Research Shows Exercise Not Only Helps a Senior’s Body, But Also Their Brain

June 4th, 2015 by John Wilson

Get exercise with senior care services.

Senior care services offer beneficial exercise options.

Seniors who want to improve their brain function can get a little help from exercise. Research shows exercising your body can also benefit your brain. If you have an aging parent in senior care services in OKC who likes to walk, swim or jog, you’ll want to praise their efforts since their actions are positively impacting the health of their brain physically, mentally and emotionally. Exercise may also benefit the brain health of seniors with slowing brain disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

How Does Exercise Help Your Brain?

For years, we’ve known about the benefits of aerobic exercise on the body. Now research reveals getting our heart rate up helps our brains as well. Here are some of the benefits this produces:

Blood Flow to the Brain Is Increased by Exercise

Research shows even if you are sedentary or an older adult in assisted living in Oklahoma City, by exercising, you’ll increase more blood flow to your brain. According to Dr. Judy Cameron, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, exercising increases the oxygen to your brain and gives it more of the nutrition it needs. This also helps improve mental reasoning and memory.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Losing sleep when we get older can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Increasing your exercise can help you fall asleep more quickly and get a good night’s rest since it also helps you sleep more deeply.

Exercise Helps Alleviate Depression and Anxiety

Getting your elderly parent to take part in a senior care services exercise program is more important than ever. When you exercise, studies have shown this increases the production of a multitude of chemicals in your brain and invigorates your central nervous system. The effect on your brain and body help with feelings of depression and anxiety.

New Brain Cells Are Generated to Help Protect Your Brain

According to Dr. Cameron, exercising stimulates certain genes that protect neurons, resulting in producing proteins that serve to protect brain cells from damage. This is important because we are exposed to harmful environmental chemicals, sometimes on a daily basis, which can be damaging to our brain cells. Exercising has a protective impact on our brain cells to help combat this effect. Exercise also helps to produce new neurons, as well as glial cells that help support, protect and insulate your brain’s infrastructure. In studies, when older adults were tested, the most important benefit seen was in the production of these protective cells.

How Much Exercise Is Enough for Older Brain Health?

Actually, it’s a little easier to benefit your brain with exercise than your body. Research shows even minor movement is beneficial. If your loved one in senior care services in OKC isn’t able to do any vigorous exercise, they can still benefit with smaller goals, such as walking down the hall periodically or getting up now and then. It’s important to just keep moving. If a senior can increase their movement, this can yield improvements in protecting their brain.

If you are looking for quality assisted living in Oklahoma City for your senior, contact us. At Village at Oakwood, we offer a variety of services, including exercise programs, to help your loved one improve their quality of life.

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