senior man in wheelchair enjoying listening to music as he looks at his smartphone
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Why Exercise Makes Us Feel Better

Exercise has been linked to longevity.   Studies have found that exercise reduces rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lowers blood pressure.  Exercise also improves our mood and can reduce depression.  There is a scientific reason for this.   When our muscles are used, they release chemicals into the bloodstream, including proteins called myokines.  Myokines have been referred to as “hope chemicals”.

When myokines travel to the brain, they act as an antidepressant.  When these proteins cross the blood-brain barrier, they improve our mood, increase our ability to learn, and protect the brain from the effects of aging.

The link between exercise and depression has been studied widely in children and teenagers.  Girls that participate in team sports in high school and college have higher self-esteem.  They also experience less episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide.  The elderly can experience depression related to life stage changes – loss of function, loss of friends and family, and retirement.

Smiling senior man with mountain bike

The benefits of exercise hold true for all ages, but the elderly may benefit the most from exercise.  In addition to preventing chronic disease and improving mood, there are additional benefits from exercise.  Exercise can help us remain safely at home.  Exercise has been proven to maintain cognitive function and reduce the likelihood of developing dementia.  Also, as we age, we lose muscle mass, bone density, and our balance worsens – exercise counteracts these changes.  Improved balance and strength prevent falls.  Exercise improves overall quality of life by making it easier to participate in hobbies like gardening, play with grandchildren, and basic things like using the toilet.  SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers can help assist with exercise and a wide range of daily activities.