Posted by Silvernest Team on May 29, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Empty nest syndrome is not a vague, theoretical issue—it’s a real problem impacting millions. According to the Mayo Clinic, grown-up kids’ transition out of the home can lead to their parents feeling sadness, loss and disconnection.
On the other hand, this major life transition also represents opportunity to rediscover old hobbies, find new interests and make new connections. An active lifestyle is important at all stages of life, but even more critical if you’re an empty nester. It creates a foundation of mental and physical health that allows you to stay independent and in your home for years to come.
Learn more ways to cope with empty nest syndrome on our blog.
How Active Do I Really Have to Be?
An active lifestyle can mean anything from vigorous physical exercise like jogging or tennis to social activities such as team card games or group lunches. Walking a 5K, going to a baseball game or simply meeting friends for coffee all “count” as active.
Staying active has mental and physical benefits—and the two often go hand-in-hand. A study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that older adults who experienced mental decline could significantly improve memory and thinking through physical exercise, and “the amount of activity is more important than the type.” In other words, any physical activity is better than none.
Mental and Physical Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
There are numerous studies linking physical activity with improved ability and wellbeing—both physical and mental. Findings include:
- Increasing physical activity increases oxygen to the brain, which may help improve cognitive function.
- A simple walking program can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression for people age 60+.
- Staying active reduces the chance of injury, improves balance and strengthens joints and muscles.
- Exercise and physical activity can also reduce the risk of falls.
One Unexpected Benefit
We all know physical activity is good for us, but what about socializing and dining with friends?
According to a study of hospitalized seniors, dining together can have significant unexpected impacts. The Mental Health Foundation also promotes the social, biological, and psychological benefits of sharing meals. When we eat together, we tend to consume more food and receive better nutrition, which can help prevent age-related health issues caused by malnutrition.
According to the Center for Advancing Health, socially active adults display aging indicators at a slower rate, and a study from Brigham Young University prescribes social connection for living longer—and healthier.
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