For many people, reaching the middle stages of life makes getting physical exercise more difficult. There are a few explanations for this perception: for one, most middle-aged and older people are busy managing full-time jobs and families, leaving less time for getting physical. Second, the aging process often takes a toll on our bodies and energy levels, making hitting the gym far tougher than when we were in our teens and twenties.
And while these factors are understandable explanations for not getting enough exercise later in life, they don’t eliminate this one basic truth: even older adults need regular physical exercise. Not only does exercise help us stay in shape, it can play an important role in limiting our chances of developing serious health conditions, from diabetes to heart disease. Now, let’s take a look at a number of the popular myths keeping older people from getting the physical activity their bodies need and, in many ways, crave.
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1. Myth: There’s No Point in Exercising When You’re Older
The foundational myth regarding age and exercise is that older people shouldn’t even bother with physical activity because it will lead to injuries and, even if it doesn’t, won’t have a significant impact on their lives anyhow. Why? Because older people can’t use physical activity to reverse the physical impact of aging.
None of this is true. While aging does tend to make exercise more difficult than it was when someone was in their teens or twenties, it doesn’t make physical activity impossible. And the benefits are nearly endless: regular exercise can improve one’s physical appearance, helping them feel more confident; it can help limit the chances of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease; and, as it does with younger people, it can limit the negative impact of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.