Whether you’re lacing up your sneakers to run another marathon or finally finding the motivation to walk around the block, you’ll be glad you did. Taking care of your body not only helps you stay physically healthy but also has a direct impact on your mental and emotional well-being – and your memory.
“Physical activity often results in significant improvement in the overall quality of seniors’ lives,” says Jillian Castellano, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, a senior living community offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “Keeping their minds healthy and sharp is one of the most beneficial effects.”
In this post, we’re going to explore how keeping your body active and healthy today can help keep your mind healthy in the future.
We all know that we should exercise. Older adults in particular can benefit significantly from even minimal physical exercise. It’s been found that physical activity will actually add extra years to your life. Perhaps more importantly, it will improve your quality of life for those additional years. Fortunately, you don’t even have to have been exercising your entire life to benefit from it. Getting active later in life will do just as well.
Specific benefits exercise can provide to many of us as we grow older include:
- ENERGY & MOOD
Regular exercise can boost your energy levels and improve your mood with increased self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms.
- HEART HEALTH
What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. As you’ve heard over and over, exercise is key to cardiovascular health. Exercise will lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce stress, and help improve vital sleep, all of which boost heart – and brain – health.
Exercise can help seniors maintain independence by ensuring they have the physical and mental strength to accomplish everyday activities. Strength-building exercises improve balance to avoid falls and preserve mobility.
- IMPROVED SLEEP
Exercise also has proven to have a considerable impact on quality of sleep, which can help you maintain cognitive function, boost your immune system, and help you keep moving.
- IMPROVED BRAIN FUNCTION
Most importantly, for the purposes of this post, staying active helps improve brain function and keep your mind sharp. The Mayo Clinic found that, for people with Alzheimer’s, physical activity keeps blood flowing, increases chemicals that protect the brain, and counters some of the reduction of brain connections that naturally occur with aging. These are significant findings that can help motivate seniors to keep active.
Regular exercise is a simple way for many seniors to control their own health and happiness. And with the ability to help prevent falls, fight disease, and control chronic pain, exercise should be a no-brainer…pun intended. Seniors also tend to heal more quickly and completely from ailments when they have less stress and are more focused on mind-body connections.
Specific exercises you can try that will provide numerous benefits for your body and your mind include:
- CARDIO EXERCISES
Cardio exercises such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, and aerobics benefit your heart as well as improve brain function and memory. Some Medicare Advantage plans that offer the SilverSneakers Fitness Program can give you discounted memberships to gyms, wellness centers, and YMCA facilities, which can make it easy to make cardio a regular part of your routine.
- MINDFUL EXERCISES
Mindful exercises such as senior-friendly yoga, tai chi, qigong (pronounced “chee gung” and also stylized as qi gong, chi kung or chi gung), and Pilates help with coordination, balance, and strength and have emotional and mental benefits as well. The visualization and repetition of such activities promote mental sharpness.
- STRENGTH-BUILDING EXERCISES
Strength-building such as wall or counter push-ups, free weights, elastic exercise bands, etc. will make everything from carrying grocery bags to getting out of a chair easier, allowing seniors to maintain independence and confidence to live at home safely.
- LOW-IMPACT EXERCISES
Low-impact exercises such as working on balance or resistance training using gravity and bodyweight to build strength are sometimes more achievable for less mobile seniors and can still help keep minds healthy.
Of course, one of the mental aspects of exercise is motivation. A lack thereof can quickly get in the way of a regular exercise routine. To help you stay motivated, you can do little things such as focusing solely on the short term. If you set goals for a week at a time, or even daily, it may not seem so daunting.
You can also reward yourself for keeping active by allowing yourself a little extra dessert or purchasing new sneakers to encourage you to stay active. Another motivator is to track your progress. Track the days in a week you are active for longer than 20 minutes, your amount of weight loss, or when you notice increases in your strength. The differences you start to see – and feel – can make a huge impact on motivation.
If you’re still having a hard time staying motivated, recruit a workout buddy. Someone who will remind and encourage you to be active on a regular basis can also be extremely motivating.
Staying motivated and sticking to a routine that exercises your body and fine motor skills will benefit cognitive function and can lower risk of dementia or help those with signs of dementia function better longer. Picking up one or more of the exercises listed here will get you started.
Learn about the life-enriching, brain-healthy activities at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. Give us a call at 561-214-8549!
Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled
Offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care, YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens was designed specifically with residents in mind. We know your life is shaped by family, friends, hobbies, passions and more, so we’ve created a community where you can enjoy comfort, independence and engagement, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define your own lifestyle. Here, we shape each thing we do around you, from your routines and interests to your choices and preferences, to create an inspiring lifestyle that fits your life perfectly.
Because we are completely shaped around you, our residents get more of out their lives. With exceptional care delivered by a dedicated and compassionate team and a fulfilling lifestyle full of choice and convenience, residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible.
Each day holds something new for residents. Whether they are enjoying our exclusive activities, learning something new or simply engaging in our YourStory programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. Do you enjoy making new discoveries and trying new hobbies, simply want to continue the hobbies you love or enjoy some time to yourself to relax? At YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, the choice is up to you.
Call us at 561-214-8549 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.