Social Variety Increases Daily Activity

Moving more and staying active is so important in older age to preserve physical function and the ability to live independently and new research finds that interaction with a diverse social group increases daily activity and benefits the overall well-being of seniors. 

According to a recent EurekAlert by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a study out of The University of Texas at Austin found that older adults who interact with a variety of friends and family from different age groups and backgrounds are more likely to stay physically active and experience greater emotional well-being. 

The study of more than 300 adults over the age of 65, published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B:  Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, found that older adults who reached out to friends, family and acquaintances more frequently were also more likely to be physically active.  Seniors who engage with people socially; at the grocery store checkout, the library or the bank and make plans to see friends and loved-ones regularly are less sedentary and have a large support group that helps reduce stress and improve mood and a sense of well-being.  

Engaging with people different than ourselves also offers opportunities to learn and explore other perspectives, cultures and experiences.  Learning something new, whether it’s in the kitchen, on the golf course or in a wood shop, has been found to prevent cognitive decline in older age and improve neuroplasticity; the brain’s ability to form new neural connections. 

Being a social butterfly not only helps older adults stay connected with their communities, improving their emotional and psychological health, seniors who go out of the house more often move more throughout their day.  They have to get up off the couch to meet friends, walk and talk with a neighbor or take their grandchildren to the zoo.  Older adults don’t have to commit to going to the gym three times a week or lifting weights daily, although there are many who enjoy these activities, interacting with a wide range of people can help provide many health benefits. 

Learn more by following this link to the Gerontological Society of America website.