Movement could be the new mantra of maturity. As one ages, staying active helps maintain strength, flexibility, and mobility. Exercise increases blood flow that helps stimulate one’s brain, with circulation that is critical to maintain optimal brain function – including memory. No matter where you are in life, incorporating activity that you love into your routine in a variety of ways is likely to give you purpose and make life more meaningful. When you are engaging in enjoyable activities, it’s easy to imagine that life is also more comfortable, and more fulfilling.
What Being Active Means (it might be more than you think)
When most people think of being active, they automatically think exercise. That is not always the case – although exercise is always an option. You can be active by being socially, physically, spiritually and mentality involved, all of which are equally as important. A drive with friends, visit to church, guided meditation or a game of checkers all count as activity! Furthermore, many people find that engaging in activity with community and peers increases the cumulative impact of staying active.
Deciding to Thrive; What Activities Matter Most
Activities that address one or more of five principles – physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive – are fundamental to creating and maintaining the whole health of an individual. Doing what you love always paves the path to long-term sustainability. Particularly as one ages, it’s important that you are engaging in activities planned around your passions to experience purpose, enjoyment, and a sense of happiness. For later in life, a robust slate of physical activities offered at senior centers and long-term care communities help individuals laugh and stay limber in a social environment. From chair yoga to “fishing” with magnets (just like at a country fair), to trivia, art, and music, professional planners focus on making elders feel connected.
How the Brain and Body Work as One
Most of us have approached a workout or a lunch date with dread… sometimes it’s easier to just stay home. And if you went anyway, many of us have experienced feeling less stuck and more grateful afterward. Activity gives you a better mindset; it can lower our stress and anxiety and prepare you for other tasks in your day. When you stay actively involved in things you enjoy, you are using your brain as well as your muscles. Staying active helps encourage overall health and helps an individual take on the day with purpose.
Staying active helps one thrive, particularly when one engages in activities with peers in a safe environment. Older adults stay strong and flexible by moving, and alert by challenging their minds. After a lifetime of hard work, remembering to take time for passion and play is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
Vicky Parra Tebbetts is a freelance writer who loves all things Vermont. She writes on behalf of Mayo Healthcare, a locally owned nonprofit located in Northfield, Vermont, offering residential care, expert rehabilitation, and skilled nursing services. MayoHC.org, 802.485.3161.