The benefits of being a grandparent seem obvious. You get to be silly without judgment. Eating cookies for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. And a trip to the grocery store is an adventure, rather than a chore. But did you know spending time with your grandkids can improve your health and help you live longer, too? Here's how.
1. Bonding with your grandkids can protect your mental health
As you get older, your risk for experiencing depression increases. But developing a close relationship with your grandkids can actually reduce these symptoms. So whether you spend your time telling stories, teaching tricks, or playing games, keep making memories with your grandkids to maintain your happiness and well-being.
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2. Playing with your grandkids helps you stay active and healthy
Let's face it: Kids don't like to sit still. That means you're likely on your feet a lot when you see your grandkids. You might be tuckered out by the end of the day from building forts and playing hide-and-go-seek, but the health benefits of being active are well worth it. According to the World Health Organization, regular physical activity can improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, and reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases, depression, and cognitive decline. So take advantage of playtime every chance you get.
3. Spending time with your grandkids boosts your social health
It's important to stay social to maintain your overall health as you age. Being a grandparent makes this easier. Along with regularly engaging with your grandkids, you might also find opportunities to connect with other adults through "grandparenting" activities like chaperoning field trips, going to the park, or helping out at your grandkids' schools.
4. Teaching your grandkids keeps your mind sharp
Think of all the knowledge you pass on to your grandkids. You may teach them how to bake their first dessert, how to color in the lines, or how to throw a perfect spiral. Each time you teach your grandkids something new, you're retrieving memories and exercising your mind — helping to keep your brain strong and powerful.
5. Embracing grandparenthood gives you a new sense of purpose
Your role as a grandparent holds precious meaning. The comfort, encouragement, knowledge, and love you provide your grandkids gives you a whole new purpose in life, which is important to your well-being. According to recent studies, having purpose in life has been linked to better mental and physical health, as well as improved health behaviors that can help increase longevity.
What's more, all of the health benefits you reap from being a grandparent can positively affect your grandkids. Studies suggest that the healthier you are, the healthier your grandkids are, too. It's just another reason to love being a grandparent.
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