Debunking the myths surrounding exercise for older adults

Debunking the myths surrounding exercise for the older adult

For some people, growing older signifies retirement and a general slower pace of life, and sadly becoming less active. As personal trainers, we believe the contrary, that as you grow older you should become more active daily.

There are many benefits for older adults; regular exercise can increase your energy levels, maintain independent living as well as better management illness, age related conditions or pain an even reverse some of the symptoms of aging such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Better still exercising is also great for the three ‘Ms’ of mind, memory and mood!

So, whether you’re generally fit and healthy or are managing an age-related disease such as arthritis, there are plenty of ways for older adults to get more active daily, improving your confidence and boosting your fitness levels to make activities for daily living easy.

Beginning a new regular exercise routine can be daunting and you may not know where to begin as many older people find gyms unfriendly and unmotivating place where all too often the focus is on younger gym members. You may also feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries and worries about trips and falls.

You might have preconceived thoughts that you are too old to exercise or too frail or that exercise is for the younger generation, is too boring or simply just not your thing! However, you cannot escape the truth that you really can’t afford not to keep moving and exercise regularly. No matter what shape you’re in now, no matter what age you are now, it’s never too late to start and reap the benefits of exercise.  Exercise does not mean over strenuous workouts, walking counts, so does gardening, anything that get your heart pumping harder will help. 

Exercise for Older Adults – Six Myths Busted!

Exercise for older adults

Older Adults Exercise Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising I’m going to get old anyway!

FACT: You are never too old to gain health benefits from starting to exercise. Aerobic exercise and strength training can help you look and feel younger as well as stay active for longer, making activities for daily living easier. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for many age-related health conditions, including dementia, heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity.

Older Adults Exercise Myth 2: I have a disability and I can’t exercise when sitting down.

FACT: Chair bound people do face special challenges but can lift light weights such as dumbbells, stretch using resistance bands and do chair based aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, flexibility and promote good cardiovascular health.

Older Adults Exercise Myth 3: Elderly people shouldn’t exercise and it’s best that they save their strength and rest.

FACT: A huge amount of scientific research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for older adults. More-over inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalisations from trip and falls, as well as the use of medication to manage illnesses and age-related health conditions.

Older Adults Exercise Myth 4: Regular exercise increases the risk of trips and falls.

FACT: Regular exercise that focuses on building strength and endurance prevents loss of bone mass and improves flexibility and balance actually reduces the risk of injury through trips and falls.

Older Adults Exercise Myth 5: I exercise for half an hour each day, so it’s OK to be a couch potato the rest of the time.

Fact: Recent scientific research has shown that even if you get the recommended amount of exercise every day your health can suffer if you sit down the remainder of the time. Change your sedentary habits to incorporate much more movement, for example, by lifting weights while you watch TV, move around while talking on the phone, or meet a friend for a walk  rather than sitting in chairs to catch up for a chat.

Older Adults Exercise Myth 6: I’m not fit enough to attend an exercise class!

Fact: Exercising at home is great but exercising with others can be more motivating and fun. Across the UK there are plenty of organisations of all shapes and sizes offering an amazing range of exercise classes, Age UK for an example of a national charity offers classes, and the Young At Heart Keep Fit Club offers classes in Hove, Portslade, Lancing and Shoreham by Sea for older adults aged 60 and above. So, there’s no excuse! You can find exercise classes for older adults of every fitness level including those who have never exercised before.

Our exercise classes

So, there you have it, six myths for exercise for older adults busted. And if you’re interest in exercise has taken a turn for the better, you may be interested in going to an exercise class that caters for older adults of all fitness levels; The Young At Heart Keep Fit Club classes focus on greater flexibility, balance and strength.

To view venues and timetables for our current list of classes please click here

In addition to the Young At Heart Keep Fit Club classes, your expert health and fitness professionals Ty Paul and Gav O’Brien offer one-on-one personal training as well as small groups of up to six people. For more information please click the button below.

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