Myths and Tips for Staying Active

February 2,2023

No matter your age or physical condition, it’s never too late to start exercising and get fit. These easy tips and myths that will help you get started safely and make it fun.

Six Myths About Activity And Aging

Myth 1: “There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.”

Fact: Regular physical activity helps you look and feel younger and stay independent longer. It also lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, and obesity. And the mood benefits of exercise can be just as great at 70 or 80 as they were at 20 or 30.

Myth 2: “Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.”

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, reducing your risk of falling.

Myth 3: “It’s too frustrating; I’ll never be the athlete I once was.”

Fact: Changes in hormones, metabolism, bone density, and muscle mass mean that your strength and performance levels inevitably decline with age. But that doesn’t mean you can no longer derive a sense of achievement from physical activity or improve your health. The key is to set lifestyle goals that are appropriate for your age. And remember: a sedentary lifestyle takes a much greater toll on athletic ability than biological aging.

Myth 4: “I’m too old to start exercising.”

Fact: You’re never too old to get moving and improve your health! In fact, adults who become active later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. If you’ve never exercised, or it’s been a while, you won’t be encumbered by the same sports injuries that many regular exercisers experience in later life. In other words, there aren’t as many miles on your motor so you’ll quickly start reaping the rewards. Just begin with gentle activities and build up from there.

Myth 5: “I can’t exercise because I’m disabled.”

Fact: If you’re chair-bound, you obviously face special challenges. However, you can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair tai chi to increase your range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. Many swimming pools offer access to wheelchair users, and you can also find adaptive exercise programs for wheelchair sports such as basketball.

Myth 6: “I’m too weak or have too many aches and pains.”

Fact: Getting moving can help you manage pain and improve your strength and self-confidence. Many older people find that regular activity not only helps stem the decline in strength and vitality that comes with age, but improves it. The key is to start off gently.

Tips For Getting Started Safely.

Getting active is one of the healthiest decisions you can make as you age, but it’s important to do it safely.

Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.

Consider health concerns.
Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule.

Listen to your body.
Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. And put your routine on hold if
a joint is red, swollen, or tender to the touch— the best way to cope with injuries is to avoid them in the first place. If you regularly
experience pain or discomfort after exercising, try exercising for less time but more frequently throughout the day.

Start slow and build up steadily.
If you haven’t been active in a while, build up your exercise program little by little. Try spacing workouts in ten-minute increments twice a day. Or try just one class each week. If you’re concerned about falling or have an ongoing heart problem, start with easy chair exercises to slowly increase your fitness and confidence.

Prevent injury and discomfort by warming up, cooling down, and keeping water handy. Commit to an exercise schedule for at least three or four weeks so that it becomes a habit and force yourself to stick with it. This is much easier if you find activities you enjoy.

Experiment with mindfulness.
Instead of zoning out when you exercise, try to focus on how your body feels as you move—the rhythm of our breathing, the way your feet strike the ground, or your muscles flexing, for example. Practicing mindfulness will improve your physical condition faster, better relieve stress and anxiety, and better help you to avoid accidents or injuries.

With these myths busted and tips learned,
let’s get fit together!

Robinson, L., & Smith, M. (2022, December 6). Senior exercise and fitness tips. Retrieved January 19,
2023, from

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