Why you shouldn’t offer your seat to old people on the bus
If an elderly person gets onto a packed bus or train, most people are more than happy to offer them their seat — it's a sign of respect and politeness. Many retirees aren't as fit as they used to be and need to sit down. However, an increasing number of health experts are now recommending something that may surprise you...
It's better not to offer your seat
Public Health England's latest recommendation has caused quite a stir in the UK. Instead of offering their seats, the governmental agency advises passengers to stay sitting down in order to encourage elderly people to stand.
One of the many health experts making this recommendation is Oxford professor Sir Muir Gray. "We need to be encouraging activity as we age — not telling people to put their feet up," the clinical adviser said. Gray also recommended seniors to take the stairs instead of using elevators. While these measures may seem somewhat inconsiderate at first glance, they're actually in place to improve elderly people's health.
Lack of exercise among seniors
If you feel that your body is becoming "rusty," it probably means you're not getting enough exercise. Many elderly people only notice that they're not exercising enough when they start to have trouble doing everyday activities such as dressing, showering or tying shoelaces. This should set alarm bells ringing, but it often has the opposite effect as most seniors opt to do less exercise instead. This causes the joints to "seize" up, making any exercise extremely unpleasant. The problem only becomes worse as the person puts on weight due to a lack of exercise and not burning off enough calories.
Keeping active in old age
There is plenty that seniors can do to prevent the negative consequences of an inactive lifestyle. These tips will help the elderly become fitter, healthier, and more independent:
As well burning off calories, regular walks build up your muscles. In addition, walking is a good cardiovascular activity and lowers the risk of getting diabetes. If walking is too much effort, it may be worth using a walking stick or rollator.
Another good way to stay active and build up muscles is to do gymnastics and regular stretching exercises. This can also do your joints a world of good. Seniors can do these exercises at home or go to special gymnastics classes.
Swimming works out all of your muscles. At the same, this activity doesn't put too much strain on your joints. That's why swimming is excellent for older people.
Physiotherapists can also help to increase your mobility. In addition, expert treatment can target specific injuries or problems with mobility you may be suffering.
As you can see, you're actually doing the elderly a favor when you don't offer them your seat on the bus or train — you don't need to have a guilty conscience seeing them stand. But if a senior asks you if they can have your seat, you should of course give it up. This also applies whenever you see someone having trouble with standing, but they're afraid to ask for your seat.