August 25, 2012
Many Orange County, California seniors have a difficult time starting an exercise regimen. This is certainly to be expected – getting involved in an exercise program is not easy at any age, much less for someone who is older. Orange County weather can’t be blamed. Much of the county has the benefit of “Sunny and 70” degrees year-round. Seniors in Brea might expect slightly warmer summers but it still shouldn’t be a big barrier to exercise. To mentally get over the hurdle of getting started, it makes sense to begin by first separating fact from fiction when it comes to exercise. Here are some common myths that need to be dispelled (along with the realities):
It’s too late (at my age) to start exercising.
Exercise, in fact, is beneficial for individuals regardless of age, even for those who are in their 70s, 80s, or even 90s. Muscle mass naturally decreases after age 40; however, it is possible to build muscle at any age. Strong muscles help make daily tasks easier, and provide balance and stability to prevent falls. Bottom line: it’s never too late, even if it means finding an exercise program that is performed without ever leaving a chair (or wheelchair).
I will get injured.
Injuries can happen during exercise for someone at any age. However, attending fitness classes designed specifically for seniors, or working with a trainer who is proficient in senior fitness, will minimize this risk. Low impact, light resistance classes work best for seniors just beginning a fitness program.
I am not flexible enough to exercise.
Decreased range of motion is not unusual. However, this should not be viewed as an obstacle to exercising. Exercise, especially classes that specifically incorporate stretching, improves range of motion and function in seniors. This can relieve muscle and joint pain associated with stiffness and lack of circulation.
Since I have osteoporosis I cannot exercise.
Osteoporosis should not prevent exercise at any age. In fact, exercise actually strengthens the bones by stimulating bone growth, therefore combating osteoporosis. The risk of breaks or fractures has been found to be reduced among seniors that exercise. It also improves overall function.
Many community centers have fitness programs for seniors and facilites for exercise. My partner Ellen and I are members of Brea’s fitness center. The price is great, the staff is friendly and they have a Silver Sneakers program especially for North Orange County Seniors.