Exercising is an important part of our lives. It helps with all facets of life including keeping fit, preventing many diseases both physical and mental, and aging well. Entering retirement age does not have to mean that you will have to be bound to a rocking chair. These days, older adults, especially those who regularly exercise, typically can live independent lives and still feel energetic. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how little you’ve exercised throughout your life; anyone can pick up and benefit from exercising. In this article, we will go through some myths about exercise and fitness in older adults and debunk them.
“It’s Too Late to Start”
It is true that exercising at a younger age helps build up a habit and makes one healthier as they age. However, research has shown that those who have always led a sedentary life can also benefit from exercising if they start now. Start with simple moderate-intensity exercises like walking around the neighborhood or riding a bike through the park. The more you do now, the bigger difference you can make late on.
“I’ll Hurt Myself”
You won’t hurt yourself if you know what you are doing and do exercises within your limits. When you get started, consult a doctor to get recommendations on what type of exercises you can pursue. Your doctor will explain how these exercises can help you and how to effectively do them. As you exercise more, you will get physically fitter and thus are less likely to injure yourself. If you’re afraid of falling, start with exercises like yoga or tai chi which can improve your balance and prepare you for more types of exercises down the road.
“I Can’t Afford It”
You don’t have to spend a single dime to exercise. Not all exercises require equipment or a membership to the gym. A simple jog with proper running shoes is enough to get you started. You can also do bodyweight workouts whereby you use your own body to provide resistance for exercises like planks and push-ups. There are many guides and videos online which cater to older adults and show you how to do many different types of helpful exercises without having to spend any money.
“Walking is Enough”
Yes, brisk walking is typically recommended for older adults as a simple exercise. However, it’s just a stepping stone. A holistic exercise routine should include aerobic activities, muscle-strengthening activities, and flexibility exercises. Although all that may sound daunting, they are pretty easy to incorporate into your daily lifestyle. Aerobic activities are exercises that get your heart pumping like jogging, swimming, cycling, and even dancing. Muscle-strengthening is activities that work out your muscle, this can be something as simple as carrying groceries or yard work. Flexibility exercises are those that ensure you are limber and nimble. They include stretching types like yoga or balancing types like tai chi. They are also the most relaxing types of exercises and can provide you with some quiet time to meditate and self-reflect.