Elderly

Health after 50: myths, truths, and advices

Ali Hassan al-Attar / A physiotherapist / PhD student
University of Birmingham
27 October, 2014

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When you get old, it is important to maintain your health by exercising constantly and wisely. Regular exercising can help you to maintain better health, both physically and mentally. Yes, we cannot deny that the body changing is a must with aging. Yet, these changes should not necessarily be negative or painful. Instead, body changing with aging should be perceived as a natural thing that can be controlled and dealt with.

 

Fives myths, five truths:

Myth1:  Why I should exercise? I will get old any why.

Truth1: Exercise and fitness workout helps you look and feel younger, depend on yourself and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions; both mentally (alzheimer’s and dementia) and physically such as heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.

 

Myth2: Getting old means that it is the time to relax and save your energy

Truth2: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for older people. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to be independent and can lead to complicated problems, more doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.

 

Myth3: Exercising increases the risk of falling down and fractures

Truth3: Regular exercise increases your strength, coordination, balance, and concentration which will save you from falling and prevent you from such incident

 

Myth4: I’d like to exercises but it is too late right now, I’m already too old to start exercises

Truth4: It is never too late. You can start anytime, just chose a suitable sport or exercise program for your ability. The key though is if you haven’t been practicing for some time start light walking and gentle activities

 

Myht5: I’m disabled, most of my time in the chair or on the bed, I can’t exercise

Truth5: You can. Indeed, there are many exercises that you can do while you are sitting in the chair or laying in the bed.

 

Importance of exercise for older people:

  • help you to reduce your weight and have a healthy body
  • exercise help in controlling the pain in people with chronic pain
  • enhance strength, balance, flexibility and overall movements
  • help in improving sleep and manage insomnia
  • improves the mood, confidence and self-esteem
  • improves brain functions such as memory and concentration

 

Six advices before you start exercising:

  1. Get medical clearance from your doctor, ensure that you don’t have any health issue and if there are any activities which you should avoid.
  2. Yes, we encourage you to exercise, but keep in your mind that some limitations might exist. Identify these limitations and learn how to overcome them.
  3. Start gradually, don’t get over excited as to much at first could be harmful. Build up your exercise program slowly, step by step. Each time, try to add little more challenges to your program. Always warm up, cool down and have water with you.
  4. Commitment is very important. Exercises regularly, following specific well-designed program that is suitable to your situation and abilities.
  5. Stay motivated, set goals (short- term and long-term). Practice in a group, and keep it fun.
  6. Understand your body signals; be aware for any harmful symptoms such as pain, chest of pain, difficulty of breathing, or dizziness.    

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