5 Exercise Myths for People 55 and Older

While it’s expected that most older people tend to slow down with age, the notion that seniors and soon-to-be seniors should trade in exercise and their active lifestyles for bingo and rocking chairs is definitely antiquated, say physical therapists.

And yet, when it comes to exercise for the 55-and-older population, plenty of myths continue to drive people’s actions – or rather, inactions – when it comes to putting in the right amount of sweat equity to stay healthy and active.

From a physiological perspective, sure, most people are going to start to slow down in various ways as they get older, but that doesn’t mean seniors and soon-to-be seniors should lean into these so-called consequences of aging. Age is just a number, they say. And while one must be mindful about the ways in which they adapt activities to certain age-related limitations, regular exercise remains just as critical later in life as at any other point.

To help encourage the 55-and-older crowd to continue making exercise a standard aspect of their everyday lives, here is a list of the top five exercise myths when it comes to fitness at an advanced age:

Myth 1: “It’s Too Late to Start” – It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before now. Even if you’ve never had a regular exercise routine before, it’s never too late to start. “Better late than never” when it comes to exercise isn’t just an adage; it’s a statement backed by multiple studies. Exercising later in life can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Myth 2: “My Body’s Too Frail” (aka, “I Might Break a Hip”) – Unless you’ve been told this by a medical professional (i.e., physician or physical therapist) based on a specific condition or injury, this is likely fear talking. Not only does regular exercise help strengthen your body’s stability, balance and flexibility, reducing the chances of a fall, but it can also help strengthen your bones. (More on that later.)

Myth 3: “I Have Joint Pain, so I Should Stay Away from Exercise” – Again, the opposite is true. According to medical research, it’s crucial people with arthritis partake in regular exercise. Not only does it improve strength and flexibility, but exercise can also reduce joint stiffness and pain while helping sufferers ward off fatigue.

Myth 4: “I’m Too Old for Weight Training” – Weight training, also known as resistance and strength training, actually takes on a more critical role as you age. Studies show that not only does a stronger body help seniors stay upright and confident, but weight-bearing exercise can also ward off the onset of osteoporosis by helping maintain bone density.

Myth 5: “I’m Better Off Focusing on My Mind, Not My Body” – Fact is, focusing on the body is focusing on the mind. According to multiple studies, including one published last month in Nature Medicine, exercise improves brain health, helps ward off dementia, and may even slow the progression of dementia. In addition, exercise reduces stress and anxiety, and staying active often equates to a better social life.

According to 2018 physical guidelines by the U.S. Department of Health, older adults should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus weekly balance and muscle strengthening exercises.

And while fitness levels and certain limitations shouldn’t keep most older adults from exercise, some exercises may require modifications based on such conditions. Fortunately, a physical therapist can provide personalized guidance based on individual health conditions, movement limitations and physician recommendations.

 

San Juan Capistrano

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Services

  • Manual Therapy
  • Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Industrial/ Work Comp Injuries
  • Neck and Spine Injuries
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Ergonomic Assessment
  • Physical Therapy
  • Balance & Gait Training
  • Surgical Rehab
  • Sports Therapy
  • Sports Injury Rehab
  • Manual Therapy
  • Spine Specialists
  • Worker’s Comp Rehab
  • Strengthening
  • Conditioning
  • Pain Control
  • Throwing Rehab
  • ACL Rehab
  • Joint Replacements

Dr. Matthew Kirsten PT, DPT, TPI Level 1 Cert.

Dr. Matthew Kirsten is a local to Mission Viejo having graduated from Mission Viejo High School in 2004. Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton in 2009 where he also competed as a Division 1 pole vaulter on the track and field team. After his graduation from CSUF, Matt returned to his high school to coach the pole vault team. Matt went on to get his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine in San Diego. Matt has since received certification from the Titleist Performance Institute as a level 1 medical professional. He continues to enjoy working with athletes of all skill levels and getting his patients back to the activities they are passionate about. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing ice hockey and watching sports with his wife Jennifer and son Logan.

Robert Oakes, PTA

Bobby Oakes grew up in Capistrano Beach, California and attended St. Margaret’s Episcopal High School in San Juan Capistrano. He received his Physical Therapy Assistant License in October of 2018 after attending American Career College in Anaheim. Bobby is also Titleist Performance Institute Certified in addition to his physical therapy credentials. During his free time Bobby enjoys playing golf, surfing, running, and traveling. Bobby strives to provide the best treatment for every patient he sees and will always go the extra mile to provide the best care.

 

Jessica England, Patient Service Rep.

West Covina

Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Services

  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation
  • Post-Operative conditions
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Strength and Conditioning Programs
  • Industrial/Workers’ Compensation Injuries
  • Sports Injury
  • Certified MDT (McKenzie Approach) for Spine and Extremities
  • Occupational Therapy/Certified Hand Therapist
  • Custom Splint Fabrication
  • ASTYM – Soft Tissue Mobilization Technique

Saousan Ramadan, PT, DPT

Saousan is originally from Boston, MA and obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Simmons University. She began working with pediatrics, and has since worked with sports related injuries and the geriatric population.   She enjoys working with all populations and is an advocate for patient education and injury prevention. In her spare time, she loves to travel and has been to 18 countries (so far). She speaks 5 languages conversationally in addition to being bilingual in Arabic and English.

Ed Detels OTR/L CHT, Certified Hand Therapist

Ed Detels has been practicing hand therapy for over 20 years in Orange County. He has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and obtained his national designation as a Certified Hand Therapist in 2002. He partnered with PRN to found California Hand Therapy in 2005, which has grown to 11 centers and employs 8 certified hand therapists as the leading outpatient hand therapy group on the West coast. Ed obtained his certification in ASTYM (a soft-tissue mobilization technique) as well as extensive continuing education with custom splinting, kinesiotape application and nerve mobilization. Ed is the father of three.

San Juan Capistrano

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Services

  • Manual Therapy
  • Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Industrial/ Work Comp Injuries
  • Neck and Spine Injuries
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Ergonomic Assessment
  • Physical Therapy
  • Balance & Gait Training
  • Surgical Rehab
  • Sports Therapy
  • Sports Injury Rehab
  • Manual Therapy
  • Spine Specialists
  • Worker’s Comp Rehab
  • Strengthening
  • Conditioning
  • Pain Control
  • Throwing Rehab
  • ACL Rehab
  • Joint Replacements

Dr. Matthew Kirsten PT, DPT, TPI Level 1 Cert.

Dr. Matthew Kirsten is a local to Mission Viejo having graduated from Mission Viejo High School in 2004. Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton in 2009 where he also competed as a Division 1 pole vaulter on the track and field team. After his graduation from CSUF, Matt returned to his high school to coach the pole vault team. Matt went on to get his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine in San Diego. Matt has since received certification from the Titleist Performance Institute as a level 1 medical professional. He continues to enjoy working with athletes of all skill levels and getting his patients back to the activities they are passionate about. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing ice hockey and watching sports with his wife Jennifer and son Logan.

Robert Oakes, PTA

Bobby Oakes grew up in Capistrano Beach, California and attended St. Margaret’s Episcopal High School in San Juan Capistrano. He received his Physical Therapy Assistant License in October of 2018 after attending American Career College in Anaheim. Bobby is also Titleist Performance Institute Certified in addition to his physical therapy credentials. During his free time Bobby enjoys playing golf, surfing, running, and traveling. Bobby strives to provide the best treatment for every patient he sees and will always go the extra mile to provide the best care.

Jessica England, Patient Service Rep.