Update on Coronavirus / COVID-19 and senior safety, click here for more information.

5 Effects of Sedentary Lifestyles on Seniors’ Mental Health

By , 9:00 am on

Exercise is great for the body, but it’s also vital for mental wellbeing. The movements can ease depression and anxiety while keeping the mind sharp. Below are some of the ways a lack of exercise could affect your aging loved one’s mental health and the benefits physical workouts can provide.

1. Increases Stress

When stress goes unmanaged, it can affect key areas of the brain that regulate memory as well as emotions. For seniors who are unable to manage their stress levels, the risk of developing mental health disorders can increase. For those living with mental health problems, stress can make them worse. However, taking up a moderate exercise routine could strengthen your loved one’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing and enhance his or her mood. The physical movements lead to the production of more feel-good chemicals that can keep your loved one calm.

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s ability to exercise safely, consider hiring a trained professional caregiver to provide assistance. Mesa homecare services professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

2. Diminishes Confidence

Seniors with low self-esteem usually have negative feelings about themselves. They don’t have the confidence necessary for healthy aging, and their odds of mental health problems increase. Lack of exercise can lower self-esteem even more, which is why seniors need to stay physically active. When aging adults exercise, they can maintain a healthy weight and strengthen their bones, which leads to a more fit appearance and less fear of being injured when walking or taking on daily challenges, especially physical tasks. Regular moderate exercise can boost the mind and spirit.

3. Disrupts Sleep

Good sleeping patterns are essential for strong mental health. Failing to get enough exercise could increase the risk of insomnia, and older adults with this sleeping problem have a higher risk of depression. Encourage your loved one to exercise more, which can enhance his or her mood and lead to better sleeping habits. When working out, the physical activity increases body temperature and calms the mind. Exercise also regulates the circadian rhythm, which controls when someone is alert or tired.

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, a professional caregiver can take over for you. Mesa respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Raises the Risk of Addiction

Exercising increases the production of dopamine, which is a reward chemical. Many substances cause the brain to produce dopamine, including drugs and alcoholic beverages. Some foods also stimulate production of the chemical, which is why people overeat when they’re feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Exercise is an excellent way to distract seniors and keep their minds occupied. The reward chemicals released after completing even the most basic routine can lower anxiety and reduce the risk of addiction.

5. Reduces Brain Health

Mental health disorders are often caused by problems related to communication between neurons in the brain. Individuals who have depression or other mental health issues generally have lower levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. By exercising, your parent can boost his or her brain health and strengthen his or her hippocampus. Physical workouts also increase creativity and boost mental energy. 

Seniors who need assistance creating and following effective exercise plans can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. Elderly home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (480) 699-4899.