Exercise to Prevent Alzheimer's

As part of our commitment to keeping our readers updated on the latest research and findings on Alzheimer’s disease, we are sharing a study from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. While exercise is known to be a critical factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is growing evidence to indicate it may also be good for the brain.

Exercise May Be Linked to Improved Brain Health

The study by Dr. J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is the first research trial to demonstrate how exercise can be used as an intervention technique for older adults who live with a mild cognitive impairment.

The trial showed that exercise not only improves memory recall but also improved brain function. Physically inactive older adults ranging in age from 60-88 years old were divided in to two groups. The average age of study participants was 78. One group was comprised of older adults living with mild cognitive impairment and the other with normal, healthy brain function. Each group followed a 12-week program of regular treadmill walking. Exercise was supervised by a personal trainer.

By the end of the study, both groups had improved their cardiovascular fitness by about ten percent. They also improved their memory performance and showed improvements in neural efficiency when involved in memory retrieval tasks.

The Bottom Line on Exercise for Alzheimer’s Prevention

The bottom line is that the amount of exercise participants engaged in during the trial isn’t overly aggressive. It is the same recommendation most physicians are already making to patients. That is, you should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise (that which raises your heart rate but allows you to maintain a conversation) five days a week.

Just one more reason to lace up your sneakers and head out for a walk each day!

 

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