Seniors and Fitness: Dispelling the Myths

What are the biggest misconceptions about seniors and fitness? At The Kenwood, we believe the most common myth is that one’s “golden years” are too late to affect any change to a person’s fitness or wellness level.

In fact, it is never too late to improve your physical health. Even frail nursing home patients, when put on a weight training program, have been known to demonstrate 70 to 80 percent improvement in muscle strength within weeks. Just look at all the benefits a little exercise can inject into your life!

Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to remain healthy as you age. Someone who has remained active their entire lives may see very little change in their aerobic capacity at age 70, where sedentary people may get winded just answering the phone. Exercise has an immediate effect on aerobic capacity, even after the first day’s walk of your new fitness regimen, your body has started to adapt and improve.

Although it may take longer for seniors to recover from strength and aerobic exercise, the body is capable of benefitting from fitness activities throughout life. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve some of the problems seniors face as they age. In other words, exercise can help bone density, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help prevent or manage diabetes, and improve cognitive function, mood and energy levels.

As at any age, only start a new fitness program after talking to your doctor. If you have been inactive, find a program geared towards “newbies” or seniors, like the Silver Sneakers programs. Simple, low-impact activity like aquatic exercise, Tai Chi, yoga and strength training machines all help build a solid base of fitness. You don’t have to run a marathon, either. In fact, walking has been shown to be one of the very best forms of exercise for people of any age.

There are a lot of ways to do ensure your long-term health – eating right, eliminating bad habits, etc. – but the best and easiest way is simply to exercise. So get up and move! Your body and your grandkids will thank you.

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