Have you heard this recent "fad"? Sitting is the new smoking, meant to suggest that a sedentary lifestyle is as dangerous to your health as smoking. Cigarettes, tobacco use and vaping are definitely very unhealthy habits for people of any age. The health benefits of stopping these behaviors can add years to your life. You can combat obesity, high blood pressure, improve lung performance and build up your immune system.
Guess what? Moving more and spending less time sitting down can do all these same things for you!
The Benefits of Movement
An American Cancer Society study examined 14 years' worth of data on over 90,000 people, who were considered "active" and "inactive". The study asked participants who were very inactive – that is to say, they did less than 17 minutes a day of light physical activity – to perform 30 minutes of light activity each day. The results? Their risk of premature death decreased by 14 percent.
These same very inactive participants who gave more energy – 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day over being sedentary – actually reduced their risk of early death by 45 percent.
People who were already considered active also experienced benefits, although not as much. This is because people who are considered active (38 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity) are already enjoying the benefits of being healthy. These benefits include a stronger heart and lower risk for stroke.
Getting Seniors Moving
An active lifestyle is important for people of all ages. Seniors who have lost mobility or independence due to injury or chronic conditions like arthritis may find it more difficult to be active. For seniors living in an independent, assisted/supportive or skilled nursing community, there are a plethora of activities for residents of all abilities.
Seniors can easily spend their days watching television, reading or working board games. Many of these activities can challenge their minds and hold their interest, but they do not help them with the physical benefits of movement. Here are some ideas to motivate the seniors in your life to get up and move!
- Seated Activities: Lots of physical activities can be done while sitting in a chair. This is a terrific option if someone has trouble walking or is recovering from surgery or an illness. Arm movements, lifting the feet, knees or legs are all ways to get the blood circulating and add thoughtful movement to the day.
- Chair Yoga: this exercise allows participants to have the support and stability of the chair while improving balance, blood flow
- Short Walks: A regular daily walk (or two) for those mobile enough is a choice way to get moving. During bad weather being outdoors may not be an option, so walking up and down the
hallseveral times a day is an easy alternative. If your loved one uses a walker, they may feel more comfortable and be more willing to go for walks if they have someone with them.
- Dancing & Music: Music and movement pair together perfectly. Whether you are sitting down or moving across a dance floor, dancing and moving to the beat is one of the best ways to combat being sedentary.
- Gardening: Working outdoors can be very hard work! If you cannot move around in the garden or the yard, pulling weeds and planting in containers and pots can be a good workout for the upper body!
- Video Games: Yes, video games can be very active! The Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Switch are well known for having games that require movement and interaction with other players. There are a variety of games available, including fun games like Wii Bowling that can bring out the competitiveness is some players!
The Villas Senior Care Community plans activities for seniors of all abilities and varying degrees of mobility. If you have an idea or would like to volunteer, please contact us today!