You may know diet and exercise are important parts of maintaining or improving overall physical health but what role can mental health playing in aging into your best selves? According to the World Health Organization and the CDC health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (1).
If you’re already getting enough daily exercise and making healthy nutrition choices then you are well on your way but what can you do to better your mental and social well being?
Exercise Doing Double Duty
As mental health has become a growing concern within our society, researchers have explored the connection between physical activity and the effects exercise can have on these no physical factors. One recent study found that participation in a regular exercise program provided older adults with significant improvements in adaptive emotion regulation and overall emotional well-being (2). They attributed these results to the physiological impact of moderate intensity exercise as well as the social network training programs can create and provide.
A few strategies to implement:
- Make physical activity a regular part of your daily routine
- Find an exercise program that you ENJOY doing whether its classes, group training, or independent exercise
Build a Community and Support Networks
Having a social support network can be an integral part of feeling your best and decreasing stress. Studies have shown that adults who indicated higher levels of support were more likely to have better self-rated health. Building and adapting your social network throughout stages of life is important. More or less you are never too old to make new friends and new connections.
Here are some great ways to meet people or build on connections you already have:
- Participate in group based programs
- Classes or training programs at a gym
- Continuing education classes
- Sports or game leagues
- Reach out to family members or friends you haven’t spoken to recently
- Get involved within your faith based community
- Join groups based on common passions or interests
Blog post by Rebekah Raber.