While those who exercise know that the release of endorphins feels good, many do not know that exercise can go as far as helping those suffering from a condition like Alzheimer’s Disease, which accounts for between 50-70% of cases of dementia in Australia.
Now, a new study has revealed even stronger evidence that even moderate exercise can delay the onset of memory loss related to the disease.
“This new study builds on the evidence that people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who are inactive,” Professor Robert Newton, of Edith Cowan University in Perth said.
“A well-managed, ongoing exercise program can improve cognition and memory in people with Alzheimer’s. Our recommendation, then, is to get active now – before you have to deal with such a devastating disease.”
Prof. Newton added, “While there is much we don’t know about the causes of the disease, the risk factors are largely associated with low levels of physical activity.”
Alzheimer’s and heart disease generally have the same risk factors such as reduced physical activity, obesity and conditions such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced glucose tolerance or Type 2 diabetes, as well as a high proportion of body fat compared to muscle mass.
Recommended activity for preventing and managing Alzheimer’s Disease:
* Meet or exceed the following:
1. Continuous or intermittent aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise: 20–60 minutes per session, 3–5 times per week. It is recommended that this exercise is done at 60–90% of your maximum heart rate which is easily estimated as 220 minus your age in years. Examples may include running, walking, tennis, cycling or swimming.
2. Resistance or weight training: aim for 6-8 different types of exercises per session – for each do 6–12 repetitions maximum performed over 3 sets. Try to do 2 or more sessions per week. It is important to exercise all major muscle groups weekly. Examples may include exercising with weights, aqua aerobics or body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges and step ups.
3. Flexibility exercises for major muscle groups: 2–4 sets of each exercise 2–3 times per week. Examples may include yoga, pilates or stretching.
Note: Your total weekly exercise should be two to two-and a half hours, depending on the intensity of your aerobic exercise.
Do you believe exercise can help prevent memory loss and Alzheimer’s?