Everyone knows how important it is to keep active for our physical health, but studies are now showing even more far-reaching health benefits – namely, a diminished risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. The explanation for the connection is uncertain, but there are two theories under consideration about the benefits of exercise on the brain:
- Physical activity prevents the forming of the plaques and tangles linked with Alzheimer’s, or
- It encourages cognitive resilience, the ability for the brain to continue to perform regardless of the brain damage brought on by the disease.
An interesting study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The seniors committed, over the course of their lives, to undergo a number of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and to donate brain as well as other tissue after death. Those conducting the research focused specifically on the seniors’ final two years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Scientists analyzed brain tissue from the participants to identify indications of Alzheimer’s, as well as other kinds of brain disease and damage. Nearly across the board, at least one form of brain damage or disease was discovered; however, factoring in higher amounts of regular exercise contributed to improved cognitive function – giving support to the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Since the research team zeroed in on the participants’ final two years of life, it’s not clear whether a lifetime of exercising had an impact on these outcomes, nor does it take into account the point that those with an increased degree of cognitive functioning might have corresponded to a naturally higher level of regular exercise. Nevertheless, the study yields encouraging data to help further support the benefits of endorsing exercise all through aging.
We’d love to help the seniors you love start up the new year with a restored focus on improving physical fitness levels! Our fully trained and experienced caregivers can help in a variety of ways, such as:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to begin a brand-new exercise regime
- Accompanying seniors to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out at the gym
- Inspiring and motivating seniors to maintain higher amounts of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing wholesome meals to supply seniors with the energy necessary to stay active
- And so much more!
Connect with Grace Home Care, providers of expert dementia care in Topeka, at 785-286-2273 to arrange a complimentary in-home assessment and see how we can help make 2020 the very best year yet for an older adult you love!