Regardless of age, we all know how important it is to treat our bodies well. And for individuals looking to reduce their risk of neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a recent study on senior activity offers some interesting insights.
Performed at the University of Pittsburgh, this five year study asked more than 700 volunteers with an average age of 78 to fill out questionnaires about their lifestyle, leisure time activities and cognitive abilities. Seniors also had MRIs performed at the beginning and end of the trial, showing just how important regular exercise is for our brains.
Recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study showed that the more active a senior is, the more gray matter they will retain in regions typically attacked by neurodegenerative diseases.
The individuals who incorporated the most exercise into their day-to-day routines had a brain volume five percent larger than their less active counterparts. And while five percent may not seem like much, it can have a huge impact on cognitive abilities. Even for active seniors who were showing early signs of dementia, brain atrophy was lower than in similar individuals who did not follow a regular exercise routine.
Whether you enjoy leisurely walks around town with your dog, water aerobics class with your best friend or playing outside with your grandchildren, there are plenty of ways to stay active as you age!
Burning an extra 500 calories a day will help to improve your mental health, also strengthening your heart and body. Talk with your doctor about what level of exercise is best for you, and spend an hour or so a day performing a physical activity you enjoy.
If you or your loved one is in need of in-home care services to help them maintain their active, healthy lifestyle, Helping Hearts Foundation offers help across Northern California and Nevada. For more information, visit us online or contact us by phone at 916-368-7200 (CA) or 702-755-6548 (NV).