A person’s physical health is important to not only them but to their loved ones as well. Being in good physical health allows us to enjoy all that life has to offer. Whether that involves exercises like walking, running or swimming, being physically active helps us to feel good.
But what is it about the act of movement that makes us feel this way? Well, when we actively engage our bodies our brains release endorphins. These then stimulate receptors in the brain that are associated with happiness and pleasure.
This chemical reaction is what gives you that sense of achievement when you’ve completed a long walk or any other form of exercise.
But how do these endorphins affect our mental health in the long term?
In this blog post, we explore the fascinating relationship between physical and mental health. How does it change in the short and long term? How much exercise benefits you? And most importantly, how can physical exercise help elderly care patients?
The Significance of Mental Health
Mental health has long been an area of taboo, often not being discussed openly amongst those who are suffering. Thankfully, over a number of years, this has started to change. Now, the potentially negative impacts of mental health are beginning to be understood and the positive impact of physical activity is becoming clearer and clearer.
According to Mind, mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us each year here in the UK. When we also consider that the WHO believe over 15% of adults aged 60+ suffer from some sort of neurological disorder or mental health issue, it is clear to see that identifying and encouraging behaviours that mitigate these issues are vital.
The Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health
Physical activity, such as running, walking, dancing, swimming or yoga helps us to feel fit and in tune with our bodies. It is now understood that whilst this exercise is undoubtedly good for our physical health, it also has significant benefits for mental aspects too.
Research suggests that being regularly active can help you feel more confident, give you higher self-esteem, help you to concentrate better and sleep more soundly. The endorphins released during exercise are what cause this, as well as giving you a pleasurable sense of achievement.
These areas are especially useful for care patients. Elderly family members who are maybe not as mobile as they once were can benefit hugely from just a small amount of exercise each day. As well as the mental benefits exercise provides it is also a hugely effective tool for building strength and improving mobility.
How to Best use Exercise when Improving Mental Health
There are plenty of activities suitable for all levels of mobility. If an elderly person is still able to, then simply walking every day is a fantastic way to keep mobile. If they are receiving care and are still able to do so, helping carers with household chores can keep activity levels up. Similarly, swimming is an excellent low impact form of exercise that is highly recommended.
If, like many of those who receive care, you are unable to stand for long periods or your mobility is reduced, there are a number of seated exercises that can help to release those endorphins. Lifting legs, weighted objects or performing certain types of yoga can prove to be hugely beneficial.
Long Term Effects of Physical Exercise
The great thing about regular physical activity is that it helps us in both the short and long term. Short term, endorphins are released making us feel happy and stimulated. This is a fantastic element to introduce to the daily routine of someone in care as it provides an element of structure and purpose.
The long term benefits are also there for all to see. If mobility or strength is an issue, the best way to combat this is through exercise and movement. Even if these are not too much of an issue, regular activity is the best way to prolong a healthy body.
If You or a Loved one Needs Support
At Sova Healthcare we pride ourselves on giving the best care services possible. Whether you require Domiciliary, Palliative, Live-in or Night care we can tailor a package to suit you and your family’s needs.
We understand that looking at care options can be a daunting prospect. Because there are so many questions when first assessing options, we have dedicated pages on health assessments, financial support and funding options.
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