Looking after your health, particularly as you age, is going to offer all kinds of benefits. You’re going to look at your best, feel at your best, and have more energy to carry on doing the things you love. However, did you know that aerobic exercises could aid the memory part of your brain and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia? What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that’s both progressive and irreversible. It destroys your ability to think and even erases your memories. It also makes it challenging to carry out simple tasks. Out of all dementia types, Alzheimer’s is the most common. What Do We Know About Exercise and Alzheimer’s? What we know so far is that exercise and focusing on fitness can have an impact on your Alzheimer’s risk. A Rush University Medical Center study, among many others, showed that remaining fit and active allowed people to keep more of their cognitive functions, than those who didn’t partake in regular exercise. Even if those people had biomarkers of dementia, they showed signs of better memory and cognitive skills, as well. What About Aerobic Exercise? According to the latest research in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, aerobic exercise can slow down the shrinkage of the memory part of the brain known as the hippocampus.
The study involved two groups of older people with memory issues who were also sedentary, and the goal was to discover whether aerobic exercise improves or prevents neurocognitive function. The researchers would also be working to identify if amyloid buildup or brain atrophy were reduced as a result of aerobic exercise too. One group performed aerobic exercise 4-5 times per week for half an hour. The other group merely worked on flexibility. Both groups showed the same cognitive abilities, but the group that exercised lost less amyloid buildup in the hippocampus. This area deteriorates as dementia takes hold. Researchers already knew that stretching exercises and aerobics could prevent cognitive decline, but they didn’t know that aerobic exercises could reduce hippocampus atrophy. They believe this form of exercise could promote neuron survival and growth and increased vascular function while reducing amyloid plaques’ harmful effects. What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s You may never be able to prevent Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but you can certainly reduce your risk in several ways. As mentioned above, aerobic exercise – and regular exercise – can play a significant role in not only your overall health and fitness but cognitive abilities as well. Remaining socially engaged – so, getting out and about with friends, family, and social groups can also be a factor in your risk reduction. Your eating habits play a part too. Current research shows a link between metabolic conditions and signal processing systems. To possibly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, consider cutting down on sugar, eating more omega-3 fatty acids, and including more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Getting old is inevitable, and you will never be able to ward off all those age-related diseases that come with it. However, with the right lifestyle, you may able to protect your body against conditions that seriously impair your quality of life. Talk to your GP to see whether aerobic exercise and other lifestyle changes could be right for you.