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5 Fitness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Fitness Over 50

5 Fitness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Fitness Over 50
5 Fitness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Fitness Over 50
Wed Oct 10

Our concept of how older adults should remain fit and healthy has changed dramatically over the years.

Previously, it was often believed that older adults didn’t need to exercise very often and were better off obtaining more resting.

We now know that exercise is an essential activity for adults of all ages as it slows muscle deterioration, prevents bone loss, improves balance and coordination, and eases the symptoms of various chronic conditions.

Unfortunately, some adults over 50 don’t exercise enough or don’t exercise in the right way.

In many cases, this is because are relying upon incorrect information they learned while growing up.

This article will dispel 5 of these common fitness myths to help you remain fit and healthy as you age.

Myth #1 — Continuing to exercise when you are older is pointless

This is a surprisingly common myth among older adults.

There is a belief that the physical body is in so much decline in older adults that it is exercising won’t do much to improve your health.

While it is true that your muscle mass, coordination, joint flexibility, bone strength and other physical attributes are in decline, this can be reversed or dramatically slowed by exercising regularly.

Exercise has been proven to improve the strength of bones, muscles, ligaments and cardiovascular system in older adults.

It also reduces the risk of various chronic illnesses and has an anti-ageing effect.

The NHS recommends that all adults should continuing exercise as long as they are able to — regardless of age.

Their fitness guidelines suggest that older adults should perform at least:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week, or
  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week, or
  • A mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week

Moderate aerobic activities include walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, playing doubles tennis, volleyball, pushing a lawn mower, and dancing.

Vigorous aerobic activities include jogging or running, hockey, aerobics, singles tennis, riding a bike at high speeds, and skipping rope.

Myth #2 — Exercise needs to be high intensity to be effective

Many adults over the age of 50 began exercising at a time when the phrase “no pain, no gain” was in common use.

As a result, they often believe that exercise must be performed at a very high intensity to be effective.

They believe that the absence of pain means that a workout isn’t effective.

This myth has been debunked by researchers who discovered that low intensity exercise is beneficial to a person’s health.

Activities like walking, mowing the lawn, or riding a bike will burn calories, help you maintain healthy bones, improve brain health and provide many other benefits.

The “no pain, no gain” myth is actually quite dangerous as it often sabotages the exercise programmes of older adults.

Older adults will often start an exercise programme at a high intensely then either injure themselves or severely strain their body in some way.

After an injury or painful session, they often stop exercising for an extended period.

A better alternative is to ease yourself into a fitness programme with some low intensity exercises, then gradually build the intensity up over time.

Myth #3 — Lifting weights isn’t safe for older adults

This common myth suggests that lifting weights is a dangerous activity for older people as it can lead to injury.

The opposite is actually true — weight lifting can protect your body from chronic diseases and make you less likely to suffer from an injury.

The amount of muscle mass that the human body contains will naturally decrease by about 3 to 8% per decade after the age of 30.

By the time you reach 50, that has increased to about 1 to 2% per year.

Lifting weights will help you slow or reverse the loss of muscle mass. Lifting weights will also:

  • Help you maintain bone strength and density
  • Provide an anti-ageing effect for the body
  • Increase the production of useful hormones
  • Improve your balance and reduce the risk of a fall

Myth #4 — Avoiding activity is the best way to prevent falling

There is a common belief that the best way to avoid having a fall is to not participate in activities like running, riding a bike, or tennis or dancing.

The reality is that inactivity will actually increase the risk of having a fall.

Numerous studies have found that exercise improves balance, flexibility and motor skills.

This means you will be less likely to fall and injure yourself severely if you exercise regularly.

Exercise also reduces the risk of many diseases including osteoarthritis, diabetes, dementia, anxiety, and depression.

Failing to obtain enough exercise will leave you with poor muscle tone, poor balance, and thin bones.

A bad fall will be more likely to occur.

Myth #5 — People with arthritis or osteoporosis should avoid exercise

Arthritis and osteoporosis are very common conditions in people over the age of 50 in the United Kingdom.

Osteoporosis causes the bones to become less dense and more likely to fracture, while arthritis causes inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.

Many older people mistakenly believe that you should stop exercising once diagnosed with one of these conditions.

The truth is, failing to exercise will make these conditions progress much more rapidly.

Exercise will help to protect the strength of your bones and joints, build muscle mass, and reduce pain.

Talk to your doctor to discover the types of exercise that can be performed safely while suffering from arthritis or osteoporosis.

Thanks for reading 5 Fitness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Fitness Over 50. For more health and fitness advice, subscribe to the blog.

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