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6 Myths about Exercise and Aging

6 Myths about Exercise and Aging

Joan Schnorf

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”—Betty Friedan

Exercise and aging seems like an unlikely pairing because we often associate the passing years with increased frailty and decreased vitality. But, as Betty points out, nothing could be further from the truth. Check out these six myths about exercise and aging in Howard County. How many of them do you believe?

  1. “I’m too old to exercise.” One of the biggest misconceptions about aging is that loss of strength and physical ability is inevitable. While some amount of sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss that begins in your mid-30s) is unavoidable, research has shown that adopting a regular workout program definitely decreases the amount of strength you lose as you get older.
  2. “I shouldn’t lift weights; I’m afraid I’ll injure myself.” The truth is that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of injury. Falling is the number one cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. By focusing on functional exercise movements that enhance strength, balance, and coordination, you can dramatically decrease your chances of falling. Strength training is particularly important because it helps build up the muscle around your bones, cushioning them and making them less likely to fracture.
  3. “I’ve never exercised before; it’s dangerous for me to start now.” Just because you’re 80 years old and you’ve never exercised doesn’t mean you can’t start a workout program, provided you’ve spoken with your doctor first. Being an exercise novice can be intimidating, so the best way to kick-start your physical fitness efforts is by seeking the guidance of a personal trainer who can work with you to come up with a customized program that fits your needs and limitations. Individualized workout planning is just one of the reasons why you need a personal trainer.
  4. “At my age, exercise isn’t going to make me any healthier.” Regardless of how old (or young) you are, physical fitness is always important. Countless studies have shown that even minor amounts of exercise can have a major impact on an aging adult’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Some research has even indicated that exercise is a key component of maintaining mental acuity and delaying certain forms of dementia as you age.
  5. “I’m already in pain. Working out will make me feel worse.” The aches and pains of arthritis and overused joints may make you want to stay at home on the couch. But working out can actually help ease your discomfort, provided you stick to an exercise program that is tailored to your needs. Need some proof? Take a look at these exercises that could help relieve arthritis pain.
  6. “Gyms are for young people…I just don’t belong.” Gyms in Howard County, Maryland are frequented by people from a variety of age groups, but if you feel uncomfortable working out with people who are decades younger than you, personal training—either in small groups or one-on-one—can help you feel less self-conscious.

For more information about personal fitness training in the Ellicott City area, call Fitness Together Ellicott City today at (410) 750-2228.

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