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The importance of staying active

January 28, 2014

To best engage in a healthy lifestyle for seniors, it is important to stay physically active throughout the day. Whether going for a run each morning or participating in a weekly yoga class, keeping your body active can help improve blood circulation, joint health and overall physical wellness. While the benefits of daily activity have been proven, several recently released scientific studies have found specific ways in which exercise can help improve the life of a senior.

Active men live longer
Men who have survived heart attacks or cancer and exercise on a regular basis have been proven to live longer after surviving their disease, according to a new study published in The Journal of Physical Activity & Health. Researchers studied a group of men over the age of 71 who were survivors of cardiovascular diseases or cancer, and found that men who expended more than 12,000 calories per week were 48 percent less likely to die than men who expended only 2,000 per week. Scientists concluded that seniors who engaged in a good amount of physical activity each week were more likely to see significantly improved health.

Reduce chances of heart failure
The American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure recently released a similar study that studied the effect of sitting for long periods of time on overall wellness. They found that men ages 45-69 who sat for long periods of time each day were more likely to die from heart failure than those who didn't. Researchers concluded that men who sat for more than five hours outside of work each day and participated in little physical activity were almost twice as likely to contract cardiovascular disease than men who exercised daily. Scientists emphasized that while the study only tested the effect of a sedentary lifestyle on men, all seniors should remain more active and sit less.

Happy people keep healthy
According to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, happiness levels may improve when a person engages in regular physical activity. Researchers studied a group of 3,000 seniors ages 60 and over and found that individuals who reported being the happiest were those who exercised the most. Not only were these participants more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with their lives, but they also had faster walking speeds and improved daily functioning, including getting out of bed, dressing and bathing. Scientists emphasized that they could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship between the two factors, but they were able to conclude that happier people had higher functionality and physical well-being.