Everyone has those days where they just want to stay home and relax. As we get older, those days seem to roll around a lot more often. There is nothing wrong with wanting those nice do-nothing days. However, it is important to not let that become your way of life. A sedentary lifestyle, especially among elderly people, can have several negative impacts on their physical and mental well being. Below are some of the risks associated with leading a sedentary life in old age.
Physical Health Issues
One common health issue that typically comes with a sedentary lifestyle is muscular atrophy. This is the thinning of muscle mass. Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle wasting and loss of strength, making tasks like getting up from a chair or walking more difficult. This weakness also contributes to being more prone to falling. Another issue with being too sedentary is osteoporosis or decreased bone density. If and when those falls occur due to lack of strength, it will cause a lot more damage. Not only with bruises but could potentially also lead to broken bones.
Prolonged sitting can result in joint stiffness and discomfort. This is partially due to the fact that their cardiovascular system efficiency is decreased. Meaning, that their blood doesn’t properly circulate through these joints due to lack of movement. Particularly in weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. This leads to reduced mobility and independence.
Mental health impact
Being sedentary can contribute to feelings of isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. As social interactions and mood-enhancing benefits of physical activity are diminished, the mental state starts a serious decline. Infact, the lack of physical activity is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia in elderly individuals. The less the body and mind are used, the less they function.
There are many other mental and physical health problems and concerns that can arise with a sedentary lifestyle. We have only highlighted a few to bring awareness to the importance of a healthy active lifestyle. Thankfully there are many ways to combat this lifestyle. At Bel Aire we understand that our residents aren’t as young as they used to be. They can’t always be doing something and often do need ample time to rest.
Bel Aire’s way of combating this
We tune down sedentary lifestyles in many different ways. First, we have daily activities for all of our residents. Often the activities include van ride outings to different places, simple fitness classes, crafts, games, and more. Second, we always encourage eating in our dining room and socializing in our family room. There they get to know their neighbors better and enjoy basking in the presence of others. Third, we have a Lifetime Vibe Machine. The Lifetime Vibe Machine is used to reduce swelling and joint pain while improving circulation significantly. All you do is stand or sit on the machine, turn it on, and watch it work its magic as it gently rocks you side to side at the speed of your choice. Many of our own residents have seen significant improvement by starting this. This is one of our very best defenses against the effects of sedentary living.
To mitigate these risks,it’s important for elderly individuals to engage in regular physical activity appropriate for their fitness level and health condition. Even light activities like walking, stretching, and chair exercise can provide significant benefits. Life is too short to not get out and about. Meet your neighbors, enjoy the company of others, and experience new things. All these things are possible here at Bel Aire.