Exercise Provides Mental Health Benefits for Seniors

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Exercise Offers More Than Physical Benefits

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on May 15, 2015

Physical exercise can benefit seniors in a very broad range of ways. Low-impact and even non-impact activities can promote weight loss or weight maintenance, stimulate a robust appetite, improve blood circulation, regulate blood pressure and improve balance and overall mobility. In addition to the physical benefits, however, routine exercise can also improve overall mental health. This is especially important for aging adults who may be struggling with stress, anxiety and depression. Home Care Assistance Scottsdale highlights the following mental health benefits seniors can reap from regular physical activity.

Mood Balance

Seniors who workout are far less likely to experience major mood swings. This is because physical exercise stimulates the release of “feel good” chemicals. These chemicals help keep anxiety and depression at bay, which are two common issues among aging adults.

Increased Dopamine and Serotonin Production

Among the positive, “feel good” chemicals that are released during exercise are serotonin and dopamine. Not only will the production and release of more dopamine and serotonin make seniors feel happier, but it can also increase appetite, foster widespread improvement in neurological functioning and keep the symptoms of degenerative brain disorders from progressing at a rapid pace.

Stress Relief

Seniors must face age-related developments like changes in mobility, loss of driving privileges, or a dwindling sense of autonomy that can cause a significant spike in stress levels. Exercise helps take their minds off of the things that they cannot control and gives them something positive to focus on instead.

Higher Self-Confidence

Challenging physical exercises can provide a sense of accomplishment. Activities that are designed to meet individual needs can also show seniors new ways of getting things done in spite of changes in mobility, fine motor control, balance and overall coordination.

Social Stimulation

Many exercise programs have a social component that allows seniors to meet new people, stay in touch with old friends and avoid senior isolation. Regular social interaction is not only essential for preserving good mental health, it can also have a significant impact on a senior’s physical health as well as happy people are more likely to stay healthy than those who suffer from loneliness and depression.

Proactive Mindset

Staying active also keeps seniors engaged and proactive. They can see how their actions are capable of creating positive changes in their lives, and this cognizance of cause and effect makes seniors more likely to remain diligent in their efforts to care for themselves.

Interested in learning more about senior health and fitness? Reach out to the senior care experts at Home Care Assistance. Our experienced live-in and hourly caregivers in Scottsdale can cook healthy meals, promote physical activity and offer mobility support, and encourage mental stimulation as part of a comprehensive care plan. Call a friendly Care Manager at 480.448.6215 for more information or to schedule a free in-home consultation.