Contributing to the rising rate of chronic illnesses, sedentary lifestyles also have much to do with the obesity of Americans today. This applies to all age groups. For those in their golden years, however, there are even more significant effects and dangers related to being sedentary.
For retirement-age individuals, the effects of sitting too much can result in serious health conditions. Rather than settling into your favorite chair upon retirement, you would be far better served by pursuing an active lifestyle. Think of it – without work tying up your day, you can now do the activities you always wanted to enjoy but never had time for.
Now you can go fishing, take your dog for a walk, attend a concert in the park, take a dance class, and more. Getting involved in activities like this are important because, sadly, nearly two-thirds of an older person’s day is spent participating in nothing other than prolonged sitting (according to Harvard School of Public Health). For the record, if you are inactive for two hours at a time, this is referred to as prolonged sitting.
Let’s look at why prolonged sitting is such a bad thing, particularly for older adults.
People who live a sedentary lifestyle have a lower life expectancy. Dementia, diabetes, and heart disease are life-threatening conditions that can worsen for those who don’t stay regularly active. To reduce a sedentary lifestyle’s damaging effects, encourage your loved one to move around as much as possible.
Seeking out a senior living community with an abundance of amenities, activities, events, and wellness/fitness programs can be a huge step in the right direction.
Falling Risks Increase
Balance can be affected when a person lies down or sits for too long. When they get up to move around, the risk of falling increases as a result.
Depression Risks Increase
Enhanced mental well-being is promoted by the release of endorphins. Exercise activates such a release. Additionally, energy levels and mood can be boosted by engaging in physical activities. If your loved one exercises with others, all the better.
Incidences of Memory Lapse Increase
Exercise boosts circulation. By boosting circulation you get more nutrients and oxygen flowing to the brain. There is a greater risk for dementia development in sedentary older adults.
Mobility Is Reduced
To keep ligaments and joints from tightening up, retirement age adults need to keep their bodies moving. This is particularly important for people with arthritis and mobility issues. To promote flexibility, exercise is particularly beneficial. By increasing physical activity levels, older adults can enhance their joint health through stretching and/or yoga every day.
Risk of Heart Disease Increases
To keep blood flowing through your body, physical activity is necessary. A devastating impact can be dealt to your cardiovascular system by reduced circulation. By lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, some risk factors for heart disease can be averted through increased exercise. To put less strain on the heart, obesity can also be prevented through the right kind and amount of physical activity.