According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 31 million adults age 50 years or older are inactive – that is, they are not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities. Any increase in activity is beneficial and leads to more vibrant health.
According to the CDC, the analysis of adult activity showed:
- Inactivity was higher for women (29.4%) compared to men (25.5%)
- Inactivity significantly increased with age. 25% of 50-year-olds are inactive compared to almost 34% of 75-year-olds who are
- Having a chronic disease was a major factor in inactivity. This increase is about 21% among adults of the same age.
- Inactivity in the U.S. is highest in the South (30.1%) followed by the Midwest (28.4%) and in the Northeast (26.6%). Inactivity was lowest in the West (23.1%)
According to Kathleen B. Watson, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, “More work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities.”
Physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and can delay or prevent many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.
Four of the five most costly chronic conditions for ages 50+ can be managed or prevented with physical activity. Being physically active helps older adults maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones. Being physically active can also improve mental health and delay dementia and cognitive decline.
Summertime is an ideal time to get out of doors and start moving.* Yard work, gardening, walking the dog, walking with a friend, and even parking your car farther from the grocery store entrance are all ways to begin increasing activity. As previously mentioned, any increase in activity is beneficial. It is wise to see your doctor before beginning a vigorous approach to exercise.
*Remember to wear sunscreen when being outdoors.