Seniors less active during extreme heat or severe cold weather

Jasmine Phu

November 7, 2011

What services does a Medical Alert System offer me that aren't available through 9-1-1?Many seniors live with the side effects of arthritis on a daily basis, though moving and working out each day has been found to reduce the pain while increasing mobility. Although most seniors try to stay on top of their physical activity, a new study found that during extreme heat or cold weather, some seniors start to become less active.

To test this, researchers from Northwestern Medicine looked at 250 seniors aged 60 and older who were diagnosed with arthritis. For three years, participants wore pedometers during their daily life for up to six days in three-month increments. This way, scientists were able to follow how active they were during different seasons of the year.

The researchers found that on average, during heat waves or severe cold weather, seniors stayed inside and inactive for an extra hour each day. Although this may not seem like a lot, lack of exercise can have a negative affect on arthritis.

“Even modest reductions in activity can have serious health consequences for people with arthritis," said Joe Feinglass, the lead author.

Arthritis sufferers can also be more prone to falling as their stiff, painful joints can sometimes giveway. Those worried that their loved one could fall with no one around might want to install a senior alert system in their home to allow them to call for help in an instant.

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