We know how important it is to stay active for our physical health, but studies are now uncovering a great deal more far-reaching, added benefits – namely, a lower possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. The reason for the link is unclear; however, there are two main theories under consideration as to why exercise may boost cognitive function:
- Physical activity halts the formation of the plaques and tangles connected with Alzheimer’s, or
- It promotes cognitive resilience, the capability for the brain to continue to work in spite of the brain damage due to the disease.
A recent study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The older adults committed, over the course of their lives, to undergo a series of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and also to donate brain as well as other tissue after death. Those carrying out the research focused especially on the seniors’ final two years of life, measuring motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Researchers analyzed brain tissue from the participants to identify signs of Alzheimer’s, as well as other forms of brain disease and damage. Nearly across the board, at least one kind of brain damage or disease was discovered; yet factoring in higher amounts of physical activity resulted in better cognitive function – supporting the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Since the research team zeroed in on the participants’ final two years of life, it’s unknown whether a lifetime of regular exercise had a direct impact on these outcomes, nor does it consider the fact that people who have a greater amount of cognitive functioning may have equated to a naturally higher level of physical exercise. Yet the research provides encouraging data to help further support the advantage of promoting exercise all through aging.
We would love to assist the older adults you love in kicking off the new year with a renewed emphasis on improving health and fitness levels! Our highly trained and experienced caregivers can assist in many ways, such as:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to start a new fitness program
- Accompanying seniors to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out in the gym
- Inspiring and motivating older adults to keep up increased degrees of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals to provide seniors with all the energy needed to stay active
- And much more!
Get in touch with Compassionate Nursing Services, providers of the best respite care St. Louis has to offer, at 314-432-4312 to arrange a free in-home assessment and find out how we can help make 2020 the greatest year yet for a senior loved one you love!