Does Exercise Help with Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Two seniors exercising by joggingIn our work with Colorado seniors and their families, one area of concern that often comes up is how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Because so many of the older adults we assist live with some form of dementia, we witness firsthand the toll this devastating disease takes on the entire family. It makes adult children understandably concerned that they will develop Alzheimer’s. That the true cause of the disease is still largely elusive makes prevention a real challenge. One area that early research seems to indicate might hold promise in preventing or delaying the disease is exercise.

Exercise, Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention

The University of Maryland’s School of Public Health conducted a study to explore the role exercise can play as an intervention tool for someone living with a mild cognitive impairment. The project was led by Dr. J. Carson Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology.

Here’s how the study worked:

  • Physically inactive older adults ranging in age from 60-88 years old were divided into two groups.
  • The average participant was 78 years old.
  • One group of participants had no signs of cognitive impairment.
  • The other group had mild cognitive loss.
  • Over a 12-week period both groups participated in regular, supervised treadmill exercise.

By the end of the study both groups had not only improved their cardiovascular fitness by about 10%, but they also saw improvements in both memory recall and brain function. It seems to be just one more piece of evidence that indicates how a healthy lifestyle also can help maintain your brain health.

Just how much exercise was involved in this trial?

The good news is that it is the same amount of exercise most physicians already recommend to their patients: thirty minutes of an exercise that elevates your heart rate five times a week. Walking is one of the best exercises for this.

To learn more, visit Exercise May be the Best Medicine for Alzheimer's on the University of Maryland’s website.

Exercising just 30 minutes per day can be great for the body and the mind. What are some of the activities you do to stay active?

From personal care needs and case management to guardianship concerns, Seniors in Transition provides consulting services to help families turn frustrating health care problems into quality, affordable solutions. Seniors in Transition is here to help families in the Fort Collins, CO and Loveland, CO areas.  Give us a call at 970.204.6977 today.

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