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Top myths about adults 55+ and exercise

Jun 4, 2012, 8:39 a.m.

Would it shock you to learn that only 25 percent of all people over 65 get regular exercise? If not, you're probably a realist -- either that, or maybe you know a lot of people who consistently make up excuses why they shouldn't be spilling an ounce of sweat regularly. One of the reasons exercise seems so unpopular is the fault of myths and misconceptions that have historically served to scare people off from taking up a workout routine late in life. To ensure you're not one of those them, let's take a closer look at some prevalent myths that surround exercise for seniors.

Myth: Senior exercise is dangerous and can result in broken bones if I fall down.

Fact: Exercise has been proven to improve your balance, as well as the muscles that you use regularly to get around. If you're afraid of falling down and hurting yourself as you get older, exercise is one of the few things that can guard against that happening.

Myth: Exercise for seniors can increase the risk of heart attack.

Fact: Getting regular exercise won't bring about a heart attack, it will decrease that risk. While there is always the possibility that overdoing it after years of a sedentary existence can result in a heart attack, you're putting yourself at even greater risk by postponing a healthier lifestyle. If you're concerned, talk to your doctor and work on a plan to ease your way safely into regular exercise.

Myth: Senior exercise can exacerbate the pain associated with arthritis.

Fact: While many people who experience arthritis are convinced that putting their joints through the paces will only result in making matters worse, the facts tell us something different. Individuals with arthritis who get regular exercise actually feel less joint pain than those who don't exercise.

Myth: Taking up exercise late in life won't have a beneficial impact. For some, it's too late.

Fact: It's never too late to start exercising. In fact, if you're sailing in your golden years and you're thinking about taking up an exercise regimen, there's never been a better time to do so. There is no evidence that suggests that people who take up exercise won't experience the same beneficial results as those who have been working out all their lives.

Myth: Exercise is a bad idea for seniors in ill health.

Fact: Seniors who are in ill health or who rely on numerous medications on a daily basis can benefit the most from exercise. If someone is in ill health, it could very well be exercising that brings them back to good health. In many cases, exercise is the missing element and leading a sedentary life is the primary factor that causes seniors to slide into poor health.

In case you hadn't gathered by now, exercise is greatly beneficial, regardless of your age or the condition of your health. The human body was meant to be exercised regularly and it's simply unnatural to surrender to a lifestyle where you experience less activity than you do inactivity. Want to feel young and vibrant again? Exercise regularly, and you'll feel better than you've felt in years.

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