Can Housework Really Keep Seniors Emotionally and Physically Fit?

According to a 2015 study carried out at Case Western Reserve University school of nursing, older adults who keep their homes clean and tidy have a tendency to feel better both emotionally and physically than those that lived a sedentary lifestyle. Why? Because doing housework kept them up, moving and happy.

More About the Study

The goal of the study was to test a hypothesis referred to as “House’s Conceptual Framework for Understanding Social Inequalities in Health and Aging”. This theory is regarded as a blueprint for understanding how variables like education, environment, income and health habits, like exercise and smoking, have an effect on an older individual’s overall health. 337 participants ranging in ages from 65 to 94 participated in the study, which reviewed the participants’ backgrounds, emotional and physical well-being.

The conclusion of the study presented how essential it is for older adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities to continue to live active lives, including physical activities such as performing stretching exercises like reaching while sitting, arm curls and simple movements like standing up, then sitting down (and repeat) in a chair. The study also presented evidence that those who live in a disorganized environment appeared less satisfied than people who lived in a place that was clean and tidy. The Case Western Reserve study also showed that housework affected the participant’s mental and physical well-being more than factors like the neighborhood they lived in or their income.

The fact is that, as we age, staying active is even more important. Several studies have found that regular exercise can reduce the chances of stroke, help manage incontinence, help prevent falls and even improve memory.

Besides cleaning the house, here are a few other exercises that promote senior health.

Exercises that Promote Flexibility

Some of the easiest exercises involve flexing and stretching and they become even more important as we age and range of motion issues start to affect the joints. Exercises like Pilates and yoga are great options that improve flexibility. Most gyms offer these classes and other stretching exercise programs, some specifically designed for seniors. These exercises can help maintain the capacity to remain mobile and get the most out of life.

Aerobic Exercise

Getting the heart rate up on a consistent basis benefits the entire body, making it easier to perform everyday activities. Start by performing a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a day, aiming for 7 days a week. If walking is the exercise of choice, those that have balance problems may want to use a treadmill instead of walking outdoors.

Strength Building Exercises

Strong muscles are important for daily living, whether it’s carrying groceries or simply getting out of the car. Strength building exercises help reduce the rate at which our bones start to grow weaker. For instance, having muscle mass can help prevent fractures cause by a fall, etc. The goal is to perform a variety of strength building exercises, covering the major muscle groups. Start off using light weights and work up from there as strength increases. It’s also important to be aware of form in order to avoid injury. Create a workout plan made up of 30-minute sessions and do them twice a week to start. Also, it’s important not to work the same muscle group every day – allow a day in-between to rest.

Growing older doesn’t mean giving in to living a sedentary lifestyle. Staying fit and active every day should remain an important part of the everyday life, at any age.

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