How Important is Exercise in Avoiding Alzheimer’s?

Being physically inactive contributed to the largest proportion of Alzheimer’s disease in the USA. If you had to pick one of the three lifestyles that determined whether you were going to do all you can to defeat Alzheimer’s, it would be your commitment to exercise 30 minutes a day, five to six days a week. Whether that includes brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or whatever that gets your heart rate increased, is significantly beneficial.

A report in the Archives Neurology looked at data from a group of over 4,000 people who were studied for a five year follow up period. The individuals were evaluated for the amount of exercise they did and placed into the three categories of low, moderate and high levels of activity.

Their take away statement evaluated the differences of risks for dementia. Focusing on the two higher amounts of exercise, they concluded: moderate and high levels of physical activity were associated with significantly lower risks for Alzheimer’s disease. Their proof of the pudding was in the numbers, showing a 60% reduction in the risk for Alzheimer’s.

Another study showed Individuals with the lowest 10% of daily activity were reported to have a two-fold higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to individuals in the top 10% of activity levels. The men who walked less than one-quarter mile a day had almost twice the risk of developing dementia as men who walked more than two miles a day.

What about exercise even after having symptoms of Alzheimer’s has begun? An interesting study addressed this association as to whether exercise was important even after someone was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Researchers reported that increasing the level of physical activity through habitual exercise also benefits persons with established Alzheimer’s.

The more intense the exercise, the better, but numerous studies show that brisk walking can be extremely significant. Just remember, whatever exercise you begin with, even brisk walking thirty minutes a day, is a thousand-fold better than sitting on the couch watching television.

Exercise is the number one best stimulus to tell your mind that you are serious about defeating dementia. If you exercise, you will also begin watching what you eat and will start heading toward your ideal weight. As Nike used to advertise: Just Do It.