Carlsbad, Healthy Life Style. A sedentary lifestyle is not necessarily orthopedics but I feel it is sufficiently relevant to the values of healthy living, which I certainly promote. Research concerning the impacts of sedentary behavior suggests that inactive seniors are more vulnerable to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and possibly other conditions. Such patients are at increased risk of premature death.
Adults 60 years of age and older tend to get insufficient exercise. Most of their activities involve sitting. The ever-growing senior population is expected to make up 22% of the world’s population by 2050; this will have a substantial effect on health-care needs.
The World Health Organization has issued many recommendations regarding lifestyle changes for seniors. Authorities are convinced that physical activity helps prevent disability and chronic diseases. Sedentary seniors are more susceptible to metabolic syndromes, which can include diabetes, heart disease and increased waist size. They also are prone to musculoskeletal diseases and accidental falls.
No single clinical trial has measured the health effects of sedentary lifestyles on the elderly population. However, researchers recently obtained some insight by reviewing studies published by Medline, Excerpta Medica, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciencias da Sa˙de, and the Sedentary Behavior Research Database.
A recent publication by Rezende et al in BMC Public Health showed that researchers in the United States and Europe confirmed that sedentary time increases with age. They found that people over the age of 60 are inactive 80 percent of the time they are awake:
- A study involving subjects from more than 60 countries indicated that the elderly had the most sitting time.
- People who spent less than eight hours per day sitting had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who were sedentary for longer periods.
- For each hour per day spent sitting, the risk of all-cause mortality increased 3 percent.
- Patients classified as “newly” or “formerly” sedentary were less vulnerable to all-cause mortality than those rated as “consistently” sedentary.
- Among survivors of colorectal cancer, those who spent more than six hours a day sitting had a higher risk of all-cause mortality than those who sat fewer than three hours.
- People who sat more than three hours per day were more susceptible to metabolic syndromes. Women taking part in the trial who watched the most television had a 42% greater risk.
- Patients who watched TV more than seven hours per day were much more vulnerable to metabolic syndromes than those who clocked less than an hour. For each hour of TV watching, there was an increase of 19% in the odds. Bankoski et al reached similar conclusions.
- Excessive sitting time increased the risk of abdominal obesity by 80%. Gennuso et al, Stamatakis et al and Gao et al also linked sedentary behavior with expanded waist circumference.
- Six other studies have revealed a link between sedentary behavior and high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Some studies have suggested that inactivity also adversely affects mental health and could increase the risk of certain cancers. However, authorities say more research, featuring higher methodological quality, is needed to fully assess the effects of sedentary behavior on seniors.