In middle adulthood, there are many changes and challenges that occur as we continue through the lifespan.
In middle adulthood, there are many changes and challenges that occur as we continue through the lifespan. Broderick and Blewitt (2020) explain that as we age the need for healthy coping evolves and alters throughout the lifespan in order to manage the losses in order to continue to grow. Two actions that a middle-aged person can do to help increase or maintain their quality of life is to involve themselves in a physical exercise program and mental stimulation activities. Horn and Freund (2021) explain that the lifespan developmental theory infers that the occurrence of gain- and loss-related experiences transforms systematically across the adulthood stages. Throughout adulthood, it is important to keep physically healthy, often people are able to exercise within their social circle. Exercise has many benefits for the physical body, but also helps with mental health. Matud and Diaz (2020) state that although people know the advantages of exercise, a small proportion of older adults exercise regularly which mental health is sensitive to exercise and can help reduce anxiety and depression.
As we advance through middle adulthood, people begin to recognize the “time left to live” and continue to accumulate losses which increases the stress for middle aged adults (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). Remaining physically active is known to reduce stress and alleviate depression symptoms. Lee et al (2018) have proven that participating in leisure activities and utilizing exercise for physical activity reduces the risks for suffering from depression and encouraging participation in social activities will help to reduce the rate of depression. Maintaining the ability to be social while in the middle age stage is very difficult. Broderick and Blewitt (2020) explain many of the factors that cause stress such as being the sandwich generation of caring for children and parents. Other challenges that Broderick and Blewitt discuss are the physical and cognitive changes that happen as we age. Remaining active physically and mentally is important to keep our bodies and minds stimulated to try and reduce atrophy that occurs within muscles and the brain. Engaging in physical and leisure activities prove to be beneficial in helping reduce stress as well as keeping the mind sharp and helping with memory. Broderick and Blewitt (2020) discuss the need for cognitive training and stimulation through informal activities and hobbies, like reading, knitting, crossword puzzles, and physical activities prevent and slow worsening symptoms with cognitive decline. The brain needs to be exercised, just like the physical body. We all have to “use it or lose it”, a phrase I have heard but it is unclear who to give credit for coming up with the saying.
Keeping physically, mentally, and socially active is beneficial, especially as we age and go through changes and challenges in our life span that cause stress. Being able to rely on supports that are healthy will help when people need to overcome changes and challenges that seem daunting when facing the challenges during middle age.
Broderick, P. C. & Blewitt, P. (2020). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. (5th ed.). Pearson.
Horn, S. S., & Freund, A. M. (2021). How do gain and loss incentives affect memory for intentions across adulthood? The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 76(4), 711-721. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa140
Lee, H. Y., Yu, C. P., Wu, C. D., & Pan, W. C. (2018). The effect of leisure activity diversity and exercise time on the prevention of depression in the middle-aged and elderly residents of Taiwan. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(4), 654. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040654
Matud, M. P., & Díaz, A. (2020). Gender, exercise, and health: A life?course cross?sectional study. Nursing & Health Sciences, 22(3), 812-821. https://doi.org/10.1111/nhs.12736
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