For seniors, mental and physical exercises enhance the mind, body, and soul. Unfortunately, 31 million people over the age of 50 lead inactive lifestyles.
Mental and physical activities help us stay sharp, social, and healthy. But active senior living doesn’t always refer to trips to the gym. There are various ways to keep the body and mind active throughout life.
Active Senior Living: The Benefits of Keeping a Busy Lifestyle
Let’s dive deeper into how an active lifestyle affects a person’s overall wellbeing as they age.
Active Senior Living Enhances Mental Health
Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters enable calming feelings. They help us de-stress and fall asleep at night, which is something many seniors have trouble doing.
Activities, whether they be physical, mental, or social, boost positivity in seniors. Being active releases dopamine, also known as the happy hormone. As dopamine levels increase, so does our mood.
High dopamine from an active lifestyle can help seniors stay positive. It keeps depression at bay, which affects 6.5 million Americans over 65. Living an active life also prevents mental disorders that commonly affect seniors, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which keeps cells nourished. Healthy cells aid in the growth of new brain cells, which helps us the mind stay sharp.
Social engagements support brain health and reduce symptoms of dementia. Socialization reduces widespread tension, which can slow the progression of dementia and other cognitive disabling diseases.
Mental exercises keep thinking skills sharp. Braining training prompts nerve cells to send messages to each other. Fast cell responses in the brain prevent memory loss, confusion, and lack of focus.
Best Ways for Seniors to Keep Their Minds Active
Seniors can stay healthy as they age by engaging in mental and physical exercises. There are various ways to keep seniors’ mental health in tip-top shape, whether it be through new skills, games, or physical movements.
Learn a New Skill
It’s never too late to learn something new. Teaching your brain a new skill, such as how to play an instrument or a second language, keeps the mind active and alert.
Play a Game
Seniors can form game groups with friends. A weekly game of cards or board game night enhances cognitive skills. Brain games for seniors also increase socialization, which reduces depression and anxiety.
Seniors can also work their minds on their own. Puzzles, crosswords, and coloring books enable people to continue working their minds as they age.
Physically, people should be walking more as they age. Walking boosts circulation, leading to improved oxygen flow to the brain. The more oxygen in the brain, the less likely a person will feel confused or foggy.
Active Senior Living Prevents Diseases
Staying active, whether on your own or through active senior living communities, keeps away chronic medical problems.
Active seniors are less likely to suffer from:
- Colon cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
Physical activities lower blood pressure by improving circulation through the body. Exercise boosts the body’s overall immune function, which tends to decline as people age.
It also helps seniors maintain healthy body weights, stable blood sugar levels, and cholesterol rates.
Best Activities for Preventing Diseases in Seniors
Seniors can participate in aerobic activities to keep chronic diseases away. Aerobic exercises include anything that increases a person’s heart rate.
Good aerobic exercises for seniors include swimming, jogging, and dancing.
Swimming for Seniors
Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise, which means it doesn’t put a lot of tension on your body. It improves flexibility, mental acuity, and builds endurance. It lowers blood pressure, boost circulation, and reduces the risk of heart and lung disease in older adults.
Jogging for Seniors
Light to moderate jogging helps maintain healthy endurance levels. The physical activity leads to stronger mitochondria in the muscles, creating a healthier body. Those who jog three times a week are less likely to experience age-related physical declines.
Dancing for Seniors
Dancing is a social and physical activity that all seniors can engage in.
Physically, dancing boosts muscle function and decreases a person’s risk of heart disease. Mentally, social or group dancing can reduce widespread pain and tension.
Active Senior Living Leads to a Strong Body
Strong seniors are healthy seniors. Healthy muscles help seniors live independently.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older Americans, with one in four individuals over 65 suffering a fall a year. However, staying active and working major muscle groups prevents injuries among seniors.
Strength training builds strong bones and muscles. The activities increase balance and coordination. Staying active decreases the risk of a life-threatening fall.
Best Activities for Strong Seniors
Aging adults should spend two days a week focusing on muscle training and balance activities to help them stay mobile, strong, and steady. Resistance training for seniors also boosts confidence, self-esteem, and mental cognition.
Pilates, yoga, and bodyweight workouts are some of the best activities to build strong bones and muscles in seniors.
Yoga for Seniors
Yoga is a low-impact way to build muscle to prevent osteoporosis, strains, sprains, and fractures. The slow and measured yoga poses improve balance and coordination. In fact, yoga also reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.
Pilates for Seniors
Pilates is another low-impact exercise that creates a strong core and lower body. Core strength plays a critical role in balance and flexibility. Pilates incorporates moves like leg circles, step-ups, and side circles to strengthen the muscles around the abdomen and lower back.
Bodyweight Workout for Seniors
Muscle loss occurs as people age, so seniors should engage in bodyweight workouts. These workouts utilize a person’s weight to counteract the effects of age-related muscle atrophy. Bodyweight exercises include squats, lunges, and hip bridges.
Explore More Parenting Tips and Tricks
Active senior living comes in many forms.
Whether it be building balance through yoga poses or keeping the mind sharp with a group game night, people need to lead active lifestyles as they age.
If you’re looking for more parenting advice, browse our blog. Our expert articles were written for parents by parents.