Everyone is familiar with the need for physical activity to stay fit and mobile as you age. Even older seniors who experience reduced mobility or joint pain and can’t work out like they used to can practice exercises like Tai Chi and Aquafit to improve their muscle strength, balance, and cardiovascular health.
But the benefits of staying active go beyond your body. More and more people both young and old are working out to improve mental health rather than traditional fitness goals such as weight loss or cardiovascular health.
Exercise is a practical, effective way to improve mental health and it has a proven impact on issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and even memory loss. It is an exceptionally powerful tool that will help you improve both body and mind.
How Exercise Can Help Depression
Depression affects nearly 6% of North American seniors over the age of 65 in one form or another. Depression is often a co-occurring illness with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer – all illnesses that can leave seniors feeling isolated.
It can help fight depression by promoting neural growth and reduced brain inflammation. New brain activity creates a feeling of calm, as well as an energizing burst of endorphins. Last but not least, keeping up a regular exercise regime will prevent you from having a relapse into depression.
How Dance Is a Powerful Senior-Friendly Exercise
Dancing is an exercise with tons of benefits, including helping with memory loss. Learning steps and routines forces your brain to connect new neural pathways. Not only are you giving your body a workout that helps your cardiovascular health and balance, you’re also taking part in mental aerobics (neurobics) that can fight memory loss. An active mind is a healthy mind, no different from the rest of your body.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercising relieves all the tension and stress that builds up in your body over time, and with that release comes relief from mental stress and anxiety as well. Yoga, Tai Chi, walking – any type of physical activity that can get you moving will release endorphins and help you feel mindful can put to rest the constant flow of worries inside your head.
Finding Exercise Classes for Seniors
Finding exercise classes targeted toward seniors isn’t always easy. Though it seems like there’s a new gym in every plaza, seniors will have better luck finding seniors-oriented classes in retirement communities that often have all the amenities you need, including instructors, pools, and more. If you’re looking for a way to stay active as a senior, learn more about exercise classes in retirement residences.
There are many other mental health benefits to regular exercise. Whether or not you suffer from depression or anxiety, it relieves stress, helps you sleep better, improves your self-esteem, and gives you more energy every day.
Exercising in a group can also help combat loneliness and mental health issues. These classes for seniors are social events where you can make new friends and connect with your local community.