Myth: It’s too late to change the habits of a lifetime

This myth is a close relative of the “old dog” one. Again the amount of evidence available on the benefits in older age of regular exercise, healthy eating, keeping your brain active, and staying connected to other people is almost overwhelming. Despite this, many older adults think it’s too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle, mistakenly believing it’s too late for it to have much benefit. While it is true that we reap the benefits in later life of healthy choices made in our earlier years, the old adage “better late than never” still applies.

Exercise, even for those of advanced years, has many benefits, including increased muscle strength and improved mobility. It can also help reduce the pain of arthritis. So even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, it’s not too late to get off the couch. Check with your doctor first, start slowly and aim for a mixture of low impact aerobic, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises. We’ve found some good ideas on what’s needed to stay healthy as we age from the Ministry of Health.

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