Sep 13, 2017

3 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

A study has shown that a growing number of older adults in Australia are living with the cognitive disorder of dementia. According to the research, more than 413,106 Australians are living with dementia, and this number is projected to increase to 536,164 by 2025. Apart from this condition, the elderly are also coping with loneliness and anxiety, with up to 15% of Australians over the age of 65 experiencing depression. While older adults need a healthy diet and loving care to thrive, the elderly and their loved ones should keep in mind that doing any form of physical activity on a regular basis can have incredible benefits on one’s mental health.

Reasons why the elderly should exercise

Even during your golden years, it is imperative to stay active to keep fit and be at your best, physically and mentally. Exercise can help to strengthen muscles and improve an older adult’s mobility, which can help to prevent falls. Working out can also lessen the risks of heart disease and other health conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Moreover, exercise is beneficial to mental health as it can boost your mood and promote brain health. Here are 3 mental health benefits of exercise for the elderly.

It makes you happier

Older adults who live with loneliness and depression may find that just 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking or dancing, can help to alleviate negative feelings. Exercise releases endorphins, also known as the “feel good” hormones, which may help to keep depression at bay.

It helps you cope with stress

Older adults are faced with a lot of stressors as they age, but exercise can help you to cope with stress better. According to experts, working out can help a person be more resilient in the face of challenges or stressors, so the elderly will be able to cope with stress in positive ways.

It prevents cognitive decline

It has been said that exercise can help lower the risk of dementia, and people who are fitter at an older age are also at a lower risk of developing cognitive disorders. Older adults should look into doing a combination of cardio and muscle strengthening exercises to get the full mental health benefits of every workout.

Active older adults can dance, jog, run, swim, or workout at the gym at least 3 times a week to ensure physical fitness and mental health, while elderly people who have never tried exercising on a regular basis before can try other forms of gentle workouts such as tai chi, gardening, or walking. Any of these activities can help to boost mental health and improve an elderly person’s overall quality of life.

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