At first glance the concept of exercising your mind may be seem like a strange one. How does one do it? It’s not like pushups or time on an exercise bike are going to help. At Waterman Village, mental fitness is one of our primary missions. That’s why we created the Brain Wellness Academy for Seniors.
So, just how does a Brain Wellness Academy work? Glad you asked. The idea began at Adventist University. The idea was simple — create a program that helped seniors increase their ability to feel positive and cope with depression, the top mental illness suffered by seniors. The we took the idea and ran with it, creating our own class based on the work done at Adventist.
Waterman Village’s Brain Wellness for Seniors classes are overseen by Coordinator, Coleen Connelly, with the goal of helping teach our residents techniques they can use to improve overall mental health, cognition, social interactions and relationships. Relaxation and balance techniques are mixed with physical exercises that help stimulate the brain. Classes last eight weeks and are limited to 10 people.
There’s a reason the Brain Wellness Academy calls it exercising your mind. It’s been proven that exercise helps improve mental health. Movement of any kind, whether it’s walking the paths around Lake Margaret or a workout at our fitness center, has a relaxing effect on the brain and body due to the release of serotonin.
Waterman Village makes exercise simple for our residents. Our campus consists of The Oaks, the flagship part of our community, which has its own fully equipped fitness center, and the beautiful new Lakeside at Waterman Village, with its new, state-of-the-art fitness center. This brings us back to those pushups and the exercise bike.
Regular exercise is even more important for seniors because it helps maintain healthy brain chemical levels. Take the hippocampus, for example. It’s a part of the brain that plays a central role in learning, memory, emotions and stress. Depression can actually shrink the hippocampus and other parts of the brain over time. Exercise helps reduce stress, replacing it with calmness and relaxation. It also boosts energy levels and reduces muscle tension, another problem faced by many seniors, which can help reduce the risk of falls. Most importantly, it increases blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of dementia. In turn, exercise can also help reduce the need for memory care or assisted living.
Aside from the Brain Wellness Academy, Waterman Village offers all its residents, whether you live at The Oaks or Lakeside, yoga and meditation classes. Both of these are not only good for the mind, but body as well. Additionally, the social life at Waterman Village, from concerts to dining to trips off campus, offer residents the opportunity to socialize with other members of the community. Again, human connection and interaction are both important factors in maintaining good brain health.
And if you like to walk, you couldn’t ask for anyplace better than nearby Mount Dora. Strolling the streets of this quaint community may not seem like exercise because it’s so much fun. There’s always something happening, with festivals held throughout the year, the antique center and flea market, three museums, and wonderful shopping. Again, a walk through the streets of Mount Dora covers two of the important factors in exercising your mind — walking and socialization.
Another good way to get the exercise you need is to head over to the Country Club of Mount Dora, for an afternoon of tennis or golf. Again, doing either of these things meets the need for exercise and socialization, not to mention it’s fun.
Finally, if you prefer to stay on campus, there’s always shuffleboard, a dip in the pool, or even aqua-aerobics classes. And if you’re really feeling ambitious, a session with our personal trainer provides both exercise and socialization. However you choose to do it, Waterman Village delivers the help you need. Whether it’s taking the Brain Wellness Academy class, walking or a good workout, maintaining brain wellness helps make your life fuller and more enjoyable. What could be more important than that?