6 Myths About Exercise and Aging

6 Myths About Exercise and Aging

Well, it is common for many people as soon as they reach the middle stage of life to take a back seat, especially when it involves doing exercise. They find it difficult and there is a genuine reason for that – one of the major reasons is that most of the middle age and older people are busy taking care of their families and managing their full-time job. Ultimately, this leaves less time for them to go full physical.

Another reason is that aging takes a huge toll on their bodies. It depletes their energy level and hitting the gym would be something that they would overlook if they can sit on their couch and sleep in their soft-coated mushy bed.

Of course, they are not in their teens or youth age where they could go on wild stunt or tactics. Society obligations and moral responsibilities make them get encaged into providing food to the table and securing their future.

Let us face the fact, whatever the reason is, that does not dispose of the reason that old people must do regular exercise.

Exercising helps seniors to be in shape and it limits their chances of suffering from any kind of serious health condition from heart diseases to diabetes.

Exercising Is Great for Senior Citizens

It is a known fact that exercising keeps us physically and mentally fit; it helps us to go on with our day-to-day life with ease. However, there are huge external benefits involved and that is great for old people. Some of them are –

Providing A Stronger Immune System

Now physical fitness will not just make you stronger from outside. You become stronger from inside too. When you are in the pink of health, it becomes easy for your body to cope up with viruses and infections. You never become sick like others who are not fit.

When old people are physically fit, their body takes less time to recover from injuries and illness.

Leads to Stronger Bones

Among the elderly, osteoporosis is a dreaded disease. It leads to the reduction of bone mass as one starts to age. Hence, our bones end up being weaker and will not be able to absorb our weight and body’s impact.

If we fall in our older age, then it would be harmful and take a lot of time for recovering. Regular exercise will help elderly people to fight against the loss of bone density; it will help in providing the required bone strength and make the bones more resistant to extreme stress.

Lowers Risk of Old Age Health Issues

When it comes to old age, there are various degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s, etc. How can exercising keep these diseases at bay?

Well, exercising can keep old people’s mind’s cognitive functions active; an active mind is somewhat better than and helps in slowing down the effects of dementia.

Plus, exercising is known to strengthen one’s daily motor skills, and this helps in avoiding the Parkinson’s disease.

Clearly, exercising helps in opening the treasure trove benefits of old people. You might feel week in knees with the idea of working out, just do not worry! All you would require is short intervals of simple exercising on a regular basis and these will bring out the benefits of working out.

Exercising Can Be Easy for Senior Citizens – How?

Most of us would have heard of a single silver hair legend running marathons and clocking faster timings compared to people half his age. Frankly, you would not have to go that far or extreme measure for understanding the health benefits of exercising.

World Health Organization insists that people especially old age individuals should do 150 minutes of exercising each week. This is somewhat a manageable amount especially when you break it into shorter exercises along with 10-20 minutes of break time based on one’s fitness level.

Keep in mind that the exercising regime must not be less than 10 minutes as it would be difficult to experience any kind of benefit if it is for a short duration.

Go for Right Kind of Exercises

An elderly-friendly and easy to do exercise is based on four major sub-categories such as strength training, aerobic, flexibility, and balance. Now aerobic exercises help in training ones’ endurance and general fitness. Strength training builds one’s muscles and bones; balance exercise strengthens those muscles for maintaining the correct balance and flexibility lowers the chances of getting stiffness and improves mobility. These kinds of exercises are very much necessary for developing the best and all-around fitness, and it would be bad if you end up skipping them.

The proportion of these exercises makes up the weekly routine that you follow, and they can be modified suiting your needs. Frankly, it is based on what your current fitness level is and the physical condition you are in. Naturally, it can be hard to find out how much each of such exercises you would have to do, and you would need expert advice.

Having a trainer or fitness coach would be great as they can provide the necessary advice to get you exercising when you are a senior citizen.

Aging Is Fine and There Are Perks Involved in It

1) Gaining A Happier Outlook

This might surprise some people; however, studies show that senior citizens are the happiest individual; they are happier compared to their middle-age counterparts.

Various doctors and physicians state that this might be due to the presence of coping abilities. There lies an internal mechanism that is present in older people which helps them to deal better in hardships and especially under negative circumstances, compared to when they were younger. Most important, since old people are past their prime age, they are more comfortable being themselves.

2) Spending Time with Loved Ones

Old people are in their retirement age, so it is something that they like relaxing and being joyful. That is the time that makes them feel special. The best thing they can do or like to do in their retirement age is to spend time with their friends, family, and loved ones.

3) Pursuing Dreams

Famous doctors and philanthropists state that it is not too late to be what you always wanted to become. Your retirement is the time for you to jump in and pursue your dreams and passions, the ones that you have put on the hold mode.

4) Wisdom

There is always an intellectual and emotional benefit in aging. Studies show that seniors have better control over their emotions compared to others in their age group.

