Exercise is repeatedly featured in our favorite magazines, blogs and television shows. As an adult, being physically active is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, did you know that it greatly benefits your mental health, also? Being physically active has been shown to reduce anxiety, effects of depression and other mental health concerns.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to go run the marathon that has been on your bucket list for years. Start slow and try a multitude of activities to find what fits your lifestyle best.*
Where should I start?
Check out Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging. It’s designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life.
How long should I exercise for?
A good weekly goal to start with is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. You can try beginner exercises such as walking or swimming.
Combine cardio exercise and strength training for an ideal sweat session. Short on time? Your regular activities such as cleaning and gardening can also count as exercise as long as you are getting your heart rate up.
Fit muscles, fit brain!
Researchers have found regular exercise can improve your memory and thinking skills. Aerobic exercises in particular actually change the brain — boosting the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
In addition, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety, which can impact a person’s cognitive abilities.
Find your center with balance and coordination exercises.
As you grow older, head injuries from falls are a serious risk, which in turn can increase your risk of dementia. Exercises using balance discs or balance balls, yoga and Tai Chi can help you avoid falls.
You don’t need to be an athlete. Healthy aging is a combination of keeping the body and mind active and robust.
At ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care, our caregivers offer assistance with daily activities, including light exercise prescribed by a health care provider. Contact us to learn about the other 50 ways we can help you live your best life possible.
*Always consult your health care provider before starting a new exercise program.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 26, 2016. It has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.