How Regular Exercise Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s

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Maintaining an active lifestyle offers many benefits. In addition to building strong bones and muscles and a healthier cardiovascular system, physical exercise also benefits cognitive function. Some researchers believe that by incorporating routine activity into their lifestyles, seniors might also be able to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious health concern that can impact your senior loved one’s overall quality of life. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Chandler, Arizona, senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

The American Heart Association reports that older adults who exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times every week reduce the risk of vascular-related dementia by up to 40 percent, and they also lower the chance of developing cognitive impairment by up to 60 percent. The report was based on findings learned by scientists from the University of Lisbon and the Santa Maria Hospital in Portugal. 

The Portugal researchers studied 639 adults who were 60 years of age and older. More than half of the volunteers were female. Nearly 64 percent of the group exercised for 30 minutes three times a week, and they were involved in many different types of physical activity that included cycling, walking, and taking fitness classes. 

The scientists obtained MRI tests before and after the study to monitor any changes in the white matter of the participants. Negative changes are commonly associated with a wide range of issues such as depression, urinary incontinence, and gait disturbances. Cerebral white matter changes also contribute to the vascular conditions that lead to high blood pressure and strokes. 

The study participants were interviewed daily to assess if they experienced any changes in function. By the end of the evaluation period, there was significant cognitive decline in the participants who did not exercise regularly. Ninety seniors developed dementia, out of which 54 had vascular dementia. Another 147 adults developed cognitive difficulties but did not have dementia. Thirty-four members of the group were suspected of having developed Alzheimer’s disease. 

Researchers from various institutions in Scotland studied 638 seniors. The group submitted to MRI testing. The scientists found that seniors who were 70 years of age and lived active lifestyles had less brain shrinkage compared to those who were not as active. Additionally, the hippocampus region of the active seniors also increased slightly. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning. 

A literary review documenting 27 different studies correlated the effects of physical activity and cognitive function in adults 60 years of age and older. Twenty-six of the studies indicated there is a direct link between an increase in physical activity and a decrease in the risk of cognitive decline. 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from professional in-home care. Find out how a Chandler, Arizona, elderly caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping.

Although exercise is commonly thought of as being a traditional workout routine, seniors can also get high-quality aerobic exercise in many other ways. Activities that qualify include brisk walking, housecleaning, and gardening. Whatever type of exercise seniors prefer, the key to maintaining healthy cognitive function requires that activities be performed at least three times each week.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Chandler seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. Call us at 480.448.6215 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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