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Make exercise a priority in mid-life

Make exercise a priority in mid-life
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Everyone should find a workout or active hobby they enjoy to reap the benefits of exercise.  This is especially true for people over 50 who might not be moving as much as they have in the past. Don’t let the following myths prevent you from staying active and healthy.

Find out how much exercise you need to live longer.

Myth: I haven’t exercised my whole life – it’s too late to start

Myth: I haven’t exercised my whole life – it’s too late to start
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The one thing to remember is that you’re never too old to start exercising. “There is no expiration date on our body’s ability to benefit from physical activity,” says personal trainer and specialist in geriatric physiotherapy, Alice Bell. “Studies show that individuals who adopt an active lifestyle at any age can demonstrate improvements in strength, endurance, balance, and cognitive performance.”

Myth: I shouldn’t run anymore

Myth: I shouldn’t run anymore
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A sedentary person shouldn’t attempt a marathon overnight – or even a 5K. But regular runners don’t have to stop just because they’re getting older. Running is fantastic for cardiovascular health and mental clarity. “People say that running is too hard on your joints and should be avoided, particularly as you age, however, there are many people who run well into their older age and continue to see benefit without issues,” says physiotherapist,  Chad McCann. “While the choice to run should be individual, there is little indication that running leads to arthritis or joint damage. Some people can continue to run successfully as they age, although their distances and intensity may change to promote health.” Wearing the right shoes is key to preventing injury.

Myth: Walking is enough

Myth: Walking is enough
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Walking is great, but your body needs more. “The greatest long-term benefits of exercise stem from working your body into overload, meaning pushing strength, flexibility, and cardio conditioning to force your body to adapt to more stressful requirements,” explains McCann. “While there is research connecting some walking to basic heart health, walking alone does not stress your heart enough to create true cardiovascular improvement.” Try building in some intervals – short bursts of fast walking or jogging – into your walks, and make time for strength training as well, he says.

Check out what happens to your body when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.

Myth: Lifting weights is bad for my joints

Myth: Lifting weights is bad for my joints
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You don’t need to stick to one-kilo weights just because you’re 50, 60, or even 70. It’s all about knowing your body and proper form. “Weight-lifting can be a very daunting form of exercise – some people are concerned that it will actually produce more harm than good. However, lifting with good form and appropriate weights has been proven to be safe and effective for strength development for all ages,” says McCann. “In addition, weight-lifting is critical for long-term bone health and general strength can be a good indicator of long-term independence. There is little evidence that weight-lifting leads to arthritis or other joint issues.”

Myth: You can’t fix poor balance

Myth: You can’t fix poor balance
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“Balance is just like all other forms of fitness – the more you work on it, the better it gets,” says McCann. More to the point, being steady on your feet will help you avoid falls and stay healthy, “It’s another solid predictor of lifelong independence and shouldn’t be ignored in any fitness regimen.”

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Myth: I’m inflexible, and I have to accept that

Myth: I’m inflexible, and I have to accept that
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Many people say they’re inflexible, but what they really mean is that their body is tight. Although our genes play a role in how well your body can bend and stretch, you can improve on what you’ve inherited by adding regular stretching or yoga to your routine. Need more convincing?

Could you hold this yoga pose if your life depended on it? Read on to find out.

Myth: I’m injured – I should wait to start working out

Myth: I’m injured – I should wait to start working out
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Doctors encourage people with hip or knee replacements to start moving as soon as possible; the reason is that keeping circulation strong and active can help speed healing. So if you have an injury, talk to your doctor or work with a trained professional to get back on your feet. “There is plenty of research that indicates a substantial pain benefit from starting a basic exercise program,” says McCann. “Improving strength and flexibility helps reduce joint irritability and improves joint lubrication.” He points to research demonstrating that exercise can reduce the psychological and emotional stress that can exacerbate pain.

Here are some important things to know about knee replacements.

Myth: High-intensity interval training is dangerous

Myth: High-intensity interval training is dangerous
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Time and time again, research has demonstrated that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most effective ways to get in shape. If you’re uncertain about this technique, sign up with a fitness professional to ensure success, Jones says, but remember that it’s a form of training that can be effective for people of all ages. “HIIT has even shown to be helpful for people that have heart disease and diabetes.”

Don’t miss this at-home HIIT workout you can do every day.

Myth: Squats will wreck my knees

Myth: Squats will wreck my knees
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There’s a reason so many trainers say their favourite exercise is a squat. “Properly performed squats will not result in knee pain or injury – they’re one of the staples of a well-rounded exercise program that can help you get a stronger lower body,” says physiotherapist, Christina Prevett.

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