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5 Common Myths About Aging

How to Live Your Best Golden Years

As we age, we find that some activities and physical ailments tend to come to the surface more frequently. Perhaps we convince ourselves that the older we are, the less we can do. However, the truth of the statement is quite the opposite.

Research conducted on Americans over the age of 65 discovered that as of 2014, 46.3 million of the US population over the age of 65 is projected to reach a staggering 98 million by 2060. Now is the time to have a good understanding of what is factual and what statements are misleading.

Myth 1 – Exercise is Not Safe for Older Adults

While this is assumed by many, the opposite is factual. Studies also shown that lack of physical exercise, among other factors, increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And further visits and hospitalizations will result.

Dr. Jeffrey Rhoades conducted a study on how often adults over the age of 18 were exercising and how often. The conclusion showed that almost fifty percent (46.3) of adults over the age of 65 still engaged in some form of exercise, three times a week for thirty minutes.

The American Senior Communities reported that just walking alone has the following benefits for seniors:

  • Improves heart health.
  • Lowers blood sugar.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Low participation cost
  • Promotes social engagement.
  • Boosts mental health.

Myth 2 – Older Adults Need More Sleep

Older adults require less time, but just 30 to 60 minutes less sleep than younger adults. While getting enough rest is important at any age, it is especially vital to older adults. As we age, often we face more aches and pains which inevitably makes us want to sleep more.

Also, many older adults take more medication for different ailments such as arthritis, diabetes, and blood pressure. Many of these have side effects, with sleepiness being one of the top effects.

However, taking a 15 to 20 nap or rest can be incredibly beneficial to your overall health, no matter what your age is. Dr. Sara C. Mednick and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life claims, “You rest the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.”

Myth 3 – “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”

As a society, we believe that the older we get, the more we are set in our ways. While in general this may be true, as an older adult, we have more time to focus on hobbies as opposed to working full time jobs.

Not only is this mentally beneficial but also gives older adults purpose. “Hobbies like yoga or even a walking group gives seniors a way to get exercise,” claims Amy Santo, an administrator at the Smith Ranch Killed Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “These activities help strengthen muscles and joints, with the added benefit of getting out of the house and socializing with others.”

Myth 4 – You Will Gain Weight Because Your Metabolism Slows Down as You Age

Although the body does not burn calories as easily as it used to — weight gain in the older population is not a guaranteed reality. However, eating a hamburger and fries daily will inevitably change your weight as we tend to not be as active in later years to work off calories. Work on eating smarter to retain a healthier weight.

Because the body needs less calories when it gets older, it is important for older people to look at both what they consume and how much they eat. A healthy elderly person can work out up to 150 minutes of aerobic exercise of mild strength and two monthly sessions of muscle-fostering exercises.

Any physical hobbies such as gardening, dog walking or dancing, can keep you feeling your best and keep your mind calm. The most important thing is to be as active as possible.

Myth 5 – Loneliness and Depression Go Hand in Hand as We Age

It is inevitable that our social circle changes as we age. Friends, spouses, relatives begin fading from our daily lives.

While this causes some loneliness, it does not always lead to depression. If someone has experienced some form of anxiety, depression or behavioral issues in their younger years, those feelings often continue to present themselves even in the golden years.

Combatting this emotional state of mind is priority number one. This is a good time to volunteer or join a group of others that share the same hobbies. When at home, sewing or cooking are great activities to keep oneself content.

In Conclusion

Remembering that just because you are aging does not mean you have to stop living. Keeping yourself busy and healthy, will bring you many new memories and new adventures as you live out your golden years.

Auto maker Henry Ford was quoted as to say, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”