While certain health issues are expected to arise with age, an active lifestyle can help stave off some of the problems that affect sedentary seniors. And it doesn’t require a lot of work. A recently concluded four-year study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week reduced the risk of mobility disability by 85 percent.
Here are a few other senior living benefits of staying active:
Healthiness linked to happiness
As little as 10-min physical activity per week or 1 day of doing exercise per week might result in increased levels of happiness, according to a recent University of Michigan study.
The study’s coauthor Weiyun Chen concluded that, “Even a small change of physical activity makes a difference in happiness.”
Less loneliness, more sleep
Physical health correlates with both cognitive function and mental health, according to new research done by a team headed up by Dilip Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging. Jeste’s team found that cognitive function was significantly associated with physical mobility, wisdom and satisfaction with life. Physical health was associated with mental well-being and resilience. Mental health was significantly associated with income, optimism, self-compassion, loneliness, and sleep disturbances.
Lower odds of dementia
More than 50 million people around the world have dementia. That number is expected to triple by 2050. While it can’t be cured and there is no sure-fire way to prevent it, the World Health Organization recently said that people who exercise more, eat a healthier diet and drink less alcohol can reduce their risk of dementia.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among people 65 and older, according to the CDC. But regular exercise can help increase balance and prevent falls. Even if you’re unable to do an intense exercise routine with lunges and squats, something as simple as lifting your legs repeatedly while sitting in a chair can help strengthen legs and improve balance.
Fearing of falling is one of the things that limits seniors’ independence. Regular exercises can provide confidence and self-assurance.
Young at heart
Exercising regularly can help with cardiovascular health, which could mean drops in blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and better blood sugar regulation, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Exercise also promotes positive physiological changes, such as encouraging the heart’s arteries to dilate more readily.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Daily – or even weekly – exercise can be one of the keys to a happier, healthier, longer life.
To explore the benefits of senior living at Savanna House, contact us today to schedule a tour with a member of our team.