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Senior Health: Unexpected Benefits of Physical Fitness

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Routine exercise is certainly a great way to prevent weight gain, control blood pressure and preserve mobility. For seniors, however, maintaining an active lifestyle can do far more than simply boost physical health. Here are a handful of other ways your senior loved one can benefit from regular physical activity.

Enjoy Better Rest

As most Omaha live-in caregivers know, aging adults frequently have a hard time falling and staying asleep. This is often due to their increasingly sedentary lifestyles, however, various health issues can also decrease comfort and make it harder to relax. Multiple studies have found that people who get regular, moderate exercise experience improved sleep quality compared to those who don’t. Study participants often also report increased energy during the day.

Develop a Healthy Appetite

Seniors who suffer from Parkinson’s, dementia, or Alzheimer’s often forget to eat. A decline in natural dopamine production commonly results in a lackluster attitude towards food along with marked weight loss. Working out boosts the production of dopamine and other “feel-good” hormones, which makes it more likely for seniors to recognize hunger and to respond better when meals are presented.

Prevent Cognitive Decline

Working out improves blood circulation, which in turn allows for better oxygen delivery to the brain. Some studies show that increased blood flow and oxygen delivery may even promote new cell growth. More importantly, increased delivery of blood and oxygen to the brain helps slow cognitive decline.

Keep Depression and Anxiety at Bay

An increase in the production of “feel good” hormones like dopamine and serotonin will do more than simply stimulate a healthy appetite. People can also recognize marked decreases in the occurrence of negative emotions like depression and anxiety. Best of all, many forms of exercise also have a social component that helps limit the likelihood of senior isolation.

Increase Confidence

As seniors face age-related challenges like balance and mobility decline, they can develop unused muscles for increased spinal support, strengthen limbs that they’ve become increasingly reliant upon, and learn new ways to alleviate stress placed on muscles that must work harder than others. Not only is this physically beneficial for seniors, but it can also give them a renewed sense of autonomy and greater self-confidence.

Want to learn more about senior health and fitness? Reach out to Omaha senior care provider, Home Care Assistance. Our highly trained caregivers can grocery shop, cook healthy meals, encourage and assist during exercise, provide mental stimulation, and promote overall wellbeing. Give our office a call at (402) 261-5158 to speak with an experienced and friendly Care Manager today!