It’s been well-established that physical activity like walking, yoga and going to a fitness center has many health benefits for older adults. These include better sleep, less anxiety and reduced risk of heart disease, along with many other benefits that may improve overall health.
But what if physical activity could help older adults feel less alone, even if they were exercising alone?
Researchers from AARP Services Inc., UnitedHealthcare and OptumLabs set out to investigate this question, focusing on two areas:
* Could physical activity help to reduce social isolation and/or loneliness?
* Could physical activity promote higher levels of resilience, purpose or positive perception of aging?
There’s a continued emphasis on supporting older adults as they work to find meaning, purpose and resilience as they age. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may have been harder to find opportunities to exercise, which contributed to greater feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
The results of the study point to strong evidence that physical activity can help older adults feel less alone and socially isolated, as well as positively increase their feelings of resilience and purpose.