Can Staying Active Reduce the Risk of Hearing Loss?
The Nurses’ Health Study II — a study of thousands of women conducted over the course of 20 years — wanted to see if body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and physical activity had any associations with hearing loss.
The study’s authors understood the negative effects of untreated hearing loss, noting how it “can impair communication and social interaction, and adversely affect psychosocial well-being and quality of life” — and they wanted to identify “modifiable risk factors” to help reduce the prevalence of hearing loss. This study focused on physical activity.
The study concluded that higher BMI and larger waist circumferences increased the risk of hearing loss, and that higher physical activity — including walking, swimming, aerobics and even lower-intensity exercise — was associated with reduced risk of hearing loss in women.
So, we at OHC thought to ourselves, “Well, if we know this, what can we do about it?”
In addition to talking to our patients every day about the ways they can decrease risk to hearing loss, we thought we’d share a list of 10 strategies to stay active and fit. We know that sometimes the greatest limiting factor in staying active is figuring out how to stay active, and getting into a new routine. And, it can be easy enough to resolve to get fit, but staying active through all four seasons can be a challenge, with all sorts of obstacles and resistance popping up both internally and externally.
Here are some tips to help you stay active all year round:
Make getting fit enjoyable. Pick an activity (or activities) that appeals to you, since you’re more likely to keep to an exercise plan if you actually like and enjoy it.
Choose activities that match your lifestyle. Think about your budget, physical abilities and amount of free time you have. Do you want to go running, or do you prefer swimming?
Check out local exercise options. Opportunities to be active in your neighbourhood may include leisure centers, sports clubs, recreation centers, parks, walking trails, swimming pools or fitness classes.
Make exercise into a social activity. Ask a friend or family member to be active with so you can motivate and reward each other. Better yet, you can make some new friends through a class or club!
Plan ahead for bad weather, and head to your local swimming pool or gym to exercise indoors when you can’t get outside. Don’t let the weather be an obstacle to your fitness and wellbeing.
Keep some exercise equipment at home. Options include exercise DVDs, a stationary bike, skipping rope or fitness ball.
Have fun getting physical. Go dancing, fly a kite, throw a frisbee or swim in the ocean or lakes. You’re not limited to sports and structured exercise programs.
Get active around the house. Housework, washing the dog and gardening are all physical activities that burn calories and help keep you fit.
Look for matter-of-fact ways to move your body every day. For example, walk or cycle to the local shops, instead of driving the car, or just take a walk around your neighborhood. Use the stairs instead of elevator or escalator.
Involve the whole family in keeping fit. Arrange for outings that are physically active, such as walking the dog, cycling, rowing or hiking.
For more advice on reducing the risk or severity of hearing loss, or any other related hearing needs (perhaps you are overdue for a hearing loss check) call OHC today. We are your Oklahoma Hearing experts.