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Debunking common exercise myths for the elderly

Namaste!


Here we are with answers to commonly known myths amongst the elderly that will present a clear understanding related to exercises and physical health. We will also share some expert insights, to help you make informed decisions about your health and well-being. So, let’s step into the world where age is just a number and fitness doesn’t know any boundaries!


As we go through the process of aging, our body undergoes various natural changes that can affect our mobility, flexibility and Quality of life. Although that doesn’t mean that we need to resign ourselves to the aches, pains and limitations! The phrase “Motion is a lotion” is a solution for all of us to keep looking and feeling fantastic as well grow older.


As a medical professional, we come across different patients asking variety of questions every day, regarding their limitations and the so-called ways of tackling them. Majority of our patients generally fall in the elderly category, which makes it essential to address the misconceptions surrounding Aging and give a knowledgeable voice to dismantle the myths. So, let’s dive into the purpose of this blog!

 

1)     Exercises cannot help me to strengthen my muscles. Is it true?

Ans: No, strength training exercises can help in delaying the process of Sarcopenia (muscle loss), retain movement functions, help us to build muscles and also prevents the loss of Bone Mineral Density as we grow older! (1) (2) (3)

 

2)     Joint loading exercises harmful at this age. Should I still continue doing squats?

Ans: Absolutely, in fact inclusion of the body weight exercises increases Bone Mineral Density, and improves the quality of daily activities. In addition, Neurobic exercises which include various brain activities, significantly improve the physical and functional performance. Minimizing fatigue and balance of an elderly can also be targeted using these body weight exercises! (4) (5) (6) (7)

 

3)     I walk 30 minutes every day with knee pain. Is walking exercise good enough for me at this age?

Ans: The pain is because of the declining strength of the muscles of the legs, which can result in abnormal walking pattern. Hence, strengthening the muscles around the Joints can improve the functions of daily activities. Also, adding different exercise training programs along with Walking can further improve the physical and functional performance. Lastly, walking should be structured to an optimum level according to the specific Individuals, to prevent any consequent effects. (8) (9) (10)

4)     All my house-hold chores are my daily exercises to stay fit. Are they enough?

Ans: No, because Daily activities involve movements within an initial or partial Range of Motion of a joint, and with almost no repetitions. To be really physically fit and healthy, we need to include exercises of full range of motions of the joints with particular repetitions. Therefore, exercises are essential in making our muscles healthy! (11) (12) (13) (14)

 

5)     Since I had a fall 6 months back, so now I can only walk with a stick. Will I be able to walk without assistance?

Ans: Yes, you can! Physiotherapy exercises with different techniques targeting a particular impairment can help us to achieve maximum functional capacity of an elderly and also it will help in preventing any further falls. This imparts confidence to the patient while movements; thereby improving their Quality of life. (15)

 

6)     My joints have become very old now and surgery is the only option left. Is it true?

Ans: Not really, exercises can help in improving the strength of muscles around the joints which can help in reducing the load on the joints. Also, it can improve the quality of bone, tackle pain and improve balance in elderly population, which can ultimately delay the process of surgery and improve the mobility functions in the patients. (16)

 

7)     Stretching is painful. Does it harm my muscles?

Ans: No! As we grow older, we feel stiffness in our joints and tightness in our muscles due to reduced movement of our body. Stretching of muscles helps in improving flexibility of the muscles, improving joint range of motion, and improves blood supply to muscles, which ultimately improves overall mobility and functional activities among elderly population! (17)

 

8)     Will I be even more healthy and fit, if I exercise more at higher intensity?

Ans: Absolutely not. Exercising at the optimum prescribed levels, based on the cardiac and respiratory limits of each patient, can achieve maximum benefits to them. Especially in elderly population, various factors and parameters needs to be taken care of, and also it will prevent any consequent effects of over or under dose of the exercises to the patients! (10)

 

So, whether you're an older adult yourself, a family member, or a healthcare professional, I hope you'll find this blog to be a trusted and valuable resource on your journey to optimal health. Nevertheless, this was just a tip of an iceberg! We come across such doubts for a lot of times in a day. Our goal is to provide a clear, concise, and compassionate guidance that addresses the unique needs and concerns of our elderly population, and help them to stay fit and healthy, or as we call it #TopClassBeyondPachaas!

Join us on our webinar “Healthy Year5 0ld” on 1st May, 2024 to get more information and answers to your doubts related aging and well-being of senior citizens!

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