25 Oct Stay Active for a Healthy Body and Mind
Written by: Adam Decker, Senior Director of Health and Fitness
By now, we all know that being physically active is important for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing and managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension. We also know that regular exercise has positive effects on mood and outlook. One of the more surprising benefits of physical activity, which science is just beginning to uncover—is that it can actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, and even slow the cognitive decline associated with aging.1
Despite the emerging evidence for all the ways physical activity can improve our health, most people still don’t make it a part of their daily lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 60 percent of older adults do not engage in enough physical activity and exercise to promote maintenance or improvements in their overall cognitive and brain health. In fact, 25 percent of adults get no physical activity at all.2
So why do people find it so difficult to get moving? The most popular reasons tend to be lack of time or simply that they don’t enjoy exercising. In my role as Senior Director of Health and Fitness at Integrace, I have found that there are two keys to making exercise a regular habit:
- Find your motivation. The motivation to engage and maintain an active lifestyle is deeply personal. It varies from person to person. Some people are motivated out of fear of a disease or having to take another medication. Some know it makes them feel better and their everyday life is affected when they don’t exercise. Others may simply use exercise as a healthy way to socialize and engage in positive interactions with friends and family. The important thing is for each person to identify their own personal ‘why’ and be open to adopting new motivations and goals along the way.
- Find your activity. There’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to physical activity. The best way to make exercise a regular, permanent part of your life is to find activities that you enjoy—things that make you feel good. If you think of exercise as a chore, you’ll find reasons to avoid it. Consider whether you prefer solitary walks with your dog, taking part in group exercise classes, or laps around the pool. There are fitness opportunities that fit your individual preferences, schedule and budget—you just have to find them.
As science continues to reveal, many of the physical changes that we typically associate with aging, such as loss of strength and balance, are in fact more related to inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle than simply getting older. It really is a “use it or lose it” situation: the more active you are, the more likely you are to maintain good physical and cognitive health as you age.
At Integrace, we are committed to informing and educating everyone in our circle—patients of our neurocognitive clinic, residents of our communities and their families–about all aspects of wellness. I encourage everyone to find their personal motivation and to seek out the kinds of physical activities they most enjoy. At Integrace, we are constantly adapting our health and fitness programming to continue offering our residents new ways to stay fit or improve their fitness level.
No matter where you are on life’s journey, I encourage you to prioritize your health and well-being, not as another item on your to-do list, but as a way to transform your everyday life.
1Sandoiu, Anna (2018, January 30) Aerobic Exercise May be Key for Alzheimer’s Prevention.
Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320770.php
2Physical Activity and Older Adults. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/