May 13, 2024

Mental health in older adults – the vital role played by exercise

Supporting mental health in older adults goes beyond clinical care, it’s about providing meaningful experiences through the use of activities such as exercise 


This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme for this year is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health,” so we’re here today to talk about the amazing benefits that physical movement and exercise can have on mental health in older adults. 

It’s certainly no secret that movement and regular exercise is hugely beneficial for mental health, but despite this fact it’s common for people, especially older adults living in care homes, to not get enough exercise.  

There are many reasons why older adults might not be getting the level of exercise that would benefit their mental and physical health. For example, older adults might be suffering from feelings such as isolation, anxiety and lethargy which can potentially reduce their willingness to participate in exercises, or it may be due to physical diminishing that they feel might lead to getting hurt or falling if they try to exercise.  

But taking part in appropriate exercises that are specifically tailored to the abilities and needs of older adults can have a transformative effect not just on their physical health but their mental health too. And in many cases, the two are interlinked and often an improvement in one with lead to an improvement in the other. 

When it comes to mental health in older adults, exercises can help to reduce feelings of stress, depression, isolation and can lead to feelings of accomplishment and improved confidence and independence. For example, Pilates can help boost wellbeing and mindfulness, and exercise can be hugely beneficial to people with dementia, and it can also help in the prevention of falls.  

In terms of improved mental health in older adults, exercise goes a long way to providing the level of care for residents that makes the difference between living and just existing; a care home should be an environment where residents feel contented, supported and inspired to make new memories, take on new challenges and feel part of a community. 

Many exercise routines, like the expert-created ones available on the Oomph! On-Demand Wellbeing & Activities Platform, can also improve mental health in older adults because they can be done in groups, which helps to strengthen the feeling of community and connection between residents but also between residents and staff.  


Ideas for exercises that boost mental health in older adults 

Below we’ve listed just some of the exercise and movement activities that are available on the On-Demand Platform that have been developed in collaboration with our partners. These are just some of the hundreds of exercise activities that can help to boost physical and mental health. The ideas include: 

Couch to 1k 

Our Couch to 1k exercise routines helps residents to build confidence and work towards walking 1 kilometre. In this series of 10-minute videos, residents can get stronger, healthier and feel more confident when walking and moving in general.  


Seated Dance Routine 

The Seated Dance Routines allows residents to follow along and get moving to some familiar songs from the 70s and take part in an invigorating seated workout routine that is the perfect way to shake up the day and get residents energised and feeling happy.  


Pilates with Ruth 

The sessions in this series focus on different levels of exercise, including basic and more advanced movements as well as low-impact exercises, all designed to boost flexibility and mobility as well as feelings of mindfulness and better mental health.  


Move with Stefan: Boxing 

Join our fitness expert Stefan for an energetic, boxing-inspired, chair-based exercise session that will improve fitness and energy levels for those living in care homes.  


Move with Stefan: Football Exercise Plan 

Another of the Move with Stefan series, the Football Exercise Plan means residents don’t have to get out onto the field to enjoy a kick around! This exciting, seated football themed exercise plan can be done in groups or individually and is a fun way to get residents moving and having fun. 


Full Body Mobility - Relaxation 

In collaboration with our partner Sensory Alliance, this session promotes mobility and relaxation, helping residents to enjoy meaningful and mindful experiences whilst also boosting their independence by helping them to stay more active and mobile. This not only helps with their mental health but means they can build up flexibility and strength to ensure they are not as susceptible to falls.  


Enjoying Mindful Walks 

This session allows residents to explore all five of their senses to promote emotional wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing by getting out in nature and enjoying a relaxing, low-impact form of exercise that will help them maintain a connection to the world around them.  


Get moving during Mental Health Awareness Week with Oomph! 

These are just some of the amazing exercise activities available on the On-Demand platform. There are over 3,000 activities that cover a vast range of topics, all created by experts and proven to boost the quality of life for those living and working in care.  

To find out more about the activities available and how the On-Demand platform can transform the quality of life in your care home, click here to book a consultation and speak with one of our experts.  

May 13, 2024

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