At any age, physical activity and exercise play an important role in overall health. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than 60 percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity.” When individuals refrain from physical activity, they are missing out on many health benefits.
Physical activity and exercise have been linked to providing mental health benefits. At Vivage, with senior living and behavioral health communities throughout Colorado and Missouri, we know the importance of mental health and the impact it has on individuals. Because of this, we have researched some of the benefits of exercise on mental health.
Although the most significant memory improvements were found in those who participated in high-intensity exercises, any physical activity intensity level can be beneficial and provide additional health benefits beyond mental enhancements.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
When your mind is suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, your body also suffers. Tight muscles, insomnia, and headaches are just a few possible symptoms. Physical activity can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, especially if you are mindful when exercising.
When you focus on your surroundings and the feeling of exercising, your mind gets relief from anxious or stressful thoughts, making you feel the benefits of exercise more potently and effectively.
Regulates Chemicals in the Brain and Improves Cognitive Function
Physical activity also helps to regulate the chemicals in the brain and improve cognitive function. A case-control study with 4,615 community residents “participating in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging, found that older subjects engaging in moderate to high levels of [physical activity] were less likely to develop cognitive impairment.”
The chemicals in our brains are responsible for how we feel both mentally and physically. Exercise regulates these chemicals and “stimulates the production of brain chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.” The release of serotonin creates a calm, relaxing effect, while norepinephrine counters the effects of stress in the body. When the chemicals in your brain are balanced, your mind and body will feel healthy and sharp.
How does exercise do this? Physical activity increases the blood flow to the brain, which keeps existing brain cells healthy while promoting the production of new cells to form. This results in both increased memory and control thinking.
Physical activity and exercise are important at any age, and it’s crucial to look out for our bodies and our minds equally. Any amount and any level of intensity of exercise can provide health benefits that impact the way you feel.
Vivage, with senior living and behavioral health communities throughout Colorado and Missouri, implements activities that encourage residents, individuals, and guests to get active. We invite you to visit our website to find a community that suits your own unique health needs.