Physical activity is the simple, affordable, natural key to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Exercise keeps your body fit, your mind clear, helps you eliminate toxins, regenerate your cells, strengthens the muscles and in less words, keeps you as young and as restless as you want to be.
A large number of studies have focused on the importance of physical activity before one develops Alzheimer’s. We all know that it is better to prevent than to treat, but Alzheimer’s is a sneaky affection that can take over unexpectedly and leave us regretting our lack of attention and care and most of all, lack of exercise that could have helped us live a healthier life. Recent studies have revealed that Alzheimer’s could be treated through exercise, even after definitive diagnosis. There are two major studies that have managed to highlight the important insight.
The Alzheimer’s conference held in July 2015 offered experts the chance to reveal encouraging news about the benefits of exercise. Physical activity performed post Alzheimer’s diagnosis, meaning moderate to high intensity workouts may not only slow down the biological symptoms of the disease, but more importantly, may lead to improvements in cognitive functions.
This conclusion came as a most revealing answer to a study involving 200 people with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s. Experts randomly assigned a number of participants to an hour of exercise three times a week for 16 weeks. After phase-in period, the study subjects involved were working out at a moderate to intense level, achieving 70 to 80% of their maximum heart rate for half of each session. After the intense physical training programs, exercisers showed fewer symptoms. Levels of anxiety were decreased, changes in mood and depression were reported with low to insignificant levels as well. Participants with milder disease who had an exercising routine performed better on intellectual skills after 16 weeks.
Another study showed considerable benefits of work-out routines in people who suffered from mild cognitive vascular impairment or “silent strokes”, defined by small lesions of damage in the brain. This cognitive dysfunction may lead to dementia later in life. The study involved 71 subjects, aged 50 to 96, who did moderate intensity walking for an hour, three times a week. This simple yet efficient routine leads to better cognitive function, such as memory and attention. After six months and comparison to those who are used to living a sedentary life, the differences were clear. Those who keep a good workout routine can improve their cognitive functions and the general conclusion is that exercise may minimize the progression of silent strokes into dementia, later in life.
Dementia cannot be reversed with regular exercise but its development may be halted considering we keep a good and steady workout routine. In the case of Alzheimer’s the findings are similar. Cognitive diseases cannot be cured through physical activity but both dementia and Alzheimer’s can be curbed through exercise.
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