Want to encourage your parents to stay active even through a pandemic? Encourage them to workout together with you or create a video workout sesh with their friends. Yes, it actually works!
Recent research found that strong relationships can help adults stay active in old age. It further explains the significance of a strong relationship’s influence on fostering positive behaviour.
Here’s what the research has to say
Published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, the research suggested that older adults with a strong relationship with a life partner or a network of close friends were significantly more likely to engage in regular physical activity.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii wanted to understand how individual, interpersonal, organisational and community factors encourage older adults to meet physical activity guidelines. What were the guidelines? Well, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week through walking.
What are the health risks of social isolation in older adults?
After examining 1,193 adults ages 65-74 in Albania, Brazil and Colombia, the researchers stated: “Older adults who experience social isolation are at greater risk of depression, cognitive decline, and other poor health outcomes.”
Interestingly it was found that female participants, as well as all participants with depression, were less likely to engage in regular physical activity. Since the constraints of social distancing has reduced their physical activity, you must encourage them to workout and protect their physical and mental health.
Do close relationships actually influence them to make better health decisions?
During this pandemic, mental health challenges are on the rise. Yet walking, which is generally safe and acceptable amongst the elderly has been shown to protect against depression symptoms.
After examining 1193 older adults, the positive results if the research reinforced the fact that “relationships are key to influencing positive health behaviours, including physical activity.”
What can you do to ensure your parent’s physical and mental health?
“We must find innovative ways to maintain connectedness and physical activity, while also following public health guidelines,” the research stated.
During this testing time, check-in with your folks regularly and find out creative ways you can make exercise feel like a family or community event. Put on their favourite playlists and get them excited to meet their friends and relatives on a video call and walk or dance together.
Always remember, even though you shall create pandemic centred workout structures, ensure their health journey lasts pandemic and beyond.