Risks Associated with Being Sedentary in the Senior Years

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Dangers of Living a Sedentary Lifestyle in the Golden Years in Des Moines, IA

Seniors may slow their activity to the point where they no longer engage in physical activity. Living a sedentary lifestyle poses many different health risks. Seniors who remain sedentary for extended periods throughout the day are at greater risk for developing the following health conditions. 

Cardiovascular Disease

Sedentary behavior often leads to an increase in blood pressure as blood vessels gradually lose their elasticity. A lack of physical activity also contributes to increases in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which contribute to blockages in blood vessels. When blood circulation slows, the risk of developing blood clots also increases. Physicians from the London School of Medicine and Dentistry explain that by sitting still for 90 minutes, seniors decrease the blood flow in their legs by up to 40 percent, which increases the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Clots may eventually break loose and cause pulmonary emergencies, heart attacks, or strokes. Valves in the lower legs become sluggish. The lymphatic system doesn’t circulate fluid as efficiently, which results in edema. The heart also loses the ability to pump blood effectively as the muscle weakens.  Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.


A lack of physical activity has also been associated with an increased risk of developing breast, colon, and endometrial cancer. Sitting for extended lengths of time often causes weight gain and a greater chance of developing systemic inflammation, which can interfere with the body’s natural immune system. The body doesn’t eliminate free radicals and toxins as effectively, which increases the risk of developing malignancies. 

Musculoskeletal Deterioration

When muscles aren’t used regularly, they lose mass and strength. Seniors find it more difficult to accomplish normal tasks due to a lack of energy, flexibility, and overall endurance. Older adults become more unsteady on their feet, which leads to a greater risk of falling. A lack of weight-bearing activity also weakens bones by decreasing mineral density. Thus, the risk of a spontaneous hip or spine fracture becomes greater.  Older adults who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. Des Moines home care service experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Type 2 Diabetes

By not keeping busy, older adults commonly tend to snack more frequently on unhealthy foods. Taking in more calories than what the body burns leads to obesity. As the body doesn’t require as much fuel to function when sedentary, blood sugar levels rise. Cells also become less sensitive to insulin. The combination of excess blood sugar, excess weight, and increased blood pressure may lead to the development of diabetes. 

Mental Fog

The brain requires a certain amount of oxygen and nutrients to function properly. When blood flow slows, neurons become deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Communication between neurons may slow, which affects the thinking process. Complaints of anxiety, depression, and other disorders have also been linked to being sedentary, as inactive adults also typically don’t socialize.  Encouraging older adults to remain physically active can be a challenging task. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Des Moines, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (515) 264-2438 today.


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