If you are older, one simple decision — a pledge to put down the TV remote and become more active — can mean the difference between a vibrant retirement and disability.
In fact, seniors who watch more than five hours of TV each day — and who are active just three hours or less each week — have more than three times the risk of developing difficulty walking, according to 2017 research by the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
The results of the study should serve as motivation to make — and keep — a New Year’s resolution to become more active in 2020.
The eight-year study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, found that almost 30% of the previously healthy participants had developed a mobility issue that hampered their ability to walk, or that left them unable to walk by the end of the study.
The study tracked both men and women between the ages of 50 and 71. Among these participants:
- Those who watched five or more hours of TV per day had a 65% greater risk of reporting a mobility disability at the end of the study than those who watched less than two hours of TV daily.
- Risk of disability accelerated for those who spent increasing amounts of time sitting and watching TV, combined with three hours or less of physical activity.
The researchers warn that while sitting for long periods of time may not have a detrimental impact on the health of younger people, such sedentary behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.
How to stay healthy after 50
Here at Money Talks News, we often have warned of the dangers of remaining inactive after 50 — and have suggested reasons to become more active.
For example, we have noted that exercise can help you to feel happier during your golden years:
“Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals that can make you feel more relaxed and less anxious, the Mayo Clinic reports. As a bonus, you may feel better about your appearance, raising your self-esteem.”
For more reasons to exercise, check out “7 Surprising Benefits of Staying in Shape After Age 50.”
If you’re now convinced of the value of exercise — but thinking that you’ll wait until it warms up in the spring — we’ve got a story that will get you off the couch now: “5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in Winter.”