5 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise After 50

Ross Quade | Health | 22 Jul, 2014 | No Comments

As you age you may find yourself becoming more sedentary due to the demands of life and an aging body, however it is as important as ever to remain physically active. Not only can exercising on a regular basis boost your energy levels and keep you physically fit, but it can also keep you mentally fit as well. In fact, an article in Express, a UK based news source, stated that there are many lifestyle factors that are involved in your cognitive health, but one of the main ones is exercising. Here are five mental health benefits of exercise.

Reduces Stress

As we age stress is more and more detrimental to our wellbeing, and so it is very important to combat the effects of stress. One great way to do this is to go to the gym for a workout or even take a quick walk. Stress relief is one of the best mental benefits to exercise. In fact, working up a sweat and raising your heartbeat can aid in managing both mental and physical stress. Exercising on a regular basis also increases the chemical norepinephrine in the brain, which moderates the way the brain responds to stress. This means it’s a win-win, working out reduces stress and boosts your body’s ability to deal with any mental tension that you already have. As you age this is incredibly important.

Increases Happy Chemicals

As people age the tendency to become depressed also increases. In order to combat this, exercise is key. This is because it boosts the happy chemicals in your brain called endorphins. This creates feelings of euphoria and happiness. In fact, studies have found that exercise can completely alleviate symptoms of clinical depression. Due to this, doctors often prescribe exercise to those who are feeling anxious or depressed. Even if you do not feel like you are either of these, what’s the harm in feeling even better than you already do? Exercising can also make you feel more confident and better about yourself as you age, which also translates to a better mood.

Prevent a Decline in Your Cognition

As unpleasant as it is to think about, as we age our minds tend to get a little fuzzy. This is due to the fact that the brain actually shrinks as we age, which causes us to lose brain function. On top of this we have to deal with degenerative and aging diseases such as Alzheimer’s, which kill brain cells.  Although exercising can’t kill brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, it can aid in protecting the brain against cognitive function decline that starts after the age of 45. By working out during the ages of 25 to 45 you boost chemicals in your brain that prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, which is the part of the

Sharpen Memory

Regular exercise increases your ability to learn new material as well as boosts memory. This is because physical activity increases the production of new cells in the brain. This is great for people over the age of 50 as it is usually the case that we need our memories more than ever during that time.

Improves Your Sleep

As we get older it can get harder and harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, poor sleep does not have to be a consequence of getting older. By exercising you can vastly improve your sleep quality. Not only does it help you fall asleep quicker, but it will also help you have a deeper sleep, which will leave you feeling well rested when you wake up.

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