3.14.18: Senior Fitness – More Than Just Exercise
The physical benefits of exercise for the over 65 set are well-documented. Group classes and apps can provide seniors with friendship, community, and accountability on top of cardio.
Studies have demonstrated that strong social relationships lead to a longer life span. In the British Medical Journal, researchers wrote that social activities may be as effective as fitness activities in reducing health risks associated with age. They followed over than 2,800 people over the age of 65 for a 13-year period. The researchers concluded that active people were more likely to be alive at the end of the 13-year period. But they also noted that social activities “conferred equivalent survival advantages compared to fitness activities.” According to the researchers, this means that “activities that entail little or no physical exertion may also be beneficial.”
In 2010, three researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 148 studies from 1990 to 2007 that examined the connection between social isolation and mortality. They found that “individuals’ experiences within social relationships significantly predicted risk of mortality.” In other words, seniors with stronger social relationships were likely to live longer. Based on their meta-analysis, these researchers found that in its influence, social isolation compares with risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol, and might be even more important than other risk factors such as being overweight or maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.
The issue is that social connections, the ties that bind us to our community, slowly erode as we age. Friends and family stop working, some move away, and others die. A retirement community is a way for some to stay connected. But for seniors who age in place, this means living alone in a changing community as familiar faces disappear.
That’s why many find the gym or community center is a good place to strengthen social bonds. These natural gathering spots encourage people to come together to engage in a common activity. And exercising with a partner is a commitment; you’re more likely to show up if you’re meeting someone.
Hit your 30 minutes of activity per day and stay connected with a community of like-minded movement enthusiasts with our fun-to-use Flashfit app that provides aerobic and strength-building exercises in one-minute bursts. No special equipment needed – just your phone and positive vibes. www.flash.fit
Sources: Washington Post, British Medical Journal, NCOA, NCBI