We know how important it is to be active for our physical health, but studies are now showing many more far-reaching benefits – namely, a reduced possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in older adults. The explanation for the link is unclear, but there are two theories under consideration about what contributes to brain health:
- Physical activity stops the formation of the plaques and tangles connected to Alzheimer’s, or
- It encourages cognitive resilience, the capability for the brain to continue to operate in spite of the brain damage attributed to the disease.
An interesting 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 number of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and also to donate brain as well as other tissue after death. Those conducting the study focused particularly on the seniors’ final 2 years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Scientists evaluated brain tissue from the participants to detect indications of Alzheimer’s, along with other forms of brain disease and damage. Almost across the board, at least one type of brain damage or disease was identified; yet factoring in higher levels of regular exercise led to improved cognitive function – giving support to the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Since the research team zeroed in on the participants’ last 2 years of life, it’s unknown whether a lifetime of exercising had a visible impact on these results, nor does it take into account the fact that individuals with a higher level of cognitive functioning may have corresponded to a naturally higher level of physical exercise. All the same, the study yields promising data to help further support the advantage of promoting exercise throughout aging.
We would love to help the older adults in your life begin the new year with a restored focus on increasing physical fitness levels! Our professionally trained and knowledgeable caregivers can help in lots of ways, including:
- Companionship to engage in taking walks through the neighborhood, playing mind-stimulating games, and other enjoyable activities
- Inspiring and motivating seniors to maintain higher quantities of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing healthy meals to give seniors all the energy necessary to stay active
- And much more!
Contact Home With You Senior Care at 410-756-0959 to arrange a free in-home consultation and discover how we can help make 2020 the very best year yet for an older adult you love! We’d love to share more about our Hampstead home health care services and the communities we serve.