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Aging Behavior Brain and Mental Performance Cognitive

The Psychological Benefits Of Maintaining Mobility For Seniors

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on Apr 05, 2024, 12 p.m.

If you want to reduce your risk of dementia, start counting your steps. A study suggests that 3,800 and 9,800 steps a day can significantly help to reduce your risk of mental decline. In fact, many everyday activities, such as doing household chores or gentle exercise, can lower your risk, enhance your overall mental health and help you live a longer and healthier life. While it’s all too easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle as we age, it can lead to a decline in physical and mental health and increase isolation. Breaking this cycle by maintaining mobility can have a huge impact on maintaining independence and quality of life as we age, giving older people a greater sense of independence, purpose and accomplishment. 

Improved Cognitive Functions

Aside from the many physical health benefits of staying active as we get older, maintaining mobility can also significantly improve mental health. Even gentle exercise can release endorphins, which can help improve mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Regular movement can also boost older people’s cognitive functions such as hand-eye coordination, memory and strategic thinking, potentially reducing the risk of dementia. Furthermore, simply taking part in activities that bring a person joy can improve their overall mental well-being and quality of life.

Mitigate The Negative Effects Of Boredom

As we get older, we are at a greater risk of experiencing boredom more frequently which can have a detrimental effect on mental health. Being perpetually bored puts seniors at greater risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, mood issues, poor sleep and cognitive decline. Intense boredom can also exacerbate feelings of isolation, social withdrawal, and loneliness, which are already all too prevalent among seniors. Maintaining mobility can be a powerful antidote to boredom. Engaging in physical activities and trying new experiences boosts mood and cognitive function. Whether embarking on road trips in a minivan, picking up a new hobby, participating in community events, or simply maintaining an active lifestyle, older adults can overcome boredom. 

Preventing Isolation And Loneliness

While one in five older people experience difficulties with mobility, being as active as possible can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness which are common challenges among older people. In fact, physical activity can reduce severe loneliness and social isolation by up to 30% and increase an older person's sense of purpose, and resilience by up to 150%. Whether it’s participating in community events, gardening, joining an exercise class or taking the dog for a walk, it’s not only good for their physical health but they can also build meaningful relationships. This sense of belonging and support improves mood and mental health and leads to a higher overall quality of life. 

Provides A Sense Of Purpose

Maintaining mobility as we age gives seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which play a role in their well-being. Engaging in hobbies, trying new things, or simply relishing the freedom to move around helps seniors feel positive about getting older and helps them to find meaning in their lives. Those who prioritize staying active often feel a greater sense of contentment, satisfaction, and hope about the future. By focusing on activities that promote mobility and independence, older adults can maintain a positive outlook on life, navigate challenges more effectively, and enjoy a higher quality of life in their golden years.

Mobility isn’t just about being able to stand or walk. It encompasses everyday activities such as climbing the stairs, keeping balance, getting out of bed, and just being able to move freely without experiencing pain or straining ourselves. Spending a lot of time moving is essential in helping an older person maintain their mobility and independence, enabling them to live a good quality of life.

This article was written for WHN by Bri Burton, who is a talented wordsmith, an avid blogger, and a health advocate. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2795819

https://www.worldhealth.net/news/lifestyle-changes-could-add-years-your-life/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9858649/

https://cenie.eu/en/blogs/age-society/report-study-boredom-older-adults

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/rankings/best-vans-and-minivans

https://www.themobilityresource.com/about-us/media-room/mobility-statistics/

https://www.uhc.com/news-articles/medicare-articles/physical-activity-loneliness

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