Exercise is extremely important for seniors, but some may not realize the benefits of certain physical activities also extend to mental wellbeing. Anchorage home care experts discuss 5 ways your elderly loved one can exercise his or her brain and body simultaneously.
1. Go Bird Watching
Watching birds is an excellent hobby that can challenge seniors mentally and physically without overwhelming them. Spending time outside to track or photograph birds can provide your loved one with vitamin D while slightly bringing his or her heart rate up. Identifying the birds constantly stimulates the brain and can create new neural pathways to fight diseases like Alzheimer’s.
2. Start a Garden
According to the CDC, gardening for 2 to 3 hours a week can reduce a person’s risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Even though gardening is a low-impact activity, it exercises many of the major muscle groups, including the arms, legs, shoulders, and core. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found gardening also reduces stress and increases mental clarity.
3. Be a Volunteer Guide
Volunteer opportunities in national parks and other nonprofit organizations are extremely popular among the senior population. These positions provide volunteers with a sense of purpose while challenging their brain and body. Those who have limited mobility might benefit from low-impact jobs like becoming a field director or working an information kiosk.
4. Take a Walking Tour
Applying to be a volunteer isn’t the only way for your loved one to explore national parks, museums, and other popular attractions. Walking tours are designed to be as accessible as possible for visitors of all ages, but brisk walks still count toward a senior’s weekly exercise goals. These tours often include exciting information about local historical and cultural destinations that can test your loved one’s memory and analytical skills.
5. Learn to Dance
We all know dancing is physically challenging, but research shows us it can be great for cognitive health as well. A recent study conducted at Minot State University revealed seniors who took 12 weeks of Zumba classes experienced better decision-making skills, memory, and visual recognition. One of the leading theories is that dance boosts mental health by activating multiple areas of the brain at once.
If your loved one needs more exercise and mental stimulation in his or her life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Alzheimer’s and dementia care Anchorage, AK, families trust, and our caregivers can assist with mobility, exercise, transportation, and much more. Call (907) 770-0907 today to speak with a qualified Care Manager.