Posted on Feb 22, 2023, 11 a.m.
As we age, our bodies may not be as able as they once were, but that doesn't mean we should give up on exercising. Regular exercise is essential for seniors to maintain their physical and mental well-being.
Unfortunately, many myths about exercise and aging may discourage older adults from staying active. This article will dispel some of the most common myths about exercise for seniors to help you understand the true benefits of staying active as you age. Whether you're a senior or caring for a loved one, it's important to know the facts about exercise and aging.
According to Dr. Beth Templin, one of the most common myths related to age and exercise that discourage elders from moving is that they are too old to work out, whether that means completing a marathon or sweating up and down the stairs at the gym. Dr. Templin emphasizes, Aging does not mean you can't work out, and it's not age that stops you from working out. In fact, the older you get, the more important exercise becomes.
The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, suggested seniors whose ages are 60-64 years old should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activities to ensure longevity and quality of life. So the myth that you can't exercise after 60 is pretty much just that, a myth.
Another myth regarding exercise and aging is that walking is enough. According to Dr. Beth Templin, "While walking is an excellent way to work on endurance, it doesn't specifically address the other 4 areas of fitness: strength, balance, flexibility, and posture. In order to stay active and independent, you need to address all of these areas with your fitness routine."
Dr. Templin stated that for a well-rounded exercise program, a senior must participate in various activities. It’s also vital to make sure that the activities a senior engages in are challenging enough to make tremendous changes in each fitness area. Most often, seniors just don’t push themselves hard enough to reap the benefits. So, accompanying them in physical activity when you have the time can greatly help.
Dr. Koratrona Evans, a Physical Therapist in Carlisle, PA, also pointed out another myth that can discourage seniors from exercising is the elderly population could easily get injured while exercising. This is not true at all. Dr. Evans states, "If exercise is performed and progressed correctly, there is minimal risk of injury with physical activity for all ages. People of all age groups are at some risk when performing strenuous activities. We must all eliminate the stereotype that as people age, they become progressively frail and weak.
Dr. Evans added that lots of exercise-related injuries are preventable. Some common injuries while working out include tendonitis and muscle strains. These injury risks can be reduced with a proper warm-up and gently progressing the intensity and frequencies of workout routines.
Exercise only benefits the body, which is another common myth about exercise for seniors. According to Dr. Razzouk, "exercise can combat cognitive decline common with aging. Lots of people are unaware that physical activity can also help fight anxiety and depression. She added that some studies found that exercise strengthens connections in the brain and eases the impact of stress."
Chair-bound seniors face a special challenge, and many think they can't exercise because they are disabled. But it's just the opposite. Regular exercise can improve the quality of life, whether you're tied to a wheelchair or walking around with a cane. There are physical activities to try, like, chair yoga, chair Tai Chi, and chair aerobics. The key is to speak to your doctor and start slowly.
This article was written for WHN by Evelyn K. Grier who is a blog contributor for SpringHive Digital Marketing Agency, a website design company, where she writes content for their clients' blogs and websites. She is also a health and wellness enthusiast writing content for Serenity Senior Care, a site that provides tips on how to take care of elderly family members and how to help them stay independent. When she's not writing, she can be seen shopping, attending church, and taking walks with her dog. She also has a passion for anything to do with the outdoors, so she enjoys camping, gardening, and hiking.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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