Some might think “granny is off her rocker” if she starts an exercise program. But it’s never too late to reap the rewards of an appropriate fitness routine.
Here are five myths about exercise and aging.
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 dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. Exercise will allow you to do the things you love well into your “golden years.”
Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest.
Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses. Inactivity leads to loss of muscle strength. Use it or lose it.
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. If you are afraid of falling, choose an exercise such as chair-assisted yoga.
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. Walking five or ten minutes the first day is all you should be doing. Keep it up every day. Next week, increase your exercise target by only ten percent. Your muscles will adjust, but only if you workout is slow and steady.
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.
If you are interested in trying a group exercise program, I invite you to attend my chair-assisted yoga class held each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Calvary United Church, 114 25th St. E. The class is open to anyone who wishes to experience the soothing energy of yoga. We use a chair for support to relieve the fear of falling that hinders the ability to relax muscles. The class will improve your strength, mental clarity and general feeling of wellbeing.
My yoga class is “drop-in” which means you come whenever your schedule allows. There is no set fee … just make a donation to the church. Once you start attending a group fitness class it will become an important part of your weekly routine.