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Good Pain vs Bad Pain, Do You Know the Difference?

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Did you know that only 1 out of 4 adults between the ages of 65 and 74 exercise regularly? Why? Most often it is due to pain. Either they don’t have it and are afraid they will with exercise (getting hurt), or they do have it and believe that not moving is the best way to handle it. Both thoughts are inaccurate to a certain degree.

“Exercise is almost always good for people of any age,” says Chhanda Dutta, PhD, Chief of the Gerontology Branch at the National Institute of Aging. Exercise can help increase strength, which can prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination through strengthening core muscles, lift mood, boost memory and prevent many chronic conditions. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity can have serious implications for people’s health. Approximately 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity.

Following are some myths about exercise. Please share them with those you know who are inactive!

1. Exercise isn’t safe for someone my age—I don’t want to fall and break anything.

a. Studies show that consistently exercising does reduce your chances of a fall. Dutta points out how exercise builds strength, balance, and agility.

b. Most falls are a result of weak legs and imbalanced muscles.

c. Osteoporosis is often reversed with exercise since it strengthens bones. (Ask fellow CustomFitter, Judy Christian.)

2. Exercise is pointless and decline in old age is inevitable.

a. Dutta says that “there’s a powerful myth that getting older means getting decrepit. It’s not true since people in their 70’s and up are running marathons.”

b. According to Alicia I Arbaje, MD, MPH of Johns Hopkins University, “A lot of the symptoms we associate with old age—such as weakness and loss of balance—are actually symptoms of inactivity, not old age.”

3. Exercise will hurt my joints.

a. Studies show that the best medicine for arthritis pain is movement. It keeps joints from becoming frozen.

b. Exercise burns calories and the best gift you can give your knees is weight loss. For every pound of weight lost there is a 4-pound reduction in pressure on the knee joint.

c. Exercise encourages eating healthier. Avoiding inflammatory foods that are highly processed, salt, red meat, alcohol, and sugars.

4. Exercise will make my health problem worse.

a. Chronic health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease can almost always improve with the right exercise program. Obviously, we recommend seeing your doctor first but a low impact, supervised exercise prescription is usually the best medicine.

Some pain is an indication that there is a reason to take it easy. Some injuries are best healed with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Sharp pains that do not ease up with movement are potentially a reason to visit the doctor. Back pain can usually be overcome with exercise. However, there are times when there is a need for doctor’s diagnosis.

Even with back pain, we have countless clients who have seen very real, permanent relief through the right exercise and stretching program. (Ask Aya Lueders, Lane Northcut, Tim Corder, Jim Bishop, Liz Strand and so many more!)

Interested in learning how physical activity

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