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As we grow older, it may become more difficult to maintain our physical and mental fitness. But, the very changes that make fitness more difficult also make it more important – which is why in assisted living communities it is important to provide a variety of activities for residents to help with their health – both mental and physical.

Health experts have reported that physical activity improves overall quality of life as we age, and may also extend life expectancy. As we age, our muscles shorten; our bones become more brittle; and our coordination and balance may decrease. Because of these facts, physical activity is recommended as we age to combat these issues.

An assisted living facility should offer a wide range of activities to motivate seniors to get fit, as the benefits of such activities can be great:
• Exercise improves bone density, coordination and balance;
• Stretching can help to lengthen muscles;
• Cardiovascular health problems can be solved with regular fitness routine.

Even with light intensity exercise, health can be improved including mental health. We often associate old age with forgetfulness, but that does not have to be the case. Physical exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which improves our overall mental health. Regular exercise has even been proven to lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Interestingly, there may be no better activity at promoting both the physical and mental well-being of seniors than laughing. Laughing for just ten minutes can burn as many as 40 calories – great for your physical and mental health alike. Laughter can be a secret weapon for your health. Some of its many physical and mental benefits include:

• Stress Relief. Laughter reduces levels of stress-inducing hormone cortisol. It also can increase endorphin levels, boosting your brain with health-promoting hormones. The good feelings from laughing can stay in your system for an entire day;
• When you laugh, blood flow increases throughout the body. Additionally, laughter causes your muscles and joints to flex and stretch, which promotes a healthy body;
• Easing of Pain. Endorphins that enter your blood stream while laughing are the same endorphins that increase your ability to endure and ignore pain. Try to find humor as a way to relieve pain when you are not feeling your best.

For overall health, an assisted living community should be promote regular fitness routines, including, yes, laughter, for all of their residents. Having a wide variety of types of activities can help to encourage everyone to participate in one way or another – and increasing the health of the community as a whole!