More than just a way to maintain a beach body, exercise is the number one contributor to having a long, happy life. Getting up and active -regardless of age- is always a great idea.
For seniors, however, the idea may be daunting due to the sheer number of myths surrounding exercise and the aging body.
“I don’t want to hurt myself.”
Even with an aging body, physical injury due to exercise can be avoided relatively easily. Before engaging in a workout program, class, or routine, speak to your doctor.
He or she will be able to recommend beneficial workouts for you, as well as open your eyes to which ones to avoid based upon your personal physical health and abilities.
In addition, having a body that is toned and strong actually reduces the likelihood of serious injury.
“My heart can’t handle a workout.”
False. In actuality, the heart benefits from regular physical activity.
This doesn’t mean that going years without hitting the gym and then enrolling in an intense 5K marathon is a good idea, but investing in a weekly low-impact workout class or cardio session isn’t a bad idea.
Something as simple as taking a brisk evening walk can help to keep the heart healthy by increasing blood flow and balancing cholesterol levels.
It’s important to note, though, that if you suffer from heart problems, you must be careful not to overdo it.
“I’m in a wheelchair; I can’t exercise.”
If you’re wheelchair bound, have no fear – there are still a wide variety of exercises that you can do from a sitting position.
These include both upper and lower body exercises such as bicep curls, triceps extensions, chair push ups, hamstring curls, and leg extensions.
“It’s too late for exercise to make a difference.”
You may be tempted to believe that in order for exercise to make difference it has to be a lifelong activity – it doesn’t.
Whether you’ve been exercising since you were a child or just started last week after you turned 70, exercise is still highly beneficial to both your body and mind.
Starting an exercise routine can improve age-related ailments such as muscle tension and weakness, bladder problems, and even increase lung capacity to effectively improve breathing.
“My balance is too bad to start exercising.”
Loss of balance is common as we age. It’s also a common reason why many aging citizens choose not to engage in exercising.
Balance, however, can be improved by exercising. Balance, when practiced regularly, can help you stay steady on your feet, avoiding falls and slips.
“Strength training will make me too bulky and prevent me from getting around.”
Women in particular worry about this one. The combination of the importance of independence as we age and the belief that strength training causes Arnold Schwarzenegger-like muscles is bad for the encouragement for strength training on a regular basis.
Strength training, however, is different than body building.
Strength training can use weights as light as 10 pounds that are unlikely to build you giant, bulky muscles.