A recent study from Rush University Medical Center found that older adults who keep an active social life are more likely to be agile and in a “younger” state of mind. According to HealthDay Reporter Steven Reinberg’s article Social Activity Keeps Elders Young, Agile, older adults who don’t regularly socialize are at a greater risk for losing motor function. In addition, “sociable seniors who keep active physically and mentally tend to stave off the decline in physical ability often associated with aging. In fact, they found that the rate of age-related decline can be slowed by simply combining an array of physical, social and cognitive activities.
The study, which was published in the June 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, was conducted by collecting data on 906 older adults who participated in the 1997-2008 Rush Memory and Aging Project. Researchers measured various motor functions throughout this time period, including participants’ grip and pinch strength, the ability to stand on one leg and on their toes, whether they could walk in line in a heel-to-toe manner, how quickly they could put pegs on a board and their rate of index-finger tapping in a 10-second period.
Subjects were also questioned about social activities, such as eating out, volunteering, visiting with friends or relatives and attending religious services. The frequency of each activity was rated on a five-point scale, and researchers found that for every point decrease in social activity there was a 33% faster rate of decline in motor function. The same link remained even after taking into account factors like late-life physical and cognitive activity, disability, global cognition depressive symptoms, body composition and chronic medical conditions.The researchers said they were not surprised by their findings because humans are social beings that need to be engaged with friends, movement, and social activities.
Like Reinberg, at Home Care Assistance Columbus, we believe that “if you are engaged in life, you are engaged in all the things that keep you healthy.” Live it up!