Senior Living Section of Greenfield Reporter, August, 2015
You have a doctor appointment this afternoon and you are looking forward to talking with the doctor about your current health problem. You have been waiting for several days or weeks for this appointment. What have you doing for the 1440 minutes you have each day?
Hours of sitting can reduce muscle mass. This loss of muscle mass causes you to feel tired and weak. Dr. Antonia Novello, former US Surgeon General, reports it is easier to prevent decline than it is to regain lost strength. Many seniors are participating in physical activity to reduce weakness and feeling tired.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity at moderate levels. Riding bikes and walking are the easiest for most people to meet the moderate level of activity. This can be broken into different times of the day so at the end of the day, 30 minutes of moderate activity has been met.
While 30 minutes of moderate activity may help keep your strength up, there are still 1410 minutes left in the day. After 8 hours of sleep consuming 480 minutes, there are still 930 minutes left. Approximately 15 and a half hours of time are available for various activities. What are you doing during these 15 and a half hours?
Do your own test to determine your level of endurance. How long can you stand before your muscles feel weak and tired? Standing can be just as helpful as walking. If you can stand for 2 to 3 minutes, you may safely make it to the car if the car is less than 50 feet away. If you can stand for 30 minutes a day, you can burn an extra 750 calories per week. Find time each day to stand for as long as you can. This can increase your endurance and reduce falls.
Many older adults are living at home, but safety is of concern. Up to 40 percent of adults over the age of 65 have fallen at home. Changes in medications and other health problems can cause dizziness. A declining muscle mass can cause imbalance and falls. With weaken bones from osteoporosis, this places adults at risk for injury.
Walkers and canes can help reduce falls but can cause other problems. Many adults find themselves leaning into the walker causing poor posture. Their center of balance is off and can cause falls. While you are standing for as long as you can, stand up straight and lean slightly back. Holding on to something stationary is recommended to prevent falls. The AHRQ has a Falls Management Program on page 26 at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/guide/cpsguide.pdf.
Dr. Komaroff, a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School, reports a research study found adults that spend more time sitting can increase their rate of diabetes and heart disease.
He suggests walking around the house while talking on the phone, practice up and down on steps, and stand or ride your bike while watching TV.
INShape Indiana works with the Indiana Chamber and the Wellness Council of Indiana. They suggest going to the gym may not be the only activity you need to prevent diseases. They recommend to move around the day as much as possible. Attend as many activities as you can to meet your overall goals. This will keep you up and active. Set your own SMART goals at http://www.inshapeindiana.org/74.htm.
So if you spend a good portion of your day sitting at a desk or in a chair, you may not be in shape to prevent diseases. You may be weak and tired and not ready to transport safely to an appointment. It is recommended for everyone get up once an hour and move around.
Mary Ann Wietbrock is a resident of Hancock County, a Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Holistic Wellness Consultant at Cardinal Elements Inc. Her experience and resources improve quality of life. She is a nutritionist and physical trainer. She can be reached at 317-410-9140 or www.cardinalelements.com.