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Benefits of Exercise For Seniors

Myths About Exercise and Older Adults

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There are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or worries about falling. Or perhaps you think that exercising simply isnít for you. But as you grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to your health.

People who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. Enhance your mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge as you get older. You may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls.

Or, if you've never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or perhaps you think you're too old or frail, or that exercise is boring or simply not for you.

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Importance of Staying Physically Fit

Have you heard exercise is important for older adults, but donít know where to begin? Youíre not alone. Many seniors feel discouraged by fitness barriers, such as chronic health conditions or concerns about injury or falls. If youíve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or maybe an ongoing health problem or disability is keeping you from getting active. Perhaps you think youíre too old or frail.

The truth is that you canít afford not to get moving. Exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older. No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesnít require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. Itís about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illnessóeven if youíre houseboundóthere are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health.

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Five Myths about Exercise and Older Adults

Myth 1: Thereís no point to exercising. Iím 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 Alzheimerís and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Myth 2: Elderly people shouldnít exercise. They should save their strength and rest.

FACT: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for the elderly. Period. Inactivity often causes seniors to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.

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.

Myth 4: Itís too late. Iím already too old to start exercising.

FACT: Youíre never too old to exercise! If youíve never exercised before, or itís been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.

Myth 5: Iím disabled. I canít 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.

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