Benefit of Babysitting: Doctors prescribe dose of grandkids - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Benefit of Babysitting: Doctors prescribe dose of grandkids

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

You are the company you keep. So, if you want to feel and maybe even look a little younger, why not log extra hours with the babies of your family?

Local doctors say they're prescribing a heavy dose of grandchildren to improve the health of both your body and mind.

One local grandmother said watching her grandchildren has made her feel amazing.

"60 is the new 30," Terri Smith said.

Smith has nine grandchildren and is constantly offering to help out by babysitting. She said not only does she love spending quality time with her grandchildren, but she loves the way it makes her feel.

"Kids and their energy," she said. "It's just infectious!"

She said she's never felt healthier.

"Have you chased a two-year-old around? It keeps you young," she said. "I've had both my knees replaced so I can do that!"

Doctor Jeffrey Jamison says she's on to something!

"If you are engaged and serving toward other human beings, that's when people really have better lives," he said. "It keeps you young in many ways."

And Jamison said it isn't just your body that benefits.

"Problems with Alzheimer's and Dementia is a big worry for many adults, if you just watch your grandkids, it reduces (your risk,)" he said. "Especially in women."

Dr. Jamison says love, and plenty of it often is the best medicine.

"Children just give love, they hug, they love to hold hands and walk places," he said. "Those things create a hormone in the body called Oxytocin. That's the love hormone."

And that hormone doesn't just make you feel good, it also reduces inflammation in your body and gets your immune system in fighting shape.

"It also improves your white blood cell count, it's been shown to do that," he said. "The fighter cells in your body, they're better."

Smith believes she's proof of just that.

"It would be my preference to be on the swings than on the bench aging, watching everyone else swing," she said.

Jamison says even just a few hours a week with kiddos can be a big benefit to your mental and physical health. 

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