We've all had those days when we just don't feel like stepping outside. But the minute we do, we're usually glad we got some fresh air and sunlight. Now, older adults have an even better reason to enjoy the great outdoors — this simple addition to their daily routines may help them live longer.
New research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that older folks who leave their homes every day are more likely to live longer than their peers who spend the majority of time indoors. Lead study author Jeremy Jacobs, MBBS, from the Hadassah Hebrew-University Medical Center in Israel, studied 3,375 adults aged between 70 and 90 years. To get to the findings, Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues instructed participants to fill out questionnaires about how often they left the house.
The researchers then separated the participants into three groups: those who left their homes daily, those who went outside often, and those who stayed indoors most of the time. Next, the researchers studied the mortality amongst the participants from 2010 to 2015. They found that the people who left their homes daily were at the lowest mortality risk, while those who rarely left their homes had the highest mortality risk.
"What is interesting is that the improved survival associated with getting out of the house frequently was also observed among people with low levels of physical activity, and even those with impaired mobility," said Jacobs. "Resilient individuals remain engaged, irrespective of their physical limitations."
It's worth noting that the researchers did not explore the specific reasons for these findings, but they did point out that older adults who go outside more have a better chance at engaging with the outside world.
No wonder they call it "the great outdoors."
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