Throughout these series of articles, we have discussed many issues that impact seniors’ health and well-being. From over prescribing and misuse of medications, nutrition, getting assistance with daily living (ADL’s), along with others. Do them all, but if there was one thing that you can do that would immediately and positively impact a seniors’ health it would be to GET MOVING!
I didn’t say exercise. Although you can exercise, I’m not stopping you. When I say exercise, I am referring to moderate to vigorous action over a sustained period. Go for it! What I am talking about is getting out of the easy chair. Yes, that’s right, put down the remote, and just get moving.
Sitting is the new smoking
This expression is making the rounds at the moment. Studies are showing that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to many of the same issues that smoking causes, and some others as well. If you think about it, we sit when we are driving, on the computer, watching the television, and we watch too much television. The other expression making the rounds is,” screen time”. Between work and our leisure time we are in front of screens too much.
The human body is designed for and works best when it spends a significant portion of time throughout the day standing and walking. Blood flow, better digestion, and metabolism are all improved.
So, if moving improves blood circulation and metabolism then sitting, on the other hand stalls those processes, makes your body less. Further, we know that too much sitting puts strain on the neck and lower back, which are not designed to support the body in a sitting position for long periods. The negative effects will compound over time. Here is another word that is linked to the sitting epidemic, that word is…
- (of body tissue or an organ/bone) waste away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells
“without exercise, the muscles will atrophy”
2. gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.
“her artistic skills atrophied from lack of use”
More walking and standing
Of course, there are many great and detailed exercise programs. Seniors’ centres, church groups, community centres, heck health clubs are starting to do more and more for their senior clients. Like I said before, go for it. What I am communicating is for the person that knows they are sitting too much, and how do we get you or your loved one out of the easy chair.
Here are some suggestions to get moving. Instead of reading the paper while sitting, try reading at the kitchen counter. If you pay your bills at your desk, pick up your cheque book, grab your laptop and do it while preparing supper. Don’t worry, I won’t suggest to eat your supper while standing😊
Attack that household To Do List, the other benefit with this will be making your partner happy. Another excellent way to get moving is gardening. I recently saw a program that had raised beds. That is gardens are off the ground in planter boxes and raised to waist level.
Pets, particularly dogs are great incentives to get you moving. Here is a confession, my doggie, Sophie will come over to be and give me the big stare down. If that doesn’t work, she will give me a headbutt to suggest that we should go outside, she never gives up.
BTW – just go for a walk. No need to over-think it!
A Cautionary note
If you have been inactive, overweight, and dealing with other chronic issue such as diabetes, arthritis, etc., a moving program will help lessen and even reverse these conditions. However, in these circumstances speaking first with your primary care provider is a good thing to do.
There you are I have presented a case to Get Moving. Does it sound like it is worth the effort?
Chris Treftlin – Shine at Home