As people reach their senior years, a general decline in health becomes more noticeable. Since people often stop working when they retire, a more sedentary life can increase the health problems that occur with aging.
Health issues such as muscle loss, memory problems, slower reactions, cognitive decline, and possibly dementia may appear.
Recent research has shown that exercise can help slow the development of dementia or even prevent it. It is especially true if you were exercising regularly in your younger years.
The benefit appears to be because exercise increases the number of new neurons in the brain, which helps to keep neural connections intact. The more connections you have, the less likely Alzheimer’s will affect you.
One of the first areas affected by Alzheimer’s is usually the hippocampus and the nearby cortices. This area of the brain is essential for learning and recall. Loss of nerve connections in these areas leads to memory loss and a reduced ability to learn new things.
In a test involving people with mild cognitive impairment, exercise on a treadmill four days a week revealed a difference. Impairment levels were measured by reading a story and recalling as many details as possible. After 12 weeks of exercise, participants showed a significant difference. Participants were able to recall many more details of the stories.
The study revealed that walking regularly can help rewire the brain. The rewiring process helped to prevent the further development of dementia.
Another exercise that showed long-term benefits is running. The benefits continue into the senior years when conducted during the middle-age years. The primary benefit is that the new cells from early adulthood become interactive with the existing brain network
Recent studies involving thousands of people have demonstrated that exercise is a must to avoid dementia. Although many kinds of exercise are available, and they will help, vigorous exercise is the most beneficial.
Currently, no medication can effectively reduce or eliminate the buildup of proteins in the brain that cause dementia. Also, no medicine can impact the natural cognitive impairment associated with age.
Dementia occurs in the senior years, but it is not normal for most people. Only about three percent of people had dementia between the ages of 70 to 74. About 22% of seniors between the ages of 85 to 89 will develop dementia, and about 33% of those 90 or older will develop it.
Between men and women, women have a slightly higher chance of developing dementia. The exact cause of this is uncertain, but the fact that women tend to live longer may have something to do with it.
People that have a family history of dementia may also benefit from exercise. Even if you have dementia genes on both sides of your family, it does not mean you will get the disease. Exercise can help you by reducing your risk and may prevent dementia.
Exercise may be one of the best methods to prevent and possibly even treat early signs of dementia. It can also strengthen the heart, which can also help deter cardiovascular problems – which may also promote dementia and increase longevity.
Additional healthy practices will reduce the risk of developing dementia even more. The best results occur when exercise is done regularly over a lifespan, but results can also be obtained when starting at any age.