The Nonphysical Benefits of Keeping Active as a Senior

The physical benefits of exercise can't be argued with. But beyond the purely physical effects, exercising has benefits for the mind and spirit. Experts have found and agree exercise can relieve stress, and lead to happiness and relaxation in addition to muscle toning.

Regarding senior fitness, the stimulation from exercise can be just the spark retirees need.

Exercise provides mental and holistic health benefits beyond contributing to a healthy lifestyle, and can often be gained from daily activities and not just a grinding workout. 

"Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly … ," the Mayo Clinic states. Those brain chemicals can include serotonin, a biochemical commonly associated with emotions of happiness and relieving of stress.

Yoga is one method of exercise seniors can use to experience mental health benefits of being active.

In addition to being used as a stress relieving mechanism, exercise generates other benefits. When you start to lose weight as a product of exercise, you also start to feel better about yourself. Improved confidence is as valuable an incentive for exercise as physical well-being.

Something To Do
There are plenty of easy opportunities for exercise that not only boost the body, but the mind and spirit. The draw for this type of exercise is that it can require low time commitment and low intensity.

"Experts have found and agree exercise can relieve stress, and lead to happiness and relaxation in addition to muscle toning."

The positivity created by exercising is not just talk about feelings, but clinically proven. An article for the American Psychology Association cited several studies showing the link between increased exercise and decreased risk of depression. Exercise was also proven to work well in treatment for depression.

Exercise enables you to release frustrations or stress and earnestly feel better about yourself:

  • Take the dog for a walk. It doesn't need to be an excursion, but a walk around the block a couple of times is one way to get good exercise. Getting outside the house and into the world allows for an often needed breath of fresh air. Nature can be uplifting, and coupled with the benefits of exercise, is a positive experience.
  • Take a lap. Many senior facilities have pools, while there are also options from gyms and public pools. Besides swimming normal laps, water aerobic classes are also an option and come with the added benefit of social interaction. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control specifically cites aerobics as beneficial in improving mood through exercise.
  • Take a yoga class. Yoga functions as a time for meditation, as well as exercise. The calming nature of the fluid stretching lets you take some time to yourself just breathing and reflecting, while also improving flexibility. There are also many varieties of yoga, AARP recommends finding the one right for you. One such method is restorative yoga, where props like blankets are used to minimize strain and allow for holding positions longer.

The added mental and nonphysical health benefits of senior fitness are major pluses to getting any amount of exercise. Taking a walk, swimming a lap or doing yoga and breathing practices all lead to increased levels of confidence and a sense of achieving something. When considered with the physically noteworthy benefits of exercise, these added perks make senior exercise a good behavior to engage in.