Walking might help avoid Dementia or Alzheimer's!

December 2010, Warren Matthews

Summary

I would expect there would be very few people over the age of 60 who don't at least think from time to time about the consequences of 'losing their mind', especially when they see other people not much older 'losing it'.

I would expect there would be very few people over the age of 60 who don't at least think from time to time about the consequences of 'losing their mind', especially when they see other people not much older 'losing it'.

A few months ago my Mother in law was settled in a care facility with a special 'wing' for dementia patients. She is 84 years old and over the last few years has gradually deteriorated mentally until she finally got to the stage in which she needed 24/7 care.

Some years ago we tried to get her on to Omega 3 DHA/fish oil and our Neuro-Natural supplements, but the Doctors vetoed them opting instead for other medication. Would she have been better off if she had not followed the Doctors' advice? No one can be sure, although I suspect so.

Quite apart from this issue she just wouldn't exercise. My wife over the years would spend considerable amounts of time with her encouraging her to take walks. Where she lived, there were some pleasant walks alongside a river. But, she wouldn't do it unless my wife literally 'dragged' her along.

When she was given prescription drugs, the will to exercise became even less as she never felt good, and over the following years we could literally see her start to 'shrivel' up. Now, she just slowly shuffles everywhere as the drugs have left her unsteady on her feet.

Why do I raise this issue of exercise in connection with Dementia/Alzheimer's?

Well, because there have been studies connecting dementia with exercise, or rather the lack of it.

The latest study was done by the University of Pittsburgh in which 400 older adult subjects were recruited to participate... some with Alzheimer's, others with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and others with no signs of dementia.

They monitored physical activity and each participant had two MRI brain scans approx. 10 years apart.

In a press release, the study's lead author, Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., described the results: "We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer's and MCI, especially in areas of the brain's key memory and learning centers."

Mental exam scores dropped an average of five points over five years among patients with cognitive impairment who were physically inactive. But scores for physically active patients dropped only one point on average.

Dr. Raji also noted that patients who walked five miles per week showed slower decline in memory loss over five years.

For the healthy, dementia-free subjects who walked at least six miles per week maintained normal brain volume and significantly reduced risk of cognitive decline.

"Volume is a vital sign for the brain. When it decreases, that means brain cells are dying. But when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained." Dr. Raji

This study will continue for another 10 years. The goal is to find other ways that might alleviate Alzheimer's progression and MCI symptoms.

So... don't do what my Mother in law did and so many others do... refuse to exercise! Apart from the benefits that exercise provides for the general body structure including reducing the risk of 'shrinking' it would appear that it also helps keep your brain functioning as well.

However, don't overlook the other things that you should be doing for your brain. Mental exercise is important as is ensuring you keep feeding it the nutrients which are found in our Omega 3 DHA/Fish Oil and Total Balance.

4 Comments

  • “Hi Warren, Do you know anything about codex alimentarius and it’s acceptance in the european union ? Is the media trying to scare us? I just can’t believe that in a democracy something like that can’t be permitted!”

    Xtend-Life Expert - December 18 2010

  • “Warren we have something in common. My mom passed away this year from Alzheimer’s disease. She too was on medications, specifically, SSRI’s for the agitation and depression. Both her siblings also have this devestating disease. There is a correlation between maternal dementia and their offspring and that is why I take your supplements and adhere to a six day per week exercise regimen. I also drink water that is free from flouride and chlorine. I may not be able to stop the geneic predisposition to this killer disease, but I can probably increase my odds for a healthly mind well into old age. I can relate to the difficulties your family is experiencing at this time. I too watched as my mom slowly slipped away.”

    Carl - December 17 2010

  • “Warren my mother also passed away but peacefull four months back sitting on the chair at the age of 76. Luckily for her, though she used to complain about losing memory which is quite common now-a-days, she did not have dementia. But she was scared to go out of the house, take the lift and go for a walk. Her biggest strength was the house work in the house. She would always be engaged till late in the night. Probably that is what kept her going. But as we ourselves have crossed 50 plus now, it is very important to think of exercise and that is where your warning comes in handy only if we heed to it. As you have mentioned it is not only physical exercise but also mental one that will keep us going.”

    N Niranjan Nikam - December 21 2010

  • “Exercise has been shown to cause new blood vessel formation in the brain. A well fed brain is a happy brain. Even if you hate exercise, add it to your life. Walking isn’t for me…so I ride a bike and lift weights. Just get up and move yourself or be unhealthy.”

    Jessica - October 03 2013

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