To many seniors, maintaining one’s own health is a necessity. Those who are in an independent or assisted living home are well taken care of. The community and its staff are there to help its residents maintain a healthy lifestyle by providing services regarding hygiene, nutrition, and both physical and mental health.
Unfortunately, while there an increasingly number of seniors engaging in a healthier and more active lifestyle, there is still a problem. An alarming number of seniors are caught in a sedentary lifestyle. These individuals are failing to incorporate an appropriate amount of physical activity into their daily lives. Because of that, they are missing the great benefits for a longer and better life, resulting in them endangering their health and shortening their lives.
What is a Sedentary Lifestyles?
A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle where a person gets little to no physical activity throughout their daily life. People engaged in this lifestyle are often sitting, lying down and engaging in lower energy activities like tablet browsing and reading. This type of ongoing inactive lifestyle is a major contributor to preventable causes of death.
Lighter terms of this lifestyle is known as “sitting disease” and “being a coach potato”. Still, it is nothing to take lightly. Globally, one in four adults aren’t moving enough, according to the World Health Organization. While that covers normal adults, it’s affects seniors even more. Sedentary living in seniors was noted to be related to all-cause of morality in senior individuals, due to the correlated increase in metabolic problems, waist growth, and overweightness/obesity. Thankfully, seniors in an assisted living home or independent community have the right people looking after them. However, those who aren’t could be at risk since they don’t get frequent reminders to be active.
What are the Negative Effects of Sedentary Living?
This kind of dangerous lifestyle affects the body over the course of time. Because of the way it works, the body burns fewer calories, causing weight gain. Additionally, the body will lose strength in the muscles and bone density, because of the lack of minerals the body needs. Other problems can occur like poor immune system, blood circulation, hormonal imbalance, and many others. People might not feel it immediately, but these problems will eventually happen. The only way to stop this, is to change the way one is living.
If one keeps on refusing to change your sedentary lifestyle, there’s a chance they are at risk of a severe or fatal illness such as:
- Heart disease (heart attack, coronary artery disease)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Various types of bodily cancers (including colon and intestinal cancers)
- Metabolic syndromes
- High cholesterol
These are just a few of the risks that seniors with sedentary lifestyles could contract. Problems don’t just stop on a physical level. This type of living can have a major effect on one’s own mental health. A new study from Deakin University state that sedentary lifestyle can cause anxiety and mental health problems in a person.
Can Living in an Independent or Assisted Living Home or Community Help?
If you’ve become aware of your sedentary living and want to get better, there still is hope. However, you need to start off slowly and continue getting more active over the course of time. The more physical activity you get used to, the better. Still, don’t try to overwhelm yourself, as too much in a short amount of time can feel discouraging. Do what you can do and go from there. Remember, getting some exercise in a day is better than none. You want to aim for getting the right amount of exercise for your age and health, which can be a bit tricky for seniors. If you find difficulty but live in an assisted living home or senior living community, remember to ask for help and advice.
Be Active in Your Living Space
Being physically active more often doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every single day. You can fight off your sedentary lifestyle by being active around your living space, regardless if you live at home, a retirement community, or an assisted living home.
Chores that require physical labor like gardening, yard work, and housework all require some form of physical activity. If you feel up to the challenge, consider doing them at a faster pace. You’ll get more active, burn more calories, and get work done quicker.
Instead of sitting around and watching what’s on tv or on your tablet, consider doing an alternative activity while watching. Engaging in yoga, tai chi, low impact cardio exercises while watching is a nice alternative to sitting and watching.
If you feel like you need to socialize with others, consider walking around the community or neighborhood with others. Doing physical activities is more fun when done with a friend, and benefits you physically, mentally, and socially.
In senior living communities, the community and its management try to get their residents to get on their feet and become more active. However, they know repetition can be a major turn off for their residents. Many communities avoid repetition and keep their residents’ interest by switching up their activities and events. One day they could be doing ballroom dancing and the next day they could be learning new styles of yoga.
Sedentary living and senior living don’t go have to go together. Places with an assisted living home care or community want to make their residents feel active, engaged, and feeling good. If you think your lifestyle could use this way of life, consider taking the Smart Choices tool and finding out what kind of senior living is best for you. This tool can help seniors like yourself and your loved one find the right community that can take care of all your needs and help promote a better lifestyle.