Why inactivity is so detrimental to older adults (and what you can do about it)


Post by: Eastlands Estate, 15 Feb 2019

Ever heard of sitting disease? Neither had we, but we recently got the lowdown on this buzzword that is being used to describe the effects of physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles.

It is common for adults to slow down in their later years, especially after 65. However, with modern technology doing so many more tasks for us that we once did ourselves, older people are spending more time sitting than ever before.

We get comfy in our favourite chairs and from there watch the TV (no more getting up to change the channel); enjoy a movie (no more getting up to put the video or DVD into the machine); talk to our friends and family on our mobiles (no more walking to the telephone); and maybe even go so far as to do our shopping online – all while sitting!

Health experts agree that sedentary lifestyles dominated by seated activities such as these are linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers.

So, is simply walking more the answer? Yes and no.

Getting up off the couch and walking more is definitely beneficial, but a short morning stroll, for example, is not enough to offset extended periods of sitting every day. For that, the experts say, we need to do more physical activity.

These are some of the recommendations:

  • Older people should walk more frequently, several times a day, for shorter periods, rather than simply doing one morning or afternoon walk once a day. This stimulates circulation after sitting down for a long time, flooding the body with oxygen.
  • Added to this, seniors should strive to do some form of exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be long or intensive, but should be done consistently for maximum results. A good place to start is to do the activities that you enjoy most, as these will keep you motivated for longer.

Regular activity also helps improve mobility. This is important, as loss of mobility is one of the most common causes of deterioration seen in older adults.

Some of the more common low-intensity activities favoured by seniors are swimming or water aerobics, lawn bowls, yoga, tai chi, walking or power walking, dancing, cycling on stationary bikes, and even gardening.

When we designed Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate, we researched the local and international market, to get an accurate idea of how today’s over 50s were ageing. We discovered that ‘active ageing’ was a growing trend, where older adults were prioritising physical activity for long-term health and wellness.

Armed with this information we created our Lifestyle Centre – a world-class facility that combines the very best in healthcare, wellness and leisure amenities.

Whether it’s swimming laps, taking in a round of bowls, enjoying a good book, challenging yourself to a game of chess, birdwatching or just meandering along a scenic trail through gorgeous indigenous gardens, our Lifestyle Centre and its natural surrounds have something for every activity level.

Facilities designed to promote and support physical lifestyles at Eastlands include:

  • A heated indoor pool and an outdoor pool
  • Lap pool
  • Bowling green and jukskei field
  • Gym and health studio
  • Trails for walking (including dog walking, as we are pet friendly!), power walking or even light jogging
  • Vegetable allotments for vegetable gardening

If investing in your health is important to you, why not invest in your forever home at Eastlands?

As South Africa’s first mature lifestyle estate created around active ageing, you’ll be delighted you did!

 

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