Mental well-being through exercise: Does exercising improve mental well-being?

Primary tabs

Does exercising improve mental well-being?

Question

I remember reading somewhere that exercising is good for the mind as well as the body. I’ve never done much exercise. What exercises can I do to start getting into a healthier mindset?

Our answer

Not only does exercising improve strength, balance and flexibility, but it can also increase feelings of positivity and mental well-being. The Canadian Psychological Association’s article, ’Psychology Works’ Fact Sheet: Physical Activity, Mental Health, and Motivation, outlines some of the benefits exercising provides, including: preventing depression and anxiety disorders, reducing day-to-day stress, increasing self-esteem, and improving sleep quality. The article also provides on how to get started and stay motivated.

It is highly recommended you consult with a registered healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regime.

If you’re mobile, walking has numerous health benefits and can be an effective, low-intensity exercise for seniors. 8 Science-Backed Health Benefits to Walking for Seniors, on The Caregiver Space website, describes some of the benefits of walking, such as boosts to cardiovascular health and a senior’s immune system.

If mobility is an issue for you, you may want to explore chair exercises as an alternative to traditional exercise regimes. Chair exercises are designed to be easier and less intensive, and may reduce some of the hazards of balance and weakness for seniors. Many seniors centres and recreation centres offer group chair exercise classes.

If you prefer to exercise on your own, you might check out 10 Chair Exercises for Seniors, on the VeryWell Fit website, which describes a way to gently introduce physical activity for seniors so as to help circulation, flexibility, balance and overall well-being.

The British Columbia Falls and Injury Prevention Coalition offers three levels for their Strategies and Actions for Independent Living (SAIL) Home Activity Program. These three levels of activities may be done sitting, standing or moving and promote health and well-being.

The Seniors Store has many exercise products to begin a gentle workout regime for seniors. Products such as cuff weights, resistance bands, and soft weights are available and provide small amounts of weight and resistance. These products start at about $10 (Cdn), plus shipping fees. Larger pharmacies and other large retailers often sell these types of products.

If you still can’t find what you're looking for, please ask us a question.