Seniors living sedentary lifestyles may not get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week, and they are also likely to sit in one position for several hours. There are many health risks associated with continual inactivity. Here are a few ways older adults can benefit by avoiding sedentary lifestyles.
1. Prevent Skeletal Issues
Being sedentary creates an unnatural curve of the spine from habitual slouching, which does not allow the lungs to fully expand. A lack of weight-bearing activity also weakens the bones by leading to demineralization and osteoporosis. As a result, seniors are more susceptible to fractures. Spontaneous fractures of the femurs or spine occur when weakened bones are expected to bear body weight. A fall could also cause broken bones.
Seniors who need help getting active and avoiding sedentary lifestyles should consider professional in-home care. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same in-home care services. Anchorage families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Ensure Effective Oxygenation
When the lungs do not fully inflate and deflate, cells and tissues cannot receive adequate amounts of oxygen or effectively eliminate waste products. Muscles are hindered from functioning at optimal levels. When the brain does not receive sufficient oxygen, older adults become prone to brain fog and cognitive impairment. They may also experience memory loss or a decreased ability to concentrate and solve problems.
3. Avoid Muscle Weakness
Skeletal muscles must be used on a regular basis or they tend to weaken with time. Weakened muscles raise the risk of sprains or strains when a senior attempts activity after a long period of being sedentary. The heart muscle also weakens and loses its ability to pump blood effectively, and cells and tissues do not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. Blood and lymph fluids can pool in the lower extremities, which leads to fluid becoming trapped between the cells and causing edema. There is also a great risk of developing blood clots and plaques within the vessels, which increases blood pressure. Clots commonly break loose and enter the heart, lungs, or brain, causing medical emergencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 600,000 people die every year from heart disease.
Encouraging a senior loved one to remain active and healthy can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Anchorage, AK, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
4. Reduce Obesity Risk
Although older adults may become less active, they continue consuming the same amount of calories. They might also be tempted to snack more from boredom. Eventually, they may gain weight and become obese. Excess body weight has the potential to make cells resistant to insulin, which then leads to the development of diabetes. Being inactive and overweight also encourages an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which also leads to cardiovascular conditions.
5. Lower the Risk of Cancer
Seniors who remain sedentary for extended periods throughout the day are at a 22 percent greater risk of developing breast, colon, or endometrial cancer. The combination of having excess weight, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation along with abnormal hormone levels weaken the immune system, which then leads to a greater chance of becoming susceptible to illness or malignant cell development.
If your elderly loved one needs help exercising, making healthy lifestyle choices, and staying active, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Get in touch with Home Care Assistance to find out how an Anchorage, Alaska, caregiver can help your aging loved one live a longer, healthier, and happier life. Our caregivers are available 24/7, all of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. To learn about out premier in-home care plans, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (907) 770-0907 today.