Clients with Executive Function challenges due to ADHD benefit from regular sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise. While everyone generally benefits from these, clients with ADHD need to integrate these three patterns into their lives to ensure a solid baseline, which then provides support for all other activities in their lives.
Exercise also has a tremendous benefit for older people who may feel that their lives have less purpose and engage less in physical activity.
A recent article describes a new study on how physical exercise promotes a sense of purpose in life, which in turn impacts how much we exercise, resulting in a positive cycle.
“The study, which involved more than 18,000 middle-aged and older men and women, found that those with the most stalwart sense of purpose at the start were the most likely to become active over time, and vice versa.”
“Science already offers plenty of evidence that being active bolsters our mental, as well as physical, health. Study after study shows that men and women who exercise are less likely than the sedentary to develop depression or anxiety. Additional research indicates that the reverse can be true, and people who feel depressed or anxious tend not to work out.”
“But most of these studies examined connections between exercise and negative moods. Fewer have delved into positive emotions and their links with physical activity, and fewer still have looked at the role of a strong sense of purpose and how it might influence whether we move, and the other way around.”
“People who started off with active lives generally showed an increasing sense of purpose over the years, and those whose sense of purpose was sturdier in the beginning were the most physically active years later.”
“Having a firm sense of purpose at one point in people’s lives was linked, later, with the equivalent of taking an extra weekly walk or two. But the associations were consistent and remained statistically significant, even when the researchers controlled for people’s weight, income, education, overall mental health and other factors.”
“‘It was especially interesting to see these effects in older people,’ Dr. Yemiscigil says, ‘since many older people report a decreasing sense of purpose in their lives, and they also typically have low rates of engagement in physical activity.'”
According to Dr. Yemiscigil, “‘People often report more self-efficacy’ after they take up exercise, she says, which might prompt them to feel capable of setting new goals and developing a new or augmented purpose in life. And from the other side, ‘when you have goals and a sense of purpose, you probably want to be healthy and live long enough to fulfill them.’ So, cue exercise, she says.”
Elaine Korngold, LPC, at Ask Counseling, LLC, in Oregon offers individual therapy specializing in ADHD Counseling and Life Transitions – working with older adults. Book your free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more.