Dangers of the Sedentary Lifestyle for Seniors
For today’s seniors, inactivity because of stiff joints, chronic illness and sometimes just boredom and laziness is becoming a life-threatening danger. Researchers are finding that a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to older people’s health through increased obesity, strokes, hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions.
Thanks to the electronic age, the elderly are spending less time being physically active and more time sitting in front of television and computer screens, shopping and paying bills online, and catching up with family and friends via social media. The sedentary person’s metabolism slows, circulation decreases and muscles become weak and stiff.
On the other hand, movement supplies the body’s tissues and organs with oxygen and improves muscle flexibility. Physical activity keeps lymph fluid circulating to boost the immune system and fight infections. More rigorous exercise produces perspiration, which rids the body of toxins. Consistent activity also fuels the mood-elevating hormones that sharpen thinking and decrease depression. Seniors who keep moving also lower their number of doctor visits and reduce healthcare costs.
Small increases in daily motion, even folding laundry or sweeping the floor, add up to better health and longevity in the long run. The following are tips for altering the sedentary life throughout each day:
- Stand up every half hour and walk around and stretch.
- Stand while you read.
- Walk around when you are on the phone.
- Watch TV while on an exercise bike or treadmill.
- Cook more meals instead of ordering fast food or delivery meals.
- Shop at the mall instead of shopping online.
A more active approach to common everyday activities, and not just vigorous exercise, is a preventive cure to the perils of a sedentary lifestyle at any age.
What works well for you when encouraging aging loved ones to increase physical activity?