Everyone knows how important it is to be active for our physical health; however, research is now revealing many more far-reaching health benefits – namely, a reduced possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. The reason for the connection is uncertain, but there are two theories under consideration to explain improved cognitive function:
- Physical activity prevents the forming of the plaques and tangles connected with Alzheimer’s, or
- It encourages cognitive resilience, the capability for the brain to continue to operate in spite of the brain damage due to the disease.
An interesting study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The older adults committed, throughout their lives, to undergo a series of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and also to donate brain tissue, along with other tissue, after death. Those conducting the study focused especially on the seniors’ final two years of life, calculating motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.
Scientists reviewed brain tissue from the participants to identify indications of Alzheimer’s, and various other forms of brain disease and damage. Almost across the board, at least one type of brain damage or disease was detected; however, factoring in higher levels 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 two years of life, it’s not clear whether a lifetime of physical exercise had an effect on these results, nor does it take into account the point that individuals with a greater amount of cognitive functioning may have equated to a naturally higher level of physical exercise. Nonetheless, the study yields encouraging data to help further support the benefits of promoting exercise throughout aging.
We’d love to help the seniors you love kick off the new year with a renewed emphasis on improving health and fitness levels! Our professionally trained and knowledgeable caregivers can help in many ways, including:
- Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to start a new exercise regime
- Accompanying seniors to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out in the gym
- Inspiring and motivating older adults to keep up higher amounts of physical exercise
- Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals to give seniors the energy needed to stay active
- And so much more!
Contact Morning Glory Home Care, the experts in dementia care in Edwardsville, IL, at 618-667-8400 to schedule a free-of-charge in-home consultation and see how we can help make 2020 the greatest year yet for a senior you love!