Time to break out the sweatbands and gym shoes!
Physical exercise has long been recommended as an important component of healthy living. The benefits are many: it can help you lose extra weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and improve your mental health. Now, research shows that exercise, specifically aerobic activities, can even be an effective way of both staving off Alzheimer’s and treating the disease once it develops.
A meta-analysis conducted by the University of Connecticut Department of Kinesiology looked at 19 studies to find the effects of exercise on cognitive function in adults with an average age of 77. Of the 1,125 study participants, 65 percent had mild cognitive impairment, 1 percent had a parent with Alzheimer’s, and 35 percent had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
They were divided into three groups; those who did only aerobic exercise, those who did a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training, and those who did not do any exercise at all. They were given cognition tests both before and after the study to measure any changes in brain function.
The results found that the participants who did no exercise at all had a noticeable decline in cognitive function at the end of the studies. Those who did a combination of aerobics and strength training showed some increase. Surprisingly, those who only did aerobic exercises had three times the cognitive improvement than those who also did strength training.
So, how can you reap the rewards of exercise? The World Health Organization recommends for those over 65 to get 2.5 hours a week of moderate exercise such as walking, or 75 minutes per week of more vigorous activity, such as jogging, aerobics, swimming, tennis, or riding an exercise bike. In addition to exercise, limiting your intake of sugar and saturated fats, keeping socially active, and remaining mentally active can help brain health.
Learn more in the video below!