Community Blog

Dispelling Myths Regarding Seniors and Exercise for Wellness Month

By Debbie Humphrey

I have a confession to make. I don’t always make it to my Orangetheory Fitness classes as often as I’d like. Personal and professional commitments take precedence over exercise in most cases, which is probably true for many others, as well.

Not that I’m making excuses, mind you. I do understand the importance of regular exercise to lose weight; to strengthen, tone and condition muscles; to keep joints moving freely; and to maintain flexibility.

Interestingly, I don’t see many seniors in my fitness classes when I am able to go, even though numerous studies have shown that seniors who exercise lead a healthier, happier quality of life than those who refrain from physical activity.

I find it interesting because after doing some research, I found many excuses seniors make to NOT exercise. Of course, there are physical and health constraints in some cases, but most often, aging adults share unfounded reasons why they don’t exercise.

In observance of National Wellness Month, I am offering facts as presented by that dispel the myths regarding seniors and exercise, in hopes of getting more aging adults to move their bodies for better health!

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising, because I’m getting old anyway

Fact: Regular physical activity helps us look and feel younger, increasing the likelihood of remaining independent longer. Exercise lowers the risk of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s Dementia, heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure and obesity. Exercise also improves your mood, no matter what your age!

Myth 2: Exercise increases my risk of falling.

Fact: Regular physical activity, builds strength and stamina, prevents bone loss, improves balance, and actually REDUCES the risk of falling.

Myth 3: Exercise is frustrating. I’ll never be an athlete again.

Fact: Our bodies change as we age. Hormones, metabolism, bone density and muscle mass change. Our levels of strength and performance certainly decline with age. However, that does not mean you relinquish the sense of achievement from completing exercises to improve your health. Set age-appropriate lifestyle goals that include physical activity. 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 before, 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 clock 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: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi to increase their ranges of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. Many swimming pools offer access to wheelchair users and there are adaptive exercise programs for wheelchair sports such as basketball.

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

Fact: Moving your body 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 actually improves it. The key is to start off gently.

If you simply HATE exercising, you’re not the Lone Ranger! Many people would rather do almost anything else than exercise, but there are a variety of ways to incorporate physical activity into your regular routine or hobbies you enjoy:

  • Listen to music or an audiobook while lifting weights.
  • Window shop while walking laps at a local mall.
  • Get competitive while playing tennis.
  • Take photographs on a nature hike.
  • Meet new people at a yoga class or fitness center.
  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show while on the treadmill.
  • Instead of chatting with a friend over coffee, chat while walking, stretching, or strength training.
  • Walk the golf course instead of using a cart.
  • Walk or play fetch with a dog. If you don’t own a dog, offer to take a neighbor’s dog for a walk or volunteer at a pet shelter or rescue group.
  • Go for a run, walk, or cycle when you’re feeling stressed—see how much better you feel afterwards.
  • Find an exercise buddy, someone whose company you really enjoy, and try activities you’ve never tried before—you may find something you love. At worst, you’ve spent time with a good friend.

Home Helpers® can provide companionship for seniors who live alone and would like someone around when they perform physical activity or attempt exercises at home. Our compassionate caregivers are also willing to drive clients to fitness centers, the mall, or shop for and prepare healthy, nutritious meals to properly fuel aging bodies.

I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to assess your needs or those of a senior loved one to see what we can do to help keep them active for a better, healthier quality of life!

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018 & 2019. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539