We all know how important it is to keep active for our physical health; however, research is now revealing many more far-reaching advantages – namely, a reduced possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. The explanation for the connection is uncertain, but there are two main theories under consideration for how physical activity impacts brain health for seniors:
- Physical activity stops the formation of the plaques and tangles linked to Alzheimer’s, or
- It stimulates cognitive resilience, the ability for the brain to continue to perform in spite of the brain damage brought on by the disease.
A recent study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The seniors committed, throughout their lives, to undergo a series of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and to donate brain and other tissue after death. Those conducting the research focused especially on the seniors’ last two years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Researchers reviewed brain tissue from the participants to detect indications of Alzheimer’s, along with other forms of brain disease and damage. Virtually across the board, a minimum of one kind of brain damage or disease was identified; however, factoring in higher degrees of physical activity led to improved cognitive function – giving support to the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Taking into account that the research team focused in on the participants’ last two years of life, it is unclear whether a lifetime of physical activity had an effect on these results, nor does it take into consideration the point that people who have an increased amount of cognitive functioning might have corresponded to a naturally higher level of regular exercise. Nevertheless, the study yields encouraging data to help further support the benefits of promoting exercise throughout aging.
We would love to assist the seniors in your life to begin the new year with a restored effort on improving physical fitness levels! Our highly trained and experienced caregivers can help in a variety of ways, including:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to begin a new fitness routine
- Accompanying older adults to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out in the gym
- Encouraging and motivating older adults to maintain higher degrees of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals to provide seniors with all the energy necessary to stay active
- And much more!
Contact Absolute Companion Care, providers of dementia care in Towson, MD and the surrounding areas, at 410-357-9640 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation and discover how we can help improve brain health for seniors to make 2020 the greatest year yet for a senior you love!