Happy National Senior Health and Fitness Day! Today, May 31st, marks the 30th anniversary of this health and wellness day of awareness that promotes the importance of regular physical activity to improve the health of older adults. Numerous organizations around the country are hosting events to spread the word about the importance of taking care of our seniors.
Events are being held at retirement communities, local health clubs, senior centers, hospitals, wellness centers, and other community locations. Activities taking place are non-competitive and may include walking events, low-impact exercises, health screenings, and health information workshops. Yes, Senior Health and Fitness Day is an important, nationally recognized day celebrated every year, but it is a topic that shouldn’t be limited to just one day a year.
It’s vital for older adults to live an active and healthy lifestyle. It helps to maintain weight, combat diseases, and, most of all, it improves mental health. But, just as you need to work toward good physical health, you need to work to nurture your mind. Here are a few ways physical exercise and activities can strengthen your mental health and fight off depression and anxiety.
Helps You Sleep Better
Many seniors struggle to get a good night’s rest. As we age, achieving that deep sleep we once had gets harder and harder. However, studies have found that regular exercise improves the quality of sleep. It helps you to relax, and it results in energy expenditure, which results in feeling tired, thus aiding a longer and more peaceful night of sleep.
Balances Brain Chemicals
Exercise triggers the production of brain chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These chemicals or neurotransmitters are responsible for making us feel the way we do. Unfortunately, research shows that dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels decrease with age.
However, when you exercise, your body produces more of these brain chemicals, which help to counter the effects of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. This ultimately improves your mental health, preventing depression, anxiety, and other mood disorder symptoms.
Boosts Energy Levels
Fatigue is a common side effect of getting older. It may sound counterintuitive, but exercise actually increases your energy. When you use your stored energy, your body is conditioned to make more. So, when you sit and are inactive, your body only uses the little energy you have without working to make more of it. Eventually, you will run out. When you have energy, you feel better physically and mentally.
Regular exercise is essential for everyone, but given the increased limitations and side effects that come with age, exercise is vital for seniors. It improves your overall health and wellness – physically and mentally.
So, in honor of Happy National Senior Health and Fitness Day, lace up your sneakers and get moving!