Got Grandchildren? It Turns Out They’ll Keep You Healthy
When it comes to your health, a packed house around the holidays is just what the doctor ordered. Not only do your grandkids bring a smile to your face, but spending time with them also helps improve your mind, body and spirit. Here are just a few ways visits with the little ones can boost your health:
They sharpen your mind. Researchers for the Women’s Health Aging Project found that spending time with grandkids lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. Boost the benefit by planning stimulating activities for their visit that will get both of your minds working, like painting, jigsaw puzzles or board games. And if they’re older, ask them to give you a lesson on social media. Research shows that using Facebook supports healthy aging—plus, seeing photos of your family and reading what they’re up to can give you an instant happiness boost.
They keep your body active. Make no mistake, chasing after little ones or playing with preschoolers will definitely get your heart pumping. In anticipation of their arrival, prep yourself for extra endurance by getting some long walks in. It may be cold out, but you can head to the mall and do your laps indoors. You can even make it a social gathering and ask your friends to join you. The additional mileage will help you stay on your toes during your family’s visit by strengthening your muscles and loosening stiff joints.
They nurture your soul. A study from Boston College showed that grandparents and adult grandchildren who felt emotionally connected to each other developed fewer symptoms of depression. During the holidays, bond with your grandkids by telling them about what your life was like when you were their age. Share fun photos and stories from exciting travels or lend them a book you loved when you were younger.
Photo credit: Ben McLeod