|Exercise can be daunting for anyone, but many older individuals are often hesitant to start an exercise routine. The thought is that they’re too old, or too out of shape to start an exercise regimen. Many fear that they will injure themselves because it’s unsafe to start due to their current state of health.
“This is a myth. In fact, the opposite is true,” asserts Dr. Barbara Paris, Vice Chair of Medicine and Director of Geriatrics. Many seniors are worried that they might fall and break their hip, or that their chronic pain from arthritis will make exercising too painful. “Studies have proven that exercise in the geriatric population has significant benefits including diminished falls, increased strength, reduced risk for diabetes and heart disease, as well as reduced arthritis pain,” notes Dr. Paris. Additionally, many find that exercise creates new social interactions and reduces depression, improving longevity and quality of life.
Verdict: MYTH – You’re never too old, or too out of shape to start exercising. However, Dr. Paris notes that you shouldn't immediately engage in vigorous exercise without considering your health history. “If you've have multiple risk factors for heart disease, or another chronic condition, always check with your physician before starting a regimen,” cautions Dr. Paris. “Once activity is approved, slowly increase the duration and intensity of your workout to ensure your safety.”
|Dr. Barbara Paris
Director, Division of Geriatrics
Dr. Barbara Paris has performed research and published extensively throughout her career. She has been featured on ABC News and on NBC. She has been honored with the Special Recognition Award in Geriatric Medicine for outstanding contributions and teaching at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and is listed in New York Metro Area’s Top Doctors, as well as in Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors.
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