Physically Active Women Over 50 Are Mentally Healthier

By on November 13, 2020
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With coronavirus cases rising, physical activity is as important as ever for the physical and mental health benefits it delivers. Researchers ranked states according to the percentage of adults who are physically active. The correlation between the physically active states and the mentally healthy states is very apparent, and it is for good reason.

Despite a growing interest in health awareness, COVID-19 led to a sharp, immediate decline in physical activity throughout the US. Quarantines forced the closures of gyms and more time on the sofa binge-watching. A recent study by the American College of Physicians using fitness trackers found that the average daily step counts were down 15 percent within two weeks of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic. Globally, the average number of steps taken per day decreased by 27.3 percent within a month. As Americans settled into the new normal of COVID-19, people living in areas with convenient outdoor access, and who embrace new at-home fitness technologies, are more likely to maintain high levels of activity in the months ahead.

Mental Benefits to being physically active

In addition to the long-term benefits of regular physical activity such as weight management and reduced health risks, physical activity produces immediate benefits to our brains. Adults can experience reduced short-term feelings of anxiety, and children benefit from improved thinking and cognition. Physical activity also lowers the risk of childhood obesity, which according to the CDC, is related to depression, low self-esteem, and stigma in addition to high blood pressure, respiratory issues, diabetes, and other health problems.

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Which States have the most active women

Researchers analyzed recent CDC data to find the most physically active cities in the United States. Apparent in their findings was a strong correlation between physical activity among adults and both physical and mental health.

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Income and physical activity levels

Researchers also compiled median household income and poverty rate data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey for all locations. When comparing income and poverty data to the CDC’s health data, cities with higher median incomes reported higher rates of physical activity. Additionally, higher poverty rates correlated with lower reported rates of physical activity.physically active

Location and levels of physical activity

Geographically, Mountain and Western states have the highest percentage of physically active adults. Utah and Colorado leading the way at 81.5 percent and 81.3 percent of the population being physically active. The states with the lowest percentage of physically active adults are primarily in the South. Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama are all reporting rates lower than 70 percent. In Mississippi, only 62.3 percent of adults report being physically active, the lowest percentage in the country.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. It promotes all kinds of good chemical reactions in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns. These chemical reactions promote feelings of calm and well-being. Being physically active causes a release of endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.

Exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

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Physically Active Women Over 50 Are Mentally Healthier