After decades spent working hard to provide for our families, retirement looks like a welcome chance to relax, travel, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. However, an important part of making your golden years last with the most enjoyment possible is to make fitness a part of your weekly (if not daily) routine.
Don’t take retirement literally by ‘retiring’ from your fitness workouts as well. And although it may seem daunting, there are lots of ways you can revamp your retirement with a great fitness regimen, and with help. Don’t get caught up in thinking that aging makes fitness impossible. In fact, there are several common myths about senior fitness, which I’d like to demystify so that you can revamp your retirement with fitness:
Myth #1: As we age, our physical ability declines to the point where it’s unsafe to exercise. While it is true that our endurance, strength, flexibility and balance diminish as we age (particularly with inactivity), we are able to fight the decline with exercise. Fitness will actually improve your balance and increase strength, as well as giving your memory a boost.
Myth #2: Exercising may increase the risk of heart attack. Your heart rate should be higher when you exercise, but the likelihood that exercising itself may cause a heart attack is minimal. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle (a la ‘couch potato’) is more likely to cause heart attacks than a lifestyle that includes consistent exercise. A fit heart is a healthy heart.
Myth #3: The equipment at the gym requires more strength than a senior has. You don’t need to start your fit lifestyle by benching 200! In fact, that would be very unsafe. Start with simple exercises such as walking a short distance every day, and then work up to light weight lifting.
Myth #4: Exercising will aggravate and increase joint pain. Arthritis and chronic joint pain may seem to inhibit exercise because the misconception is that exercise aggravates the pain. However, movement in your workouts will get your blood flowing, which actually helps to relieve pain and improve the function of your joints.
Myth #5: It’s too late to start exercising, after years spent without working out. It’s never too late to start! Years of inactivity will require that you start slow and simple, but you can work up to a healthy exercise routine that will relieve the pain, reduce the risks, and improve the process of aging.
Featured photo source: Flickr user Ivan Mlinaric.