Retirement years can be active ones. Freedom from daily work responsibilities means more time to relax and enjoy life. But for seniors who aren’t actively engaged with volunteer work, favorite hobbies or other pursuits, it is easy to fall in to a sedentary lifestyle. Recent studies have identified just how dangerous that can be for older adults.

The dangers of smoking have long been identified and documented. In fact, it is linked to 90% of lung cancer cases in this country. Smoking also contributes to other leading causes of death and disability including heart attack and stroke. But researchers now say a sedentary lifestyle might just be the new smoking.

What is just as important to know is that sitting too much can have dangerous consequences despite how much exercise you get each day.

Sedentary Lifestyle Dangers

Dr. James Levine from the Mayo Clinic has been studying the health effects of sitting for 15 years now. In one study, his team compared adults who spent 2 or less hours in front of a television or other screen each day with those who logged more than 4 hours.

They discovered that those who spent more time in front of screens were 50% more likely to die sooner and 125% more likely to experience a cardiac event than those who sat less. These statistics held true no matter what type or how much exercise the adult engaged in.

The Health Concerns of Sitting Too Much

Other health issues associated with sitting too much include:

  • Diabetes: Blood sugar is higher among people who spend more time sitting. This increases your risk for developing diabetes. It can also cause an existing case of the disease to worsen
  • Cancer: Sedentary seniors experience greater incidences of cancer, especially breast, colon and prostate cancers.
  • Depression: Spending more time on the couch puts you at higher risk for depression and other mental health conditions at any age.
  • Obesity: Metabolism slows by 20 – 50% when you sit too much. This increases the odds for obesity.

To learn more about the dangers of sitting too much, download Dr. Levine’s free guide “Sit Less. Stand More. Start Down.” It has resources to help you stay active.

If you are considering a move to a Michigan senior living community you will have the chance to participate in life enrichment programs, like those offered at the Heritage Senior Communities, every day. It will help you enjoy a longer, healthier life!