The importance of staying physically active throughout life and the health benefits it brings has long been documented, but what about social activities? Research from the Rush University Medical Center finds that retirees who report a high level of social activity are twice as likely to remain disability free involving activities of daily living. This includes actions such as feeding, bathing, and dressing. In addition, socially active people are also 1.5 times less likely to acquire a disability pertaining to mobility and strength, like walking up and down stairs and cooking meals.
The study included nearly 1000 adults with an average age of 82. None of the participants had any form of disability at the beginning of the study. Each underwent yearly medical exams, as well as neurological and psychological tests. Participants also completed questionnaires that assessed social activity including day and overnight trips, social outings such as going to restaurants or sporting events, volunteering, visiting family and friends, and attending religious services. Those who were the most socially active had a decreased risk of disability.
Stay healthy by staying active…both physically and socially.
Source: James B, Boyle P, Buchman A, Bennett D. Relation of late-life social activity with incident disability among community-dwelling older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 66A(4): 467–473.