We know how important it is to remain active for our physical health, but research is now discovering even more far-reaching rewards – namely, a diminished possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in seniors. The reason behind the link is unclear, but there are two main theories under consideration about what contributes to increased cognitive function:
- Physical activity prevents the formation of the plaques and tangles connected to Alzheimer’s, or
- It stimulates cognitive resilience, the capability for the brain to continue to perform regardless of the brain damage caused 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 also to donate brain as well as other tissue after death. Those carrying out the study focused particularly on the seniors’ final 2 years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Scientists reviewed brain tissue from the participants to identify indications of Alzheimer’s, as well as other kinds of brain disease and damage. Nearly across the board, at least one form of brain damage or disease was identified; yet factoring in higher quantities of physical activity resulted in better cognitive function – supporting the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.
Due to the fact the research team focused in on the participants’ last 2 years of life, it is unclear whether a lifetime of physical exercise had an impact on these results, nor does it take into account the point that people who have a greater degree of cognitive functioning could have corresponded to a naturally higher level of physical activity. Nonetheless, the research provides encouraging data to help further support the benefit of promoting exercise throughout aging.
We’d love to help the older adults in your life kick off the new year with a restored focus on improving health and fitness levels! Our highly trained and knowledgeable caregivers can help in many ways, including:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to begin a brand-new fitness routine
- Accompanying older adults to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out at the gym
- Encouraging and motivating seniors to keep up higher amounts of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing wholesome meals to provide seniors with all the energy necessary to stay active
- And so much more!
Contact Inspired Home Care, providers of expert dementia care services in Chicago, IL, at 847-787-7572 to arrange a free in-home assessment and learn how we can help make 2020 the very best year yet for an older adult you love!