5 Myths About Exercise and Aging
One in four Americans, ages 50 or older, is physically inactive on a regular basis. People live sedentary lifestyles for a variety of reasons, some of which have little or no basis in fact. Exercise has been directly linked to increased health especially in our older generation. The better you take care of your body, the better your body will treat you.
So why isn’t our 50+ citizen as active? It may have a bit to do with a few myths we have been lead to believe. Here are a few common myths about exercise and the elderly and the actual benefits of physical activity to that population.
Myth #1: The elderly population can easily get injured while exercising
Reality: While it is true that as our bodies age we may need to be a bit more careful. There is no reason to believe that just because you are elderly you are at a higher risk for injury. If exercise is performed and progressed correctly, there is lower injury risk with physical activity for all ages. People of all age groups are at some risk when performing strenuous activities. It is important that we eliminate the stereotype that as people age they get progressively weak and frail.
Many exercise-related injuries are preventable. Some common injuries while working out include muscle strains and tendonitis. These injury risks can be reduced with a proper warm up, stretching and slowly progressing the intensity and frequencies of workout sessions.
Myth #2: As you age, you don’t have enough energy to exercise
Reality: The more active you are, the better your activity tolerance is and the more you can do throughout the day. The less active you are, the lower your activity tolerance. A University of Georgia study found a 65 percent decrease in fatigue levels in subjects who performed 20 minutes of exercise three times a week for six weeks.
Research shows that participation in sports and exercise has a positive effect on overall physical activity and energy levels. Staying active can lower your resting heart rate, improve your blood pressure, and even increase your metabolic rate. Exercise increases blood flow in the body, delivering more nutrients and oxygen to muscles and improving energy production.
Myth #3: Seniors are too old to exercise
Reality: Fauja Singh is the world’s oldest marathon runner. He finished his last race in 2013 at 101 years old. He has proven that age is nothing but a number and that number does not determine your ability to partake in exercise. Forty-nine percent of runners who completed a U.S. marathon in 2015 fell into the “masters” classification of 40 years of age and older.
A randomized control trial analyzed the effects of home exercise programs in 200 subjects ages 60 or older. Improvements in balance, lower quarter strength and disability ratings were measured after the program. No adverse health effects were noted with any of the participants.
Myth #4: I'm sick, so I shouldn't exercise.
Reality: If you have a chronic health problem -- such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease -- exercise is almost certainly a good idea. Check with a doctor first, but exercise will most likely help. Exercise can also boost your mood and help with your mental state.
Myth #5 I never really exercised before -- it's too late to make a difference in my health.
Reality: IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR HEALTH. Studies have found that even in people in there nineties living in nursing homes, starting an exercise routine can boost muscle strength. Other research shows that starting exercise late in life can still cut the risk of health problems -- such as diabetes --and improve symptoms.
Exercise benefits people of all ages. And that’s the truth.