Whether you exercise at home or at the gym, some form of physical activity is essential for aging well. We know of the infinite benefits that exercise at home has on physical health, but more and more findings have been emerging as of late to support the idea that exercise at home is just as important for mental health.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Otago has discovered that aging adults can strengthen their mental function and help keep their minds disease-free just by doing regular exercise at home, specifically by doing aerobic exercise at home. This can be anything that gets the heart rate up, such as brisk walking, bicycling, or jogging. Doing this type of exercise at home, even on your own schedule, has been proven to improve working memory, attention, and the ability to move between tasks.
In the study, the older adults with higher fitness levels showed improved results in mental tests when compared to participants who weren’t as fit. The results also proved that aerobic workouts, which can be done through exercise at home, also yielded higher scores on the mental tests in comparison to people who regularly took fitness classes that centered on muscle toning and stretching, like yoga or tai chi.
There were several other key findings from the study. Fitter adults showed a stronger ability to retrieve memories, as well as improved performance in specific tasks, such as stronger attention and decision-making skills when driving. The collective results from the study were most prominent in older adults, as opposed to younger individuals. This further supports the idea that exercise at home can be especially important for the mental health of the aged, whose minds are in danger of slipping as times goes by.
The beauty of aerobics is that it’s perfect for seniors who don’t want to trek to the gym; aerobics is the ideal activity for exercise at home, and it can be just as effective. All it takes is a conscious effort to incorporate at least a half hour of exercise at home everyday.
Engaging in exercise at home can also have an impact on mood, which is important for the mental health of seniors who may be struggling with depression and other mood-related disorders. Aerobics, in particular, increases blood flow to the brain, which influences the body’s physiological response to stress.
Exercise at home has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, while boosting self-esteem and cognitive function. It has also been proven to be an effective tool to improve sleep, sex drive, endurance, stress management, energy, stamina, lethargy, and weight loss.
Exercise at home is a necessary component of aging well. As an aging adult, it can lead to significant improvements in your physical fitness level but also in your mental health. By incorporating exercise at home, you’ll be going strong for years to come.
Sharma, A., et al., “Exercise for Mental Health,” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2006; 8: 106.