Thursday, January 16, 2014

Exercise Excuses Used by the Aging

The Aging need to re-think their attitude about exercise 

Regular exercise needs to be a priority for seniors and the elderly.  The benefits of participating in a regular exercise program are many.

ü Adds to longevity and makes a vast difference in the quality of life for anyone in the aging population. 
ü  Boosts energy levels, improves mood and confidence.
ü  Speeds up a slowing metabolism and slows down weight gain.
ü  Increases mobility, flexibility and balance.
ü Reduces impact and risk of health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, digestive issues and colon cancer.
ü  Improves sleep.
ü  Enhances brain power and helps fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  

The consequences for avoiding exercise for the seniors and the elderly are so many that it really is foolish to steer clear of it.  A sedentary lifestyle taken into the golden years is a recipe for illness, falls, hospital and nursing home bills and a premature loss of independence.  Yet over 75% of our aging population is not participating in some sort of physical activity.

Here are some commonly used excuses to justify not exercising.

ü  There is no point in exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.  The truth is that exercise will help you look and feel much younger than your actual years.  It will also help you stay active a lot longer too.  Regular exercise lowers the risk of many health conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity.
ü  Older people shouldn't exercise too much.  They need to save their strength and rest. The truth is that a sedentary lifestyle is very unhealthy for adults over 50.  Inactivity leads to inability very quickly.  Sedentary seniors end up with more hospitalizations, doctor visits, medications and falls than active seniors.
ü  Exercise puts the aging at risk of falling.  The truth is that by building up muscle strength, and stamina through exercise you greatly reduce the risk of falls.  Also exercise prevents the loss of bone mass and improves balance making falls even less of a risk to the aging.
ü  It’s too late to start now. The truth is you are never too old to start exercising, even if it is for the first time in your life.  There are many slow and easy ways to start including walking, stretching, yoga, and then working up to low impact aerobics or even ballroom dancing. 
ü  I’m disabled and can’t really exercise sitting in a wheelchair. The truth is that chair-bound people do face special challenges but they can still lift weights, stretch and do chair aerobics.  All of these types of exercises will increase range of motion, improve muscle tone and help promote a healthy heart.

The truth is that exercise is the key to healthy aging.  Today’s seniors and elderly who wish to be proactive about their health need to get seriously active.  No more excuses!

Kate McCarthy is Director of Operations for HomeAid Health Care which provides services for the elderly and disabled who wish to remain safe and independent at home.  HomeAid is sister company to Prairie Home Assisted Living which has served the physical, spiritual, mental and health needs of their Residents since 1999.  Together the two family owned companies provide comprehensive care for the elderly in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin.