and by practicing tai chi or yoga you can stay fit and live life to the fullest. Even strength training will help in improving balance, strength and agility in old age.

Myth-3: I Cannot Afford to Exercise in Old Age

Fact: Not really true, the weight of your body is good enough to act as a weight provided by equipment like planks. Doing pushups or walk up and down stairs is also a good form of exercise. In case you want to use exercise equipment then go for light weight machines easily found in yard sales. Senior citizens get discounted membership in certain gymnasiums. There are also certain companies that offer health plans for various fitness programs. You can find out such gyms. Moreover, checking on community resources are also of help in finding out information about gyms offering discounted membership to senior citizens. Some local parks have basic equipment for exercise which can also be utilized to stay fit.

Myth-4: I Do Not Have A Strong Heart

Fact: It must be mentioned that when exercise is done regularly and in a proper manner, it helps in strengthening your heart rather than put it at any risk, no matter how old you are. You do not have to run a marathon. Activities as simple as a brisk walk is good enough to keep the cholesterol levels in check and improve blood circulation. It also helps in brightening the mood. However, if you are suffering from any heart problem it is better to get a cardiac clearance from your doctor before starting on an exercise regime.

Myth-5: I Do Not Move Like Before

Fact: One of the most important things we say is;”One must not judge what he/she can accomplish today by what he/she did when young”. You do not have to run or exercise as fast or as vigourusly as when you were young. You can exercise within your limits and still be able to reap the benefits of exercising in old age. It is also about moving, not staying still! According to a study conducted at Yale University, senior citizens who indulged in regular walking as an exercise for just 15 minutes a day had decreased risk of being disabled due to lack of movement than those who were sedentary. So, it is better to look ahead and not delve in the past. Just concentrate on the exercise regimen recommended to you and be fit both mentally and physically.

Myth-6: I Do Not Have A Partner

Fact: You can always find a partner to exercise with by joining a walking or jogging club. You can find opportunities for connecting with people who find the activities enjoyable to do just like you.

Conclusion

So, now that you know the myths of exercise and aging, if you or any of your aging loved one have made a fitness resolution to start with this new year, it is never too late to begin exercising. Maybe it is a regular walk around your block or workouts, following a regular exercise plan will help you improve your health and also make you feel better at any age.

“Don’t worry about getting old. Worry about thinking old”

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 28, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest