How Seniors Can Take Control of Their Physical and Mental Health


I'd like to share the following article, written by Jason Lewis, a personal trainer who in 2002, became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. He realized, as he helped her with her recovery, that there's a special need for trainers that can assist seniors. He worked with his mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65.

How Seniors Can Take Control of Their Physical and Mental Health

For older adults struggling with isolation and depression, taking control of your mental and physical health and feeling good is a matter of staying active. In fact, the relationship between the physical and the psychological is so close that focusing on one often benefits the other, so find something that you truly enjoy, whether it’s going for a swim or just sitting down with a crossword puzzle for a couple of hours. Whatever you choose to do, keeping both your mind and body occupied is the key to improving your quality of life. 

Keep Moving

You might be surprised at how physical exercise can make you feel happier. It gets the blood pumping and releases “feel-good” hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, into the body. Before you know it, you’re invigorated and motivated to do even more. Activities that make you feel good will leave you wanting more. Exercise builds muscle, strengthens bones and joints, improves balance, reduces the likelihood of falls, and alleviates the stress and anxiety that places many seniors in a precarious mental state. 

Turn on Some Tunes

There’s a powerful connection between music and mood, memory, and your bodily rhythms. Some believe that musiccan soothe or exhilarate depending on the kind of music you prefer and contributes to good health and feelings of well-being. The release of natural mood-enhancing hormones leaves you feeling better, encourages social interaction, and even helps you sleep better, so play your favorite music while cleaning the house — it’s powerful medicine. Take an iPod along with you to the store or when you’re in line at the post office. Pop in a favorite CD while driving, invite friends to the symphony, and consider joining a local choir.   

Make Friends with Technology

Many older adults have a phobia when it comes to technology, and that’s a shame because computers and smartphones have so much to offer seniors who need a quick and easy way to stay in contact with loved ones. Spend some time learning how to text and email, start a Facebookpage, and use FaceTime or Skype so you can stay in touch with the people you care about. You’ll also benefit from exercisevideos on YouTube, playing along with Nintendo Wii games, or using a fitness app that counts your steps each day.  

Socialize

Few things are as damaging to a senior’s quality of life as isolation and loneliness. Depressionis often the result, sometimes leading to even more serious conditions that are mentally and physically debilitating. Social activity is an effective antidote, but it can be difficult to make new connections, especially if you’re separated from friends and family. Church can be an ideal place to make friends and join in group activities with like-minded people. If you don’t belong to a church, volunteer at a charitable organization that supports a cause you feel passionate about. 

Stay Grateful

People who maintain a persistently grateful mindset tend to exhibit good heart health, sleep well, and have a heightened sense of well-being, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine. “The important thing is to make a commitment to integrating gratitude into your life in a conscious and deliberate way and to make a plan for how you’ll do that,” said Sarah Kopelovich, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. It’s a touchstone that instills emotional resilience and helps you cope more effectively with the ups and downs life throws our way.

Keeping a journal is one good way to actualize your gratitude; try keeping a list of things you’re thankful for, and write about how each one has helped you. If you’re looking for little ways to energize yourself, try spending time with positive individuals who motivate you to stay physically active and pursue new activities.

Finding ways to stay active is key for seniors who want to maintain an enriching lifestyle. Many activities engage both the mind and the body, encouraging a positive mindset that keeps you motivated to stay healthy. Focusing on the things you enjoy will keep you going! 

For more information on the specialized personal training services geared toward seniors, please visit Strongwell.org or contact Jason at jason@strongwell.org.  I hope you find this guest article informative and beneficial for you, a parent, or friend.  Blessings,  Ann

Image courtesy of Pixabay