More than 6 million Canadians are 65 or older, and not all adults in Canada within this age group live active lives. This may not seem like a big deal, but there are some very good reasons older adults shouldn’t lead sedentary lifestyles. Here are six of them.
1. Increased Risk of Spine/Joint Problems
Being sedentary often means not paying careful attention to posture and eating foods that contribute to inflammation and poor circulation. Habits like these can also contribute to spine and joint pain. A lack of weight-bearing activity further increases the odds seniors may develop issues with:
• Spinal fractures
• Joint deterioration
• Spinal disc damage
• Osteoporosis, spinal arthritis, and similar bone/joint-related conditions
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Winnipeg, MB, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
2. Brain Fog Related to Insufficient Oxygenation
A general lack of activity can negatively affect circulation, which can keep muscles from functioning at optimal levels. Reduced levels of circulation and oxygenation also slow down the body’s natural healing time. Additionally, less oxygen being delivered to the brain can make older adults more likely to develop “brain fog” or similar cognitive impairments.
3. Muscle Weakness
Skeletal muscles need to be stimulated on a regular basis to remain healthy and strong. For seniors, muscles that are weak could affect nearly every part of the body. Over time, weakened soft tissues could result in a greater risk of:
• Sprains or strains
• Tissue swelling in certain parts of the body due to fluid leaks from blood vessels (edema)
• A weakened heart muscle and related heart problems
• Reduced mobility, flexibility, and range of motion
Many seniors are able to safely enjoy numerous types of physical activity, especially when they have the help of trained professional caregivers. Elderly home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
4. Increased Depression Risk
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to emotional issues, such as lingering or severe depression, chronic stress, and anxiety. Being inactive can also have a negative impact on mood, which can affect seniors’ outlook on life and make it more difficult to manage chronic illnesses and other issues common among older adults. On the other hand, there’s research suggesting exercise and regular activity can produce effects similar to those experienced by people who take antidepressants.
5. Obesity-Related Health Issues
The rate at which calories are burned (metabolism) changes when people get older. Normally, changes like this can be offset by regular exercise and a sensible balanced diet. But if a senior has a fairly inactive lifestyle, he or she can gain a lot of extra weight. Being inactive and overweight increases older adults’ risk of developing a wide range of serious health issues, including:
• High cholesterol and elevated blood pressure
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions
• Gallbladder disease and gallstones
• Breathing problems
6. Higher Risk of Cancer
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, cancer primarily affects adults 50 and older. There’s also research suggesting seniors who remain sedentary for long periods are more likely to develop certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and a type of uterine cancer known as endometrial cancer. This is believed to be the case because excess weight weakens the immune system, which makes it easier for malignant (cancerous) cells to develop.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Winnipeg 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (204) 489 6000.