According to a number of reports and studies, leading a sedentary lifestyle - such as watching a few hours of TV every day and working in a full-time office job - can lead to poor health later on in life. Sitting down all day increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, and a sedentary lifestyle could even lead to early death. People who didn’t move often enough were more like to have a lower-than-average life expectancy.
Quite often, older people are more likely to be sedentary, especially if they become isolated. However, there are solutions to this ever-growing problem. Moving for a hour a day could reduce the risk of becoming ill with these diseases, and minor activities - such as stretching or jogging on the spot - could help.
This is the most important - and the most obvious piece of advice. As recommended by NHS England, adults need at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
You could join a gym or you could join in group activities that make exercises more fun and social, which is good for mental health and wellbeing. As part of the care services it offers, Barchester Healthcare offers a variety of group activities to help keep your loved ones physically fit and healthy.
Take brisk walks
Taking a brisk walk for an hour a day could keep the risks at bay and could significantly reduce your chances of getting heart disease, so take a walk in your local park. Barchester care homes have the most beautiful gardens so your loved ones can take a stroll, get involved in gardening or sports, or take part in the Barchester in Bloom competition.
During the day, take mini-breaks
Every 90 minutes or so, get up and take a stroll outside. Being active even for short periods of time can reduce your health risks, so finding any chance to be active whenever possible is still beneficial.
Watch what you are eating
Long periods of inactivity combined with snacking on unhealthy foods leads to significant weight gain, which in turn could put you at serious risk of diabetes, so it is vital that you are aware of what you are putting into your body. Swap ready meals and ‘meal deals’ for freshly made salads and sandwiches, and swap sweets, chocolates and crisps for dried fruits and plain nuts. Also, make sure that you are consuming enough water (around eight glasses) a day. Barchester offers a variety of delicious meals at its care homes and it also provides a guide on nutrition for older people.
Don’t become a couch potato
Experts have found that watching TV for more than three hours a day “was associated with an increased risk of premature death for all but the most active.” As previously mentioned, even a little bit of activity can be beneficial for your physical health, but it is also important to keep your brain active too because mental health is just as important as physical health. Studies have shown that playing card games, puzzles, or chess can help to significantly reduce the risk of dementia and keep your mind active. Barchester offers a lot of activities for the brain.
No matter how busy we are, it is vital to keep ourselves active in order to stay healthy into old age, and in order to offset certain diseases and premature death.