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Exercise to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 28, 2010 at 8:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Exercise to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

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According to the current statistics, over five million people in America are suffering from Alzheimers disease. With the rise in obesity, that number is expected to increase at an alarming rate within the next few years. The connection between the devastating disease and a sedentary lifestyle could not be clearer, and is causing more and more people to be proactive in their prevention efforts. At the top of the list of things that you can do to lower your risks for Alzheimer's is exercise.

Exercise and Alzheimer's

The Mayo Clinic has stated that exercise is still the best way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Yet, it is surprising to learn how many people continue to avoid physical activity on a regular basis. Besides Alzheimer's, movement can protect you against other conditions, including diabetes, stroke, and heart-related illnesses. As we age, it is very common to experience occasional memory loss or slowed thinking processes at some point. However, there is a major difference between the normal aging symptoms and the symptoms of Alzheimer's. In patients with Alzheimer's, the memory loss is much more severe, causing them to become confused and disoriented. These events are signs of damaged or destroyed brain cells. In our brain, each of the billions of nerve cells have a job that is necessary for our everyday functions: thinking, hearing, smelling, etc. People with Alzheimer's are progressively losing certain numbers of cells, resulting in the inability to perform tasks they once did. Also, the condition gets worse with age and is fatal, with no known cure. Through various studies, it has been shown that exercising is the key to reducing the amount of plaque buildup between nerve cells that has been linked to Alzheimer's. The plaque is responsible for interfering with normal brain activity and cell deterioration. By slowing down the disease's development, the brain can function at optimal levels during aging.

Which Type of Exercise is Most Effective?

Aerobic activity and other types of exercises that raise your heart rate are recommended in Alzheimer's prevention. Performing them for 30 minutes at a time and several times each week can keep your brain healthy and strong. The good news is that the exercises themselves are easily done around your schedule and do not require any equipment. Try running in place, walking, or jogging up and down stairs. Riding an exercise bicycle and using a treadmill are other options that have similar effects. Start slowly and do not overload your body with too much at first. It might be helpful to begin with 10 to 15 minute sessions and gradually build up to the full 30 minutes. Or, you can split the times up throughout the day if it is more convenient. Check with your physician to learn more about your individual fitness level and the way that exercise can improve your life. Future predictions estimate that one out of every eight people will soon have Alzheimer's, placing even more emphasis on the need for physical activity. Beyond diets or supplements, exercising remains the most powerful form of defense, and a consistent fitness program is your ultimate weapon.

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers/MY00002

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_figures.asp

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