Maintaining Mental and Physical Health

Combining both mental and physical exercises into a daily routine can help seniors live a coveted healthy lifestyle. Finding the right balance between mental and physical health activities can help seniors achieve have a great life in their older years.

Mental Health

Mental exercise is incredibly important for seniors. By conducting mental exercise activities, seniors can relieve stress, find relaxation, and improve and maintain mental health.

One mental exercise activity that seniors can try is using mental imagery. Seniors can use mental imagery to relieve stress and relax the body and mind. There are also many books available (such as those available at public libraries) about meditation and other mental relaxation techniques.

Seniors can try a variety of these to see which one works best for them. Seniors can also try other activities to help stimulate their brain. Challenging the brain every day can help improve their mental health and their memory. The following activities can help stimulate the brain and improve mental health:

• Do word puzzles - A variety of word puzzles can help to keep the brain sharp.

• Try jigsaw puzzles - Jigsaw puzzles are great because they combine physical motion with mental stimulation. They can also be a form of relaxation and meditation.

• Read and retell stories - Seniors can choose a fictional story of their choice and then retell the story to someone. This is a fun activity that stimulates the brain, through the immersive activity of reading, and can also improve memory and recall when the story is retold.

• Try arts and crafts - Like jigsaw puzzles, arts and crafts can stimulate the brain while helping to maintain the dexterity of fingers. Arts and crafts can also make great gifts to give to friends and family which may be fun for seniors.

These are just a few activities that seniors can try to improve mental health. There are also a variety of other ways to help improve and maintain mental health.

 

Physical Health

Physical health, just like mental health, is incredibly important for seniors. To help maintain physical health, seniors can try activities like the ones below.

• Finger Stretching - With your left hand palm down, use your right hand to slowly pull your left fingers back toward the ceiling. Then, repeat with the other hand.

• Ankle Rotation - With legs crossed, rotate the foot of the top leg. Then, repeat this with the other leg.

• Neck Extension - Facing forward, move only your head so you are looking as far left as you can. Then, repeat this movement looking toward the right. Now, move your head so you are looking at the ceiling. Then, bring your head down so you are looking at your feet.

• Single-Knee Pull - While lying down on your back or sitting in a chair, take both hands and cup one kneecap. Then, pull that leg towards your chest. Then, repeat the movement with your other leg.

• Back Stretch - Facing forward with arms spread to your sides, twist so you are facing your right. Then, twist so you are facing your left.

For these exercises, you should repeat each five times a day when you first start. As you progress, you may feel comfortable increasing repetitions. If you are increasing repetitions, do so cautiously until you find a comfortable level.

 

Improving Mental and Physical Health

Above are just a few ways to improve mental and physical health. For more tips and information for seniors, check out our Health Library.

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