Just 1 out of 4 people between the ages of 65 and 74 exercise regularly. Many people assume that they’re too out-of-shape, or too sick, or too old to do physical activity.
Exercise is almost always good for people of any age, says Dr Chhanda Dutta, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging.
Exercise helps prevent bone loss, improves balance and sustains coordination. It’s also a natural anti-depressant. Not to mention that it boosts your memory and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions.
These are the most common myths that people believe about ageing and exercise, along with some expert advice to set the record straight:
1. Exercise Myth: Exercising and trying to get healthy is pointless – a decline in old age is inevitable.
There’s a powerful myth that getting older means getting decrepit, says Dutta. Some people in their 70s, 80s and 90s are out there running marathons and becoming body-builders! A lot of the symptoms that we associate with old age – such as weakness and loss of balance – are essentially symptoms of inactivity, not age, says Dr Alicia Arbaje. Dr Arbaje is an assistant professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
2. Exercise Myth: Exercise isn’t safe for someone my age – I don’t want to break my hip!
Studies show that exercise can reduce your chances of a fall, says Dutta. Exercise builds strength, balance and agility. Exercises like Tai chi may be especially helpful in improving balance. If you are concerned about Osteoporosis and weak bones, one of the best ways to strengthen your skeletal system is with regular exercise.
3. Exercise Myth: I never really exercised before – it’s too late to make a difference in my health.
It may seem too late to compensate for a lifetime of not exercising. That’s absolutely not true, says Dutta. Studies have found that starting an exercise routine very late in life can still boost muscle strength. Other research shows that starting exercise late in life can still cut the risk of health problems – such as diabetes – and improve symptoms. It really is never too late to start exercising and reaping the benefits, Dutta emphasises.
At Garlington Retirement Village, we know that an active life connected to the community and the outdoors go a long way to ensuring a happy retirement. Here, you can reap the benefits of exclusive birding walks, conducted regularly by Rock Jumper Birding, South Africa’s leading birding company. Garlington Retirement village also offers over 60 hectares of open country perfect for hiking, strolls, birding, cycling or walking your dog. Why not enhance your golf on the driving range? Or visit the fully equipped gym with a personal trainer and inspiring views of the Midlands. Every day is a good day to live up to your full potential.