Five ageing myths you need to stop believing

It's an assumption that as you age it is harder to workout, eat right and get enough nutrients, have sex, and stay as active and sharp-minded as you used to. Instead, while some aspects do get harder (you might choose a walk over a run as you get older due to joint pain, for instance), you can also maintain your health by falling for these myths and working harder towards focusing on what you can do, in terms of eating well and being active.

Related: Secrets to living longer from 100-year-olds

Here are five common myths to stop believing now, so you can age well, giving a healthy lifestyle your full effort.

Old People don't need to socialise

It's thought that old people like to sit home and don't enjoy going out as much, but while the type of activities and settings may have changed (let's assume they're more into earlier dinners and card games than hitting the club), older people still wish and need to socialise for better health. A great way to do this is by having meal time with loved ones, whether it's family or friends, so they can feel happier in their network and enjoy their food more, too. Being with people over food helps you focus on the present and be more mindful of what's in front of you and on your plate.

It's impossible to be active

This definitely isn't true, as old people can still get up off the couch and move around. "Activity" doesn't have to mean a sprint, a cycling class, or a HIIT class, and it doesn't need to torch calories or make you feel beat up afterwards to count. Older people do have higher risk of osteoporosis and joint pain, which can make these workouts harder to do and can set them up for more fractures and injuries. However, older adults can still go for a brisk walk or jog, do yoga or pilates, which are lower intensity, or even dance, in a Zumba or water aerobics class. Water is especially easy on the joints! There are also plenty of people playing sports, doing high-intensity exercise and climbing mountains well into their golden years.

Older people have old ways of thinking

The phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," isn't true for humans. It's thought that older people have older ways of thinking, especially when it comes to eating well, and they may be more resistant to swapping out bread for a lettuce wrap or ditching juice for plain water. However, with the right information, older adults can rework their diets to incorporate better foods, like lean proteins, vegetables, and good fats, and they can get rid of the processed junk or "unhealthy" cooking techniques they may have been used to when growing up and raising their families. If someone you know who is ageing needs to fix their diet, help them by giving them good cookbooks, setting up an appointment with an RD, and working with them on small changes.

Disease is inevitable based on genetics

While genetics do play a huge role in increasing risk of disease later in life, it doesn't mean you're doomed. With the right eating and exercise habits, you can help reduce your risk of disease as you age, even if your genes are not working in your favour. If you know that you're at genetic risk for diabetes or heart disease, meet with your doctor to make sure you're on a healthy eating, exercise, and lifestyle plan to help prevent it and to live better through your final years.

Read more: 15 little ways to protect your heart

Your Memory Fades

Yes, as you get older, you might retain knowledge at a slower rate and have a hard time remembering things, such as where the keys are or your grandson's birthday. However, it doesn't mean you're bound to get dementia or have a worrisome level of forgetfulness. If you eat well and exercise, you can reduce your risk of dementia. For instance, eating fatty fish, like salmon, has omega-3's to lower inflammation and ward off the disease and blueberries also can lower risk of dementia. What's more, working out can improve brain health and cognitive thinking. Aim to eat "brain foods,"and make time for regular activity during the week.

Read more: Limit these foods to keep your memory sharp and reduce your risk of Alzheimer's

- This article first appeared on EatingWell

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