Everyone knows how important it is to be active for our physical health, but researchers are now discovering many more far-reaching benefits – namely, a diminished possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. The reason for the connection is unclear, but there are two theories under consideration that may contribute to improved brain function:
- Physical activity halts the forming of the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s, or
- It promotes cognitive resilience, the ability for the brain to continue to work regardless of the brain damage due to the disease.
An interesting study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The older adults committed, throughout their lives, to undergo several behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and also to donate brain and other tissue after death. Those performing the study focused particularly on the seniors’ final 2 years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Scientists analyzed brain tissue from the participants to identify signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and various other types of brain disease and damage. Almost across the board, at least one type of brain damage or disease was discovered; however, factoring in higher levels of physical exercise resulted in improved cognitive function – giving support to the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Due to the fact that the research team zeroed in on the participants’ final 2 years’ of life, it is not clear whether a lifetime of physical activity had a visible impact on these outcomes, nor does it consider the point that those with a higher amount of cognitive functioning may have corresponded to a naturally higher level of physical activity. Nevertheless, the study offers promising data to help further support the advantage of promoting exercise all through aging.
We would love to help the older adults in your life to kick off the brand new year with a renewed focus on improving health and fitness levels! Our fully trained and knowledgeable caregivers can assist in many ways, including:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to start a brand new fitness routine
- Accompanying seniors to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out in the gym
- Inspiring and motivating seniors to maintain higher degrees of physical activity
- Planning and preparing nutritious meals to supply seniors with all the energy needed to stay active
- And much more!
Connect with Anthem Home Care, a Portland respite care and home care provider for the surrounding area, at 361-643-2323 to arrange a no-cost in-home assessment and find out how we can help make 2020 the best year yet for a senior you love!