The Positive Impact Exercise has on the Physical and Mental Health of Older People
Exercise is important for everyone – not just for young and fit people. In fact, older people can benefit greatly from becoming more active even when they feel they are not fit enough to begin an exercise programme. Exercise in care homes and in the community can have many health benefits for older people, and there are various ways in which everyone can begin to enjoy a more active lifestyle.
The reasons for people becoming less active as they grow older range from a lack of confidence and fear of falling to health problems that limit mobility, but whatever your age or current health status, becoming more active can have a positive impact on your life and increase longevity.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy weight as you grow older, and your metabolism slows down. Many people find that their weight gradually increases. Exercise in care homes can help to change your metabolism and burn off more calories.
Exercise can help to keep you more mobile by improving flexibility, strength and posture. This results in better balance and coordination so that the risk of falls is reduced.
Exercise promotes better bone density, blood pressure and digestive functioning and helps your immune system. People who exercise may have a lower risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis as well as being less likely to become obese.
Regular exercise can have a positive impact on the quality of sleep, helping you to fall asleep more easily and enjoy a deep and refreshing sleep at night.
Exercise releases endorphins, which promote a positive feeling, reducing stress and generally improving your mood and feelings of well-being.
Exercise is also recognised to have beneficial effects on the brain, helping to increase creativity, help with multitasking and prevent memory loss. It is also believed to slow the progress of certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease in some cases.
How to Start Exercising
Check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme, and begin slowly. Walking is an excellent start, and the only equipment you will need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Other popular forms of exercise for older adults include yoga, Tai Chi and water-based activities such as swimming.
Anyone Can Exercise
Even if you think you are too old or too frail to benefit from exercise, there is always some way of becoming more active. Sessions of exercise in care homes are becoming part of the activity programme in most residential establishments, and in the community there are many groups you could join to get you started. Even if you are unable to walk or stand for any length of time, seated exercise can have many benefits and will be an excellent way of improving your physical and mental health.