In recent months, research has been published showing that exercise is the “top theoretical treatment” for Alzheimer’s disease, jibing with previous research about how it fights dementia.
Moderate physical activity among mature women helps lower the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia – again supporting the growing body of evidence that says physical exercise is also among our best defenses against losing mental health.
And in February, researchers at the University of South Australia published findings that show exercise is 1.5 times more effective than counseling and top medications in managing depression.
So, just look at these three examples, and ask yourself:
- Would I rather exercise regularly to prevent Alzheimer’s disease – or do nothing?
- Would I rather exercise regularly to improve cognitive ability as I mature – or do nothing
- Would I rather exercise to relieve depression – or rely on pills?
With Mental Health Awareness Month observed every May, it’s a great time to remember all the powerful reasons we must exercise regularly as we continue to mature.
Yes, the physical benefits are important. Exercise keeps us at a healthy weight; manages blood pressure; prevents diabetes; and keeps us strong to function throughout our lifetimes, among many others.
All of that should be enough to get us all moving every day.
But we know it’s not enough for most older adults, who get no regular exercise — even as the US Surgeon General recently declared that loneliness and social isolation are as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
This was made worse by the pandemic. And it’s even more pronounced for people over 50, since many have lost partners, no longer work, and don’t maintain a vibrant social life.
‘Research has shown that loneliness and isolation are linked to sleep problems, inflammation and immune changes in younger adults,” CNN reported. “In older people, they’re tied to symptoms such as pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety and shorter life span. In people of all ages, they may be associated with higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, addiction, suicidality and self-harm, and dementia.”
It all adds up, and the role of fitness can’t be underestimated in maintaining mental health.
“According to the World Health Organization, one in every eight people worldwide (970 million people) live with a mental disorder,” the researchers wrote in Science Daily.
“Poor mental health costs the world economy approximately $2.5 trillion each year, a cost projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030. In Australia, an estimated one in five people (aged 16-85) have experienced a mental disorder in the past 12 months.”
We believe in the power of physical exercise to maintain mental health, brain health, mood, and social interaction.
We believe in all of this because we see it improve the lives of our members every day in ways big and small.
Regular exercise is good for us – body, mind and spirit.
You really don’t need any more research to see that. So don’t wait any longer. Come see us today, and let’s get moving!
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.