During the winter months when the weather turns cold and blustery, it’s our instinct to stay warm and cosy inside but too much time at home may have a negative effect of your health. A recent study has found that getting out of the house once each day may actually extend your life.
Researchers at the Hadassah Hebrew-University Medical Center in Israel recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More than 3,000 seniors between the ages of 70 and 90 participated in a study to determine if the frequency with which older adults left their homes was connected with mortality rates.
Those who left their homes each day had the lowest risk of death while seniors who rarely went out had the highest mortality risk. Older adults who left home often were more engaged with the outside world, more socially connected and enjoyed better mental health. Walking in nature in particular has been associated with a reduction in stress as well as improved physical fitness which can help prevent falls and preserve independent living.
Seniors who rarely leave home can be at greater risk for social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety and some studies even suggest an increased likelihood of developing dementia. Even seniors who have mobility problems and limited physical activity can benefit from the social aspect of daily outings. A chat at the grocery store with a clerk or a visit to the public library can help improve overall well being in the life of a senior.
Next time you think that it can wait another day to go out to run errands; get up, get out and connect with the world outside your door. You just might get a few more good years out of the effort.
To read the full study online follow this link the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.