Staying active is important at every age. Most health care experts say getting thirty minutes of exercise most days of the week will help seniors live a longer, healthier life. This is likely something you’ve already talked about with your physician.
What you might not be aware of is how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle can be. Separate from the need for daily exercise is the need to avoid sitting for long periods of time. While sitting and watching television or reading might be relaxing, it’s not good for your health. When you are retired and have a lighter schedule, it is easy to fall into a sedentary routine.
The Perils of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Research shows that early mortality is linked to how much time you spend sitting every day. An excessively sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression and more. Middle-aged and older adults who spend less than thirty minutes at a time sitting have the lowest risk for early death.
A sedentary lifestyle may also lead to isolation and loneliness. Both have a negative impact on older adults’ mental and physical well-being. Heart disease and depression are two of the most common health issues associated with isolation.
Fortunately, there are a variety of simple ways you can sit less and move more throughout your day.
Sit Less and Move More during Retirement
Here are a few tips for increasing your daily activity level:
- Invest in a wearable fitness tracker
Take advantage of the variety of technologies that are available to help you count your daily steps. This can allow you to monitor how much—or how little—you move each day. Many of these trackers also come with another beneficial feature, a movement sensor. This device will alert you that it’s time to move if you’ve been sitting too long.
If you aren’t sure how many steps you should be taking, talk with your primary care physician to set short-term and long-term goals.
- Adopt an older dog
No one enjoys walking more than a four-legged friend! Having a canine companion around keeps you moving. The health benefits of pets range from lower blood pressure to less risk of depression. Visiting your local shelter to adopt an older dog may help you find the perfect friend for your retirement lifestyle.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), including The Amsterdam at Harborside, are often pet-friendly. That means they encourage older adults to bring their pets with them when they move in. The Amsterdam also welcomes visits from animal advocacy groups, such as the North Shore Animal League.
- Rethink daily activities
If you spend time on the phone catching up with adult children or watching your favorite game shows on television every day, you may be tempted to sit down while you do so. A better option is to keep moving.
Walk around your living room, perform some stretches, march in place, or ride a recumbent bike while you are watching television or talking on the phone. Staying in motion is good for your health.
- Volunteer for a local charity
Retirees who spend time volunteering often live longer, healthier lives. They experience lower rates of chronic health conditions and higher levels of joy. Many of our residents have found rewarding local volunteer opportunities.
It’s easy to stay active and engaged with life at a CCRC like The Amsterdam. Residents of The Amsterdam benefit from a wide range of daily events and programs. From chair yoga to Latin dance and shopping trips, there are activities designed to meet every interest.
If you are considering a move to the North Shore’s only not-for-profit life care community, we encourage you to join The A-List Club. You’ll receive invitations to exclusive events and activities. Call us at 516.472.6636 to learn more!