Six Persistent Myths About Seniors and Physical Fitness

You may be like many seniors and avoid engaging in regular exercise. As with many people in their Golden Years, you may not exercise as you should because you’ve fallen prey to certain myths about seniors and physical fitness. In this article, we take on six of the most common myths associated with seniors and physical fitness.

Myth #1: I’m Too Old to Exercise

One of the most prevalent myths about seniors and fitness is that a person in their Gold Years is too old to worry about this type of physical activity. Regular exercise and physical activity help a person look and feel younger and stay independent longer. Regular exercise reduces the risk for a variety of conditions that include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other types of dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Myth #2: I’m Too Old to Start Exercising

On a related note, a persistent myth is that a person is too old to start exercising. The misconception is something to the effect that I have not exercised previously, and it is too late to start. The reality is that a person is never too old to start exercising. A person is never too old to take steps (literally) to improve his or her health and well-being. Keep in mind that many people are in their proverbial shoes. There is a considerable number of seniors to take up fitness and exercise more seriously in their Golder Years than they ever had done previously in their lives.

Myth #3: Exercise Increases My Risk of Falling and Being Injured

Another regularly passed myth is that exercise increases a person’s risk of falling and sustaining injuries. Of course, a person must follow safety protocols when exercising. With that said, regular exercise increases a person’s stamina and builds strength. In addition, regular exercise prevents unnecessary loss of bone mass. Regular exercise also improves a senior’s balance. All these benefits of regular exercise reduce the risk of a senior falling and sustaining injuries.

Myth #4: Exercise Will Be Frustrating

Yet another misconception associated with seniors and exercise is that the process will be frustrating. This stems from the belief that a senior cannot engage in activities in the same manner as in the past because of physical changes. Indeed, changes in hormones, metabolism, bone density, and muscle mass result in a person’s strength and performance levels being different as individual ages. However, this does not mean a person can no longer derive a sense of achievement and satisfaction from physical activity. A person certainly can improve his or her health. The key is setting lifestyle goals appropriate to a person’s age.

Myth #5: I’m Disabled and Cannot Exercise

There are many ways individuals with different types of physical limitations can obtain the very real benefits associated with exercising. Indeed, specific exercise programs are developed for people with various physical restrictions.

Myth #6: I’ve Too Many Aches and Pains to Exercise

People do develop different types of aches and pains as they age. With that said, more often than not, these aches and pains are not debilitating. The reality is that for most seniors, regular exercise can prove invaluable in reducing aches and pains experienced by individuals in their Golden Years. In other words, the more you exercise regularly, the more you can do in your day-to-day life.

Tips to Start an Effective, Safe Senior Exercise Program

Once you recognize myths associated with seniors and exercise as misconceptions, you can begin to think about how to start an effective and safe exercise program. In this regard, there are several key tips to consider when it comes to embarking on your fitness program:

  • Get medical clearance from your doctor before beginning an exercise program. This is particularly necessary if you have some preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid. You will also want to inquire about what types of exercise your primary care physician might think would be particularly beneficial to you.
  • Consider your health concerns. Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems might impact your workouts. For example, people with diabetes may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule. Exercise impacts a diabetic’s glucose levels.
  • Listen to your body. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel poor. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy, feel short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. And put your routine on hold if a joint is red, swollen, or tender to the touch. The best way to cope with injuries is to avoid them in the first instance. If you regularly experience pain or discomfort after exercising, try exercising for less time but more frequently throughout the day. If these symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
  • Start slow and build up steadily. If you haven’t been physically active, gradually build up your exercise regimen. Try spacing workouts in ten-minute increments, perhaps twice a day. Consider joining one fitness class each week. If you’re concerned about falling or have an ongoing heart problem, start with easy chair exercises to increase your fitness and confidence slowly.
  • Prevent injury and discomfort by warming up, cooling down, and keeping water handy.
  • Commit to an exercise schedule for at least three or four weeks. Taking this course helps to make your fitness efforts a habit. It tends to create an atmosphere in which you will create an atmosphere that will be more likely to stick with your exercise regimen. Remember that this is much easier if you find physical activities you enjoy.

In conclusion, you will be on the road to improved health and wellness by dispelling the myths and creating a realistic, regular fitness plan. The truth is that regular exercise has the propensity to add years to your life – healthy years of enjoyable, gratifying living that otherwise might not have been possible.