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FitOn HealthJanuary 293 min read

The Link Between Physical Activity and Senior Mental Health

Whether you’re aware of it or not, there's a special link between how you move and how you feel. Physical activity isn't separate from your overall well-being - it’s a critical piece of the puzzle. From boosting your mood to calming your stress, moving your body has benefits that go way beyond just getting fit. Physical activity can directly impact mental health, leading your people to a mentally healthier lifestyle and even potentially prevent mental health problems. 

In this article, we’ll explore the link between physical activity and senior mental health, to discover how you can better support your population with fitness as a cornerstone for a happier, healthier aging journey.

Addressing loneliness: A silent struggle among seniors

When it comes to senior mental health, loneliness and isolation are widely prevalent due to various factors within the aging process - loss of loved ones, retirement or moving away, and limited social interactions. In fact, a recent study found that more than 1/3 of adults ages 50 to 80 report feelings of isolation, which can have negative implications on both physical and mental health.

As mentioned in our Mental Resilience Guide, there are several key factors for Medicare providers seeking to support the mental health of their senior members to consider:

  • Decreased Mobility: Age-related physical health issues, such as reduced mobility or chronic conditions, can limit older adults' ability to engage in social activities and maintain an active lifestyle. 
  • Technological Barriers: With technology increasingly intertwined with social connections, seniors unfamiliar with or lacking access to digital tools may struggle to stay socially connected.
  • Stigma of Loneliness: Societal expectations often contribute to the stigma associated with loneliness. Older adults may feel hesitant to admit feelings of loneliness, leading to a reluctance to seek help or express their emotions.
  • Loss of Purpose: Retirement and shifting roles can result in a loss of purpose and identity for some seniors.
  • Cultural and Demographic Factors: Factors such as living arrangements, cultural expectations, and societal attitudes toward aging can impact the extent to which individuals experience loneliness. 

Tips to help seniors build social connections through physical activity

By offering a health and wellness platform built for today’s modern senior – you can provide whole-health solutions to help your members get more active and connect with friends and family. Here are a few ways implementing a health and wellness platform can support seniors facing loneliness:

  • Group Fitness Classes: Provide access to local fitness class experiences geared toward seniors to encourage both physical activity and social engagement.
  • Walking Groups: Facilitate or encourage participation in walking groups, fostering exercise and community.
  • On-Demand Well-Being Classes: Provide access to on-demand well-being resources, including personalized workouts, meditation sessions, and nutrition guidance, accessible from the comfort of home to promote physical and mental wellness.
  • Digital Community: Establish an online community where seniors can connect, share goals, update progress, and bond over shared interests, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual support.

Download our free guide Mindful Motion: A Guide to Mental Resilience to learn more about the power of physical activity in combating loneliness and boosting mental health.

How health and wellness programs can support seniors facing loneliness

Health and wellness platforms have emerged as powerful tools for supporting senior mental health. With a comprehensive suite of digital and in-person experiences, FitOn Health offers a holistic approach to well-being tailored specifically for older adults. Whether you're looking to break a sweat in a virtual fitness class, connect with like-minded individuals in a community forum, or cultivate mindfulness through guided meditation, FitOn Health has your people covered.

Schedule a demo to see what FitOn Health can do for your members.

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