Often as we age, we become less active, especially after an injury or illness. Sometimes seniors reduce their activity because they've heard inaccurate information about exercise and aging, so here are eight myths about physical fitness you can dispel right now.
I'll get injured:
The old saying "no pain, no gain" is just not true. You don't have to attempt a full workout routine right when you're beginning your path to fitness; it's better to start off slow and build up your stamina and muscles. By gradually strengthening your muscles you'll actually do the exact opposite: you'll become stronger, and your balance will improve, reducing your chances of injuries or falls.
It's too expensive:
You don't need pricey equipment or a gym membership to get in shape. In fact, you can exercise for free! Your local senior center or recreation center is sure to have one or more fitness programs or classes for seniors, or you can follow a yoga, tai chi, or similar fitness program on TV from the comfort of your home. Small hand weights, an exercise ball, and stretch bands are all examples of low-cost equipment you can use to improve your exercise routine.
My heart is bad:
If you have heart disease you might think you have to live a sedentary lifestyle to avoid damage, but the opposite is the truth. A brisk daily walk is a perfect exercise for a weak heart because it improves circulation and can lower your cholesterol. Check with your doctor before you start, and ask for a list of other exercises that are safe for your heart.
I'm too out of shape:
No matter how frail or out of shape you are you can always improve your physical strength. The key is to start out slow and rebuild your muscle tone and flexibility. An excellent starter regime is beginner yoga or tai chi because they build your strength and balance and can be modified for those who are chair-bound. Resistance bands are another invaluable tool for building muscles when you're too out of shape; water aerobics is another low-impact way to regain your physical health.
I don't have anyone to exercise with:
Cable TV and internet are both invaluable partners for exercising alone, but if you want a partner or group to keep you motivated check your local senior center or county council on aging for classes and groups in your area. Often some shuttles will provide transportation at no or low cost for seniors who wish to attend a nearby program.
I don't have enough energy:
This is a circle you can break because although you may not have enough energy to exercise the exercise itself gives you strength. Start out slow with a five or 10-minute walk or stretching routine each day and add five or 10 minutes each week. Before you know it, your energy reserves will begin to replenish, and you'll be ready to advance your exercise regime.
At my age, there's no point:
There's one thing you should always keep in mind: age is just a number. Exercise improves your balance, appetite, flexibility, and cognitive skills and can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and sugar levels among a long list of benefits. No matter what your age exercise will improve your quality of life, and isn't that what it's all about?