Research from Israel encourages older individuals to leave the house more often, even if their mobility is impaired, as this may help them live longer.
The research, which studied 3,375 older adults age 70 to 90 years old, found that leaving the house as often as possible was associated with improved survival, even in people with low levels of physical activity and people with impaired mobility.
The researchers defined leaving the house often as two to five times per week and leaving the house rarely as once a week or less. Leaving the house daily was defined as six to seven outings per week.
According to the results, the lowest survival rates were associated with people who left the house rarely, whereas the highest survival rates were found in those who left the house daily.
"Resilient individuals remain engaged, irrespective of their physical limitations," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of the Hadassah Hebrew-University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Moreover, decreasing frequency of going out was associated with negative social, (sex, marital status, financial status, loneliness), functional (sex, self-rated health, fatigue, depression, physical activity, activity of daily living difficulty) and medical (pain, diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, etc.) characteristics, according to the study.
While eight in 10 older adults leave the house almost daily until the age of 78, the frequency of daily outings drops to 65.6% at 85 and 48.4 % at 90, the study reports.
As well as the benefits of regular exercise, the study authors suggest that leaving the house offers numerous opportunities to interact and engage with the outside world, and may facilitate exposure to various beneficial experiences.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.