Myths about activity and ageing

By Get Active

Here are some common myths about exercise and ageing and the real truth.

Myth: I’m too old to start exercising.

Fact: You’re never too old to keep fit and improve your health! Ideally, we should all aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise that makes us a bit short of breath five times a week. Regular physical exercise has also been linked to lowering your risk for a variety of health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. The mood benefits of exercise can be just as rewarding at 60 or 70 as they were at 20 or 30.

Myth: I can’t exercise because I have limited mobility.

Fact: You don’t need to have full mobility to experience the health benefits of exercise. If injury, disability, illness, or weight problems have limited your mobility, there are still plenty of ways you can get active. Chair-based exercises such as chair aerobics and chair yoga can improve strength and cardiovascular health. To find activity sessions near you, click here.

Myth: Exercise puts me at risk of injury or falling.

Fact: Exercise can build muscle and bone mass, boost cardiovascular health, increase your energy levels and improve balance, reducing your risk of falling. Walking is a great way to improve your strength, balance, and endurance; you can use a walking stick or walker as needed for support.

Myth: Exercise will make my aches and pains worse.

Fact: Aching joints and muscles are simply the effects of age. As we get older our muscles and bones start to get weaker over time. Exercise can help with some of the symptoms of chronic conditions or conditions associated with ageing, including joint pain, and improve your strength and self-confidence. The key is to start off gently. For free medically-developed resources to enable self-management and coping with pain using exercise, see Escape Pain

Myth: I’ll never be as fit as I once was.

Fact: Changes in bone density, hormones and muscle mass mean that strength and performance levels inevitably decline with age. However, that does not mean you cannot improve your health or gain a sense of achievement from physical activity. Fauja Singh is the world’s oldest marathon runner, who finished his last race in 2013 at 101 years old. He has proven that age is nothing! The key is to set lifestyle goals that are appropriate for your ability.

To find activity sessions near you, try a search on the Get Active activity finder