Have you ever wondered why doctors encourage us to be physically active? Sitting too long is unhealthy for people at any age. However, it is particularly harmful to adults aged 65 years and over who lead sedentary lives due to physical disabilities, poor physical fitness, or even loneliness. Due to these reasons, it may be difficult to encourage seniors to get up and move around. However, you should ensure that your loved ones do not spend too much time sitting as prolonged inactivity can have negative impacts on their health.
Possibility of Becoming Disabled
Research has found that seniors who sit excessively may have up to double the risk of developing disabilities, which can prevent them from carrying out everyday tasks independently. Even if your loved ones exercise regularly, they should never spend the rest of the day sitting around. Insufficient physical activity can result in lower muscle mass and may lead to physical frailty that makes your loved ones unable to carry out basic daily activities, such as keeping up with personal hygiene or showering independently. This resultant loss of physical mobility may discourage them from pursuing exercise in the future, which then further complicates their current health issues.
Weakening Bone Health
We lose bone density naturally as we age. For seniors, this often means that their bones are likely weaker and more brittle. Do you know that a sedentary lifestyle can further deplete bone mass? Low bone density can be very dangerous as it increases your loved one’s risk of fractures, broken bones, and osteoporosis. When combined with poor balance and eyesight, as well as slower reaction times, your loved ones are at risk for falls. A simple fall can become a serious injury and have debilitating consequences for your loved ones. As such, seniors should have a robust emergency call system in case of any accidents.
Greater Chance of Developing Diseases
Smoking is widely known to be extremely detrimental to your health. Shockingly, studies have suggested that excessive sitting can be as harmful to your heart health as smoking! Other possible health complications that can result from sitting too long include diabetes, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, and even cancer. To keep these conditions at bay, it’s time you encourage your loved ones to exercise regularly and stay on their feet more frequently throughout the day. Set reminders for your loved ones to move around the house or take a walk after sitting or being sedentary for about an hour.
Greater Chance of Developing Mental Illnesses
Seniors who become increasingly dependent on others due to excessive sitting may experience depression. As your loved ones start to require more assistance, they may feel that they are a burden to their family and caretakers. This is especially true if your loved ones value their independence. Your loved ones may become more withdrawn, which can in turn trigger mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. To prevent this, you should start encouraging your loved ones to be physically active. When they are active individuals, they’ll be able to enjoy mood-boosting benefits that prevent mental illnesses and depression.
If you find that your loved ones are spending too much time sitting, knowing about the negative impacts of a sedentary life should spur you into action! You can consider accompanying your loved ones for daily walks. How about getting a pet to keep them active and engaged? Learn about your loved ones’ needs and preferences so that exercise or physical activities can be easily integrated into their lives without becoming a chore. Let’s help our loved ones become more active today!