Work Out and Worry Less about Alzheimer’s
By Anna Soref, Editor in Chief
As I get closer to 50, I admit that Alzheimer’s disease crosses my mind more frequently. When I forget something I sometimes wonder, would I have forgotten that five years ago? So when I learned that something I already do regularly—exercise—may stave off Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, I got pretty excited.
The research, published in NeuroImage, found that when men and women ages 59 to 69 worked out on a treadmill, it increased blood flow—and therefore oxygen and vital nutrients—to critical areas of the brain. This means that regular exercise that increases heart rate at any age could keep the mind young, according to lead researcher Nathan Johnson, PhD, at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences. Research finds that keeping the heart elevated for 30 minutes or more when exercising offers the most protection.
Regular exercise that increases heart rate at any age
could keep the mind young.
“This is an important first step towards demonstrating that being physically active improves blood flow to the brain and confers some protection from dementia, and conversely that people who live sedentary lifestyles, especially those who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s, might be more susceptible,” Johnson says.
News like this not only gets me to exercise more often; it reduces my worries about dementia, since I feel like I’m actually doing something to keep my brain healthy. Do you do anything specifically for the brain-health benefits—Sudoku or crosswords, for example? Let me know.