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Exercise Can Help Reduce the Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

By 2050, more than 100 million people could have Alzheimer’s, dementia or a similar memory loss-related disease. While there’s still no cure, new research shows that exercise helps patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia regain some brain function.

According to a Science magazine study on mice, physical exercise can help “clean up” the Alzheimer’s brain. Exercise allowed new nerve cells in the hippocampus (the part of the brain involved in memory and learning) to start cognitive repair.

exercise tai chi seniors
exercise tai chi seniors

Exercise can create biochemical changes that mend nerve cell health. In the study, active mice had enhanced memory in comparison to inactive mice. (All mice in the study had memory issues that mirrored Alzheimer’s.)

The study provides early proof that a combination of proper diet and a certain amount of exercise could improve cognitive function or possibly stave off Alzheimer’s altogether. Exercise also may help Alzheimer or dementia patients maintain normal day and night routines and boost their mood.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends that people with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions remain physically active for as long as possible. The best type of exercise depends on the individual’s symptoms, fitness level, and overall health. Some suggestions include walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and Tai Chi.
Zack Taylor is an ACSM-Certified Personal Trainer with a B.S. in Exercise Science from Boise State University. In addition to doing personal training and leading group fitness classes, Zack works as a Corrective Exercise Specialist for Zenergy Sports Rehabilitation Clinic.