5) More Empathy and Social Skills

Studies and finding done all over the world clearly state that senior citizens have excellent empathetic skills and best social abilities. As they age, they learn a lot from their life experience to be more empathic and to live a happy life. They gain the best ways to socialize and interact with people.

Myths Related to Growing Old and Exercising

Some of the major myths you might come across once you pass your prime age and reach the senior citizen’s discount age are the following –

Myth – 1: No Point in Exercising When You Get Old

If you check the foundation myth that deals with exercising and age are because old people are not interested in doing any kind of exercise. Well, the reason is due to the injuries they might suffer. Even if it does not, still there would be a significant impact right on their lives. One thing that is important to note down here is that old people cannot start doing physical activities to reverse the physical impact involved in aging.

Frankly, such a myth is bogus. Aging does make exercising difficult to do compare to ones who are in their teens or mid-twenties; it will not make doing physical activities impossible. Of course, exercising provides huge benefits.

Regular exercise can help in improving your physical appearance; makes people feel more confident, etc. Also, it can limit the chances of getting any serious health issues and heart diseases. For younger and older individuals, it can help in avoiding the chances of the negative impact of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Myth – 2: Doctors Would Advise Against Doing Any Kind of Exercise

Certain senior citizens avoid doing exercises because their doctors told them. Some even assume that their physician might provide the same advice without asking the question.

One needs to understand that there are two different situations present here. The former one is reserved for those people recovering from dangerous physical health issues like surgery. Basically, irrespective of age, any individual can benefit from physical exercise. Unless you are an old adult suffering from sore back or knees, then it is fine to stop doing physical activities or games like football or hockey.

However, it does not mean that you cannot do other moderate physical activities like walking around the neighbourhood, swimming, cycling, etc. In case, you have doubts about how your doctor would react, just go ahead and ask them.

Myth – 3: Exercising Can Be Dangerous for Old People

Certain old people will not even try to take part in physical activity as they worry that it can lead to serious injuries. They fear that it might lead them to be dependent on other people as they might become immobile.

Such risk does exist, still, it does not mean that they need to stop. Younger people play sports like hockey, football, and even baseball. Even in these games, there is no guarantee that they will not lead to serious physical injuries.

What you must understand is that regular exercise will benefit your mental and physical health. It would improve your physical endurance to a great extent. Just think about it! An adult who regularly exercises will gain the required flexibility and strength to avoid getting injured. Also, they would be in a better position for recovering from any kind of physical setback.

Myth- 4: Not Feeling Well. So Exercising Is No-No

Of course, engaging in any kind of physical exercise especially when you are not feeling well is difficult. Every individual knows how one feels when they are going to participate in physical activities while suffering from ill-health.

By doing something before reaching to the place, that activity will make us feel worse. Sometimes there are chances that we would underestimate ourselves. However, the reality is different. Physical exercising will do a lot more to our bodies and mind.

Exercising can help the brain to release endorphins which can physically make us feel better. It will provide us an edge over depression and anxiety. Even it can help in building endurance, thereby making us feel capable of handling all challenges even the physical and mental ones.

Ultimately, if you are not feeling well, then try talking to your doctor about the kind of physical exercise you can do and one that makes you feel better.

Myth – 5: My Heart Will not Be Able to Take Exercising

As we start to age, our major organs become susceptible to various issues. For some, the years of consuming alcohol will take a toll on their liver. The same with years of smoking; it will have a huge impact on the lungs.

Life of being obese and overweight and leading a sedentary life will affect one’s heart. These would lead to serious health issues like emphysema, liver cancer, heart diseases, etc.

Unless you have been diagnosed with such serious health diseases and your family history is not filled with chances of getting one, then there is any reason for you to avoid exercising.

Being concerned that a lot of physical activity will result in a heart attack is only normal and this is worth discussing with your doctors. You need to understand that cycling around the block for a few minutes will not make you fall to the ground and twitch, holding your heart.

Myth – 6: Too Late for Exercising

Certain people spend their teenage age and childhood regularly taking part in sports and other kinds of exercise. Other people, whatever the reason is will not prefer to do physical activities, may be due to any kind of physical illness. Sometimes it might be since they are not interested in doing physical exercise or sports.

Now those in the latter camp, they would find it hard to start physical exercising. There is this perception that you cannot begin exercising once you reach middle age.

This is rarely true. It is true that if you are going to start physically exercising at a later age, you might need to work harder to get into the groove. Still, it is not impossible. You could take the assistance of physical trainers or an experienced friend having fair-knowledge in exercising to make you understand the fundamentals of exercising activity.

Finally – Throw Away the Myths

The time has come to just scrap off these useless myths. Even being in your senior age, you must not be devoid of doing exercising. It is something that makes your body and mind active and healthy.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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