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If you’ve been thinking exercise isn’t right for you due

to physical or health limitations, think again!

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As many people age, they tend to be more sedentary. This may be due to chronic health conditions, physical limitations or other effects of aging. But staying physically active no matter what your age is a great way to help you stay healthier.

There’s no doubt that you may experience more physical and health issues as you age. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t keep exercising. You may need to modify what you do compared to how you exercised in the past, but most doctors would agree that physical activity of any kind is better than no activity at all.

“There are a number of studies demonstrating both physical as well as emotional benefits of exercise. Exercise can come in the form of many different activities and does not have to involve a gym membership and workout clothing. Look for an activity that is appropriate for your age and physical condition as well as something you enjoy doing. Many find involving a friend, family member or spouse to be very helpful for motivation and companionship. Exercise should be a long-term goal and you are more likely to continue long-term if you are enjoying what you are doing.”

-Kevin J. Babin, MD, Internal Medicine

If these age-related fitness myths have been keeping you on the couch, it may be time to change your thinking – and your attitude towards fitness.

Myth: Now that I have some medical issues, exercise is not safe for me.

Fact: Regular exercise helps manage many chronic health conditions and is often recommended even following injury or illness. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Myth: My joints hurt so exercise will just make it worse.

Fact: In many cases, joint pain can be improved by being more active. By strengthening muscles around the joints and increasing your flexibility, you may find the pain is diminished. Water exercises and other non-weight-bearing exercises, like bicycling or the elliptical machine, are often recommended for people with joint issues. Check with your doctor first to get the go-ahead before exercising. You may be instructed to work with a physical therapist at first to learn the correct way to do exercises to minimize pain and prevent further joint damage.

Myth: I have never been active so it’s too late to start now.

Fact: It’s never too late to reap the health benefits of exercise. Aerobic exercise helps strengthen the heart and lungs and improves endurance and energy levels. It also helps control weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Strength training helps improve bone health and keep your muscles and joints stronger. Any physical activity you can do is good for your physical and mental health.

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Date Last Reviewed: August 8, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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