When someone mentions Alzheimer’s Disease, the first thing people think of is memory loss. But the reality of this disease is that it actually involves a progressive loss of mental and physical functions and shortens an individual’s life expectancy.
We know that exercise is so important for someone’s physical health, and this does not change for someone with Alzheimer’s, in a way it becomes more important, but more on that later.
The question is does exercise have any effect on someone’s memory loss?
The answer is we don’t know for sure. Some studies have suggested that for people in the early stages, being active can actually improve their memory, reasoning, judgement and thinking skills. If this is true exercise clearly has a positive impact on brain function and can slow the progression of the disease.
Exercise does have other benefits for those with Alzheimer’s, other than its impact on brain function.
Remaining physical active reduces the risk of developing other chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as reducing the impact of conditions like osteoarthritis. It can also keep their muscles and bones strong, allowing them to stay independent and mobile for longer and reduce the risk of falls. Basically all this means that they can live a better life for longer and stay involved in the things they love to do, despite having Alzheimer’s Disease.
So far, exercise is seeming like it could be pretty important for someone with Alzheimer’s. But exercise also plays a part in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. There are two ways it does this.
Firstly, is by modifying risk factors. There are some risk factors for it that we have no control over, non-modifiable as its known in the science world. These include your DNA and genes, as well as your age.
However, there are so many ones that we can actually change if we want to such as:
High blood pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
High cholesterol in your mid-life
BMI in mid-life
As you can see, a lot of these risk factors actually go hand in hand. Chances are if you make changes to affect one or two of them, they might just affect the others as well. Now it is important to acknowledge and modify these factors as early in life as possible as we do know that Alzheimer’s is actually developing within your brain for as much as 15 years before you and your loved ones will start to notice the symptoms of it.
Secondly, is by increasing the blood flow to your brain, exercise leads to a larger cognitive reserve. A cognitive reserve refers to the ability to walk around with the physical effects of Alzheimer’s Disease in your brain, without displaying any of the symptoms.
This basically means that IF you do eventually develop symptoms, you will be much older when it does happen meaning you can live so much more of your life without it impacting you or your family and friends.
If you know someone living with Alzheimer’s and think they could benefit from engaging in some exercise, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 8969 6300.