Physical Activity Proves Beneficial for Seniors - Exercise Myths Busted

Physical Activity Proves Beneficial for Seniors – Exercise Myths Busted

Across our lifespan, we roll out the excuses not to exercise. We refute the research and claim we are the exception to the rules. As we age, the question becomes “Why bother at this point?” For the benefit of your health (or a senior loved one), let us clear up a few faulty statements about exercise and aging.

Physical Activity Proves Beneficial for Seniors – Exercise Myths Busted

It’s Too Late to Start Exercising at My Age

Beginning a fitness routine at any age offers benefits. The sedentary lifestyle which plagues the senior population raises the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, depression and anxiety. Muscle integrity decreases, and the risk of injury increases. Plus, physical activity improves mental fitness.

Arthritis (or Osteoporosis) Limits My Ability to Exercise

On the contrary, chronic conditions, like arthritis and osteoporosis, benefit from physical activity. Exercise combats joint pain and fatigue by increasing muscle mass, bone strength and flexibility. While you need to adjust the type of activity you pursue, inactivity worsens symptoms. Furthermore, a sedentary lifestyle correlates with obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Getting active reduces the prevalence of such conditions.

I Hate to Workout

Good news: Staying physically active does not require you to “workout”. It simply means you need to move. Finding activities which you enjoy reaps greater benefits than ones you dread. If you are social, try a group exercise class. For water lovers, swim at your local pool. If family is your passion, chase your grandchildren around the backyard. Walking the mall with friends, hiking a local park, gardening, dance and even sex count as exercise.

 The Gym is Expensive (Besides, it is for the Young)

Just as you can choose a physical activity you enjoy, you must find a place you are comfortable getting fit. After all, if you never go, the gym does you no good.

Check out:

  • Gyms with senior class offerings
  • A Silver Sneakers program at your local YMCA or gym
  • Quieter times of day to workout i.e. mid afternoon
  • Classes modified for fitness level, disability or sensory loss

Senior living communities and services departments cater exercise programs to an older population, if you are still uncomfortable at the gym.

Exercise is Unsafe for Me

In addition to chronic conditions, the risk of falls, or the presence of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia keeps seniors from exercising out of concern for safety. However, physical activities decrease the risk of falls by increasing balance and coordination. And, they aid in sleep, cognitive function and appetite, while reducing agitation, memory loss and wandering in people with these conditions.

In short, stop believing the myths and get moving. Physical activity is beneficial for seniors.

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