I’m sure we have all heard certain myths associated with exercise, some good, and some bad but for some reasons they don’t ever seem to go away. While some of these myths about exercise are true, unfortunately the bad ones have contributed to keeping people from becoming or staying active. As an Active aging specialist and a personal trainer to seniors, I can attest to hearing the myths about exercise and will highlight a few of them while encouraging people not to let them stop them from being active.
1.It has to hurt (no pain no gain)- while many people associate a good workout with being in a lot of pain during the workout or the next day; the first thing people need to recognize is the difference from workout pain and potentially hurting yourself from pushing yourself too hard or an injury. While a good workout can make you feel some degree of discomfort it should never feel like you are harming yourself. In reality a good workout is finding the right balance of some exercise discomfort while not pushing yourself past the point, which is safe for you. A good recommendation that I give people are if you were to rate each exercise on a rate of difficulty 1-10 with 10 being extremely difficult, most people should strive to push themselves at a 6-7 range in most cases.
2. I’m too old to start- while a lot people stop being active in school and when they choose to resume it is many years later; there really is no age that you can’t get health benefits from exercise. Although it is true that exercise is easier to maintain if you have a good foundation from youth; there really is no age that is too old to start. For seniors in particular starting to exercise or maintaining your current fitness levels are crucial because this is when I have noticed the biggest drop off of physical abilities between people who are active and those who are not.
3. Everyone has to do the same thing- because there are so many fad and trends to exercise, many people feel that everyone has to do the newest trend or the workout that has worked for them. While doing the newest workout might work for you, what if you don’t like to do yoga for example. My advice is to try and experiment with many different types of workouts or exercise programs because then like everything else in life, it will make it clearer what you like and what works for you.
4.Exercise takes long hours- if you have spent any time in gyms you will see that there are certain people who are there for hours every time they workout. I would argue that if you are spending more than an hour in most situations working out, you probably are wasting a lot of time or working too hard. My tip to shortening your workout time is to have a plan before you workout to cut out wasted time or hire a professional like a personal trainer who can make the plan for you and will keep you focused on finishing the workout in an appropriate time.