Causes of Sedentary Lifestyles and Tips to Avoid Sedentary Lifestyles in the Elderly

Leading a sedentary lifestyle results in severe adverse health complications over time. This is particularly so for older adults. For this reason, ending sedentary lifestyles in the elderly is a fundamental part of self-care: only through physical activity can you walk the path to a healthy life. However, even with the shocking consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, there is still a significant number of older adults who are comfortable with this kind of lifestyle. This article will discuss the causes of sedentary lifestyles, the various health implications of sedentary lifestyle and tips on how to avoid a sedentary lifestyle in the elderly.

Causes of Sedentary Lifestyles in the Elderly

In today’s modern world that is typically characterised by various technological advancements, there are so many options to spend an entertaining evening at home. With this in mind, it is so easy to forget that the body needs other stimuli and exercise. The various entertainment options have slowing turned people’s lives into what is considered a sedentary lifestyle. More people are become lazier by the day.

An analysis of sedentary lifestyles and their causes allows us to identify some features that are more common in the elderly. The causes of a sedentary lifestyle at this stage of life are usually related to issues such as:

• Lack of external motivation.

• Injuries or chronic illnesses.

• Negative change in the concept of one's own abilities and skills.

• Fear of injury.

• Need for special care.

• Loss of security, confidence and interest in bettering oneself.

• Loneliness and resulting self-esteem problems.

Avoiding sedentary lifestyles in the elderly not only contributes to a better state of physical health, but also favours a positive change in one's self-concept about their age, their possibilities and all that this time of life offers.

Sedentary Lifestyles and Diseases: Problems Associated with Lack of Activity

The main problem with a sedentary lifestyle in old age is that it is a silent enemy. The sedentary person may seem apparently healthy, but this unhealthy lifestyle is contributing to an accelerated deterioration of their physical and mental state. A sedentary lifestyle and its consequences can manifest itself in ways that may or may not be identifiable to the naked eye:

• Hormonal imbalances.

• Slowing of metabolism.

• Weakening and demineralization of bones.

• Loss of endurance and muscle mass.

• Inflammatory/circulatory problems.

• Weakened immune system.

• Depressive feelings.

• Impairment of motor and cognitive abilities.

What are the Benefits of a More Active Lifestyle?

While sedentary lifestyles do not contribute anything positive to the physical and mental health of older adults, the other side of the coin, being active, is full of advantages. As opposed to a sedentary lifestyle and its consequences, the practice of daily and routine activities has great benefits:

• Increased life expectancy.

• Independence and autonomy.

• Participation in socialization and integration.

• Personal well-being on a physical, mental and emotional level, which triggers the release of endorphins.

• Improved quality of rest.

• Stimulation of memory, concentration and learning..

• Prevention of risks and falls.

Tips to Avoid Sedentary Lifestyles in the Elderly

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report on physical activity for health, people over the age of 65 should engage in varied physical activity three or more days a week.

So how to get out of a sedentary lifestyle, you ask? In order to avoid sedentary lifestyles efficiently, it is necessary to maintain constant routines that include exercises aimed at improving functional capacity as well as preventing falls. Always within the capabilities and limitations of each person, the idea is that you should always remain physically active and regular movements in your new healthy and dynamic lifestyle habits:

Aerobic exercise: A daily walk of at least 30 minutes is the minimum that these routines should include. But if circumstances permit, there is no reason to stop at a 30-minute walk. There are other aerobic activities adapted to the elderly that are very beneficial and fun, from dance classes to an aquagym session. Physical fitness does not have to be boring. You can still keep yourself entertained while remaining active physically.

Anaerobic exercises: Sedentary lifestyle effects on muscles can be quite severe. Work on strength and elasticity through localised exercises that actively engage specific muscle groups. They can be practiced at home, but the idea is to take advantage of the good weather to get fit outdoors. A session of about 15 minutes can be more than enough to ensure the efficiency of this work. The important thing is consistency in practice.

Relaxation exercises: Sedentary lifestyle and mental health disciplines go hand in hand. The state of your mental health is paramount to avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. Relaxation exercises such as yoga or tai chi have become very popular among the elderly. Not surprisingly, these types of exercises combine breathing with balance and promote postural improvement while freeing the mind from worries. Regularly engaging in relaxing exercises is part of sedentary lifestyle solutions.

Sedentary Lifestyle Solutions: How to avoid the causes of sedentary lifestyles and switch to a dynamic lifestyle

Moving from a sedentary to an active life is not just a matter of exercise. Older adults also need a social environment that is conducive to this change of lifestyle.

Having the strong will to change your lifestyle habits is another important step towards living a healthy lifestyle.

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