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Risks of “Sitting Disease” & Benefits of Physical Activity for Seniors

Risks of “Sitting Disease” & Benefits of Physical Activity for Seniors

With more and more time spent at home in the last few years, many Americans are finding themselves sick with “sitting disease”. Not being able to get outside and explore new opportunities is adding up for all of us!

“Sitting disease”, or living a sedentary lifestyle where you don’t practice regular physical activity, is even more dangerous for seniors.  Due to an increased likelihood of living alone, limited interaction with others, and limitations with physical activity, seniors are more likely to live an inactive lifestyle. While retirement and other healthcare facilities can help fight this, many seniors want to safely age in place.

So, how can you prevent these risks, while aging in place as you want? Join us in our conversation about the risks of inactive lifestyles, the benefits of exercise for seniors, and more!

Risks of Sitting Disease, or Sedentary Lifestyle, for Seniors

 Seniors are prone to more risks associated with inactive lifestyles, or “sitting disease”. Many of these impact long-term health and comfort. These can be prevented or limited with fitness! The main risks of sedentary lifestyles for seniors include:

  • Increased chance of depression: a lack of exercise or activity in your lifestyle means losing the endorphin boost from exercise. Many studies have shown that exercise and an active lifestyle lead to an improvement in your mood. Without it, the brain is faced with a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, loneliness, and more.
  • Increased difficulty with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): When you aren’t getting enough exercise or activity, your joints and muscles stiffen. It leads to difficulty with everyday tasks, like bathing, dressing, cooking, and more.
  • More rapid bone loss: Seniors with an inactive lifestyle are exposed to an increased risk of bone loss, as well as quicker decay of bones. This can cause pain, limited mobility, and increased difficulty with ADLs.
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes: When you don’t properly or regularly use your muscles, you don’t process sugars properly. This leads to increased blood glucose levels, eventually resulting in a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Loss of muscle mass: Lack of activity means losing muscle mass that your body needs to properly function and perform ADLs.

 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity for Seniors 

Don’t worry- there is a way to prevent “sitting disease” in seniors. Live a more active lifestyle! This doesn’t mean needing to exercise all the time. Simply incorporating a walk into your day can keep the “sitting disease” at bay. Not only will you prevent the risks above, but you can also enjoy these benefits:

  • Improve your immune system: active lifestyles helps prevent common diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and more
  • Better mental health: exercise/activity promotes endorphins, which can act as stress relievers and even improve sleep!
  • Decreased risk of falls: activity for seniors means improving their strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. All of these factor into a lower risk of falls! Seniors can feel more confident and independent in their everyday life.
  • Improved cognitive function: Daily activity for seniors leads to better motor skills, attention span, memory, and more!

seniors exercising with hula hoops

How to Stay Active as a Senior

 Bringing some activity into your daily routine as a senior or older individual can bring many benefits into your life. Schedule a walk every day, giving yourself some fresh air and new sights outside of the house. Do an activity you used to love, like biking, hiking, or yoga.

At Blakeford, our wellness team creates monthly calendars filled with exercise classes for different physical needs and all levels of skill works. They can also develop individualized fitness programs for our residents. 

Fighting a sedentary lifestyle and “sitting disease” as a senior has never been more important. By understanding the risks of inactivity and the long-term benefits of physical activity, seniors can create a healthier lifestyle that they enjoy. Not sure how to incorporate activity into your life as a senior? WellLife at Blakeford is here to help seniors nurture a healthy lifestyle by setting personal wellness goals that can be achieved through exercise programs and educational offerings. Contact us today to learn more about Blakeford’s WellLife program.