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Thinking Healthy: Debunking Common Myths About Aging

Seniors practice tai chi for exercise and communication. (Courtesy of CDC)

As young people, we all imagined what it was like to be old. Most of us have found that it is not as horrible as we expected.

But there are common myths about aging that deserve a closer look. This is according to the National Institute on Aging:

As we age, we need less sleep.

Not true. As we age, our sleep needs stay roughly the same: seven to nine hours each night. If you are napping frequently and not getting enough exercise, it will drastically affect your ability to sleep properly. Getting enough sleep has many benefits, including reducing the risk of falls and improving your overall well-being.

Elderly people should avoid physical activity to avoid injury.

Exercise and physical activity are vital for mental and physical health and can help treat some chronic conditions. Inactivity is often more dangerous because older people gradually lose the ability to do things independently. Explore swimming, walking, tai chi and classes available at your local gym and community center. Even gardening and house cleaning can be good for building strength and using a wide variety of muscle groups. If you feel like you’re losing strength and balance, talk to your doctor about physical therapy to address these issues.

Elderly people cannot learn new things.

Not true! Learning new skills, hobbies, and games is recommended for older adults because it improves cognitive abilities. Recent studies have shown that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography improved their overall memory. And new events help build new friendships and expand your community.

Elderly people inevitably get dementia.

Although the risk of dementia increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging. Forgetting an appointment or losing your keys from time to time is mild forgetfulness, not dementia. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your memory.

Only women should worry about osteoporosis.

Although the condition is more common in women than men, one in five men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. By the age of 65-70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Family history is a factor in both sexes, as well as insufficient calcium and vitamin D levels and too little exercise. Other factors include low testosterone, too much alcohol, certain medications, and smoking.

Some people are too old to quit smoking.

Your health begins to improve immediately when you quit smoking, and it’s never too late to quit. Smokers who give up the habit get sick less often, have less bronchitis and pneumonia, and generally feel better. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and lung disease. For help and resources, contact: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html

My blood pressure has come down so I can stop taking the medicine.

You should not make any changes to your medication without your doctor’s approval. High blood pressure is common in older people because our arteries become less elastic as we age. If you’ve been on medication and it’s working, you can’t assume that your blood pressure is now “fixed.” It can rise again without medication and increase the risk of stroke and kidney disease. Talk to your doctor and be very careful with all your medications.

There are myths and misconceptions about almost everything in healthcare, and it’s important to get the most up-to-date information to stay healthy. Start with your doctor, but you can also consult the CDC and National Institute on Aging websites.

As older people, we still have many of the same interests and views as when we were younger. Explore your world and discover new games, sports, activities and adventures. It is good for you mentally and physically. Work on making your life rich and fulfilling, and getting old is not so scary.

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Thinking Healthy: Debunking Common Myths About Aging

Seniors practice tai chi for exercise and communication. (Courtesy of CDC)

As young people, we all imagined what it was like to be old. Most of us have found that it is not as horrible as we expected.

But there are common myths about aging that deserve a closer look. This is according to the National Institute on Aging:

As we age, we need less sleep.

Not true. As we age, our sleep needs stay roughly the same: seven to nine hours each night. If you are napping frequently and not getting enough exercise, it will drastically affect your ability to sleep properly. Getting enough sleep has many benefits, including reducing the risk of falls and improving your overall well-being.

Elderly people should avoid physical activity to avoid injury.

Exercise and physical activity are vital for mental and physical health and can help treat some chronic conditions. Inactivity is often more dangerous because older people gradually lose the ability to do things independently. Explore swimming, walking, tai chi and classes available at your local gym and community center. Even gardening and house cleaning can be good for building strength and using a wide variety of muscle groups. If you feel like you’re losing strength and balance, talk to your doctor about physical therapy to address these issues.

Elderly people cannot learn new things.

Not true! Learning new skills, hobbies, and games is recommended for older adults because it improves cognitive abilities. Recent studies have shown that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography improved their overall memory. And new events help build new friendships and expand your community.

Elderly people inevitably get dementia.

Although the risk of dementia increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging. Forgetting an appointment or losing your keys from time to time is mild forgetfulness, not dementia. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your memory.

Only women should worry about osteoporosis.

Although the condition is more common in women than men, one in five men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. By the age of 65-70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Family history is a factor in both sexes, as well as insufficient calcium and vitamin D levels and too little exercise. Other factors include low testosterone, too much alcohol, certain medications, and smoking.

Some people are too old to quit smoking.

Your health begins to improve immediately when you quit smoking, and it’s never too late to quit. Smokers who give up the habit get sick less often, have less bronchitis and pneumonia, and generally feel better. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and lung disease. For help and resources, contact: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html

My blood pressure has come down so I can stop taking the medicine.

You should not make any changes to your medication without your doctor’s approval. High blood pressure is common in older people because our arteries become less elastic as we age. If you’ve been on medication and it’s working, you can’t assume that your blood pressure is now “fixed.” It can rise again without medication and increase the risk of stroke and kidney disease. Talk to your doctor and be very careful with all your medications.

There are myths and misconceptions about almost everything in healthcare, and it’s important to get the most up-to-date information to stay healthy. Start with your doctor, but you can also consult the CDC and National Institute on Aging websites.

As older people, we still have many of the same interests and views as when we were younger. Explore your world and discover new games, sports, activities and adventures. It is good for you mentally and physically. Work on making your life rich and fulfilling, and getting old is not so scary.

Reported by Source link

RELATED ARTICLES
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Most Popular