Thinking about how to begin a fitness routine? Good for you! As you grow older, leading an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise helps seniors maintain health, boost energy, and improve confidence.
The good news is—no matter your age, your health, or your fitness level—you can benefit from moving more. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness, there are big and small ways to get more active and boost your fitness level.
Exercise is the key to healthy aging
Have you heard exercise is important for older adults, but don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone. Many seniors feel discouraged by fitness barriers, such as chronic health conditions or concerns about injury or falls. If you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or maybe an ongoing health problem or disability is keeping you from getting active. Perhaps you think you’re too old or frail.
The truth is that you can’t afford not to get moving. Exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older. It can help you manage the symptoms of illness and pain, maintain your independence, and even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s good for your mind, mood, and memory.
No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness—even if you’re housebound—there are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health.
5 Myths about Exercise and Older Adults
Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.
Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Myth 2: Elderly people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest.
Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for the elderly. Period. Inactivity often causes seniors to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.
Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.
Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.
Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old, to start exercising
Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.
Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down.
Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